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Dolly: A Tale of Murder in a World of Robots

Updated on June 4, 2016

Dolly Short Story Review


Today I found myself between books, so I decided to turn to my collection of short science fiction tales. This time around it’s a scifi murder mystery called Dolly written by Elizabeth Bear.

So what is it about? The tale follows two police officers as they investigate the apparent murder of a business man. Frozen at the crime scene is the man’s house robot named Dolly. There’s no doubt the robot did it, but the officers are after the hacker who programed it to do it. But they soon realized the robot is exhibiting the behavior of a person with free will rather than a robot. They soon suspect that there may be no hacker and the robot may be the murderer.

The good? It’s a fine little tale. But the most noticeable thing I found original were the cops. There’s the standard by the book younger skinny cops. Then the second is the overweight woman in her fifties. That second character I’ve never seen before in the role of a police officer. It was quite different. Also the tale is a quick read.

The bad? It’s not such a bad thing, but there is nothing new here. If you read scifi you know about the infamous three laws of robotics, you can see where this is going. Also this story is really short.

Overall, this is a classical science fiction with a strong I Robot vibe. But it’s very by the numbers tale that offers nothing new. Sadly that lands this tale in mediocre territory.

Overall Rating: A Tale of Murder in a World of Robots

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