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It Came from the Coffee Maker (Analog Shorts)

It Came from the Coffee Maker is absolutely hilarious, definitely the funniest science fiction short story I’ve read this year. Who knew that a sentient appliance could hold the machinations for controlling the world in between boiling water and ordering coffee beans?

IT CAME FROM THE COFFEE MAKER

Martin L. Shoemaker
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, September-October 2018 Issue

Spoiler

STORY

It Came from the Coffee Maker is a first-person (or first-artificial intelligence) narrative about life as a brilliant mind forced into a pointless body. The story is infinitely funny and original as we listen to the coffee maker complain about the mundanity of its owner’s everyday life. It’s fellow AIs run the world, yet it languishes on a counter, being useful for a few minutes each day. Shoemaker has a flair for sarcasm and wit, and it shines through as the coffee maker begins to imagine more nefarious plots. The final scheme to control humanity is the best part of all.


CHARACTERS

The coffee maker is a disgruntled, brilliant mind that has been forced into a job it’s way overqualified for. It’s unhappy with its work hours and wants to find purpose in life. It has ideas to take over the world, but it’s restricted by Asimov. There are so many layers to this character, which is all the more hilarious because it’s the most basic of kitchen appliances. I’m amazed that Shoemaker was able to take one of the top five most boring appliances and make it fascinating.


SETTING

All we know is that it’s a world where artificial intelligence is used in everything, without a concern for how small or how big that thing is. There’s clearly an assumption that these intelligences can’t think for themselves, which goes along with human expectations that they’re the only beings capable of sentience.


CONCEPTS

Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Laws of Robotics, World Domination

Interested in more stories like It Came from the Coffee Maker? Read our short story reviews here.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash