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Upgrade Day by RJ Taylor (audio)

Clarkesworld Magazine

Clarkesworld Magazine

Fiction, Science Fiction

4.61.1K Ratings

🗓️ 30 October 2023

⏱️ 16 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


This episode features "Upgrade Day" written by RJ Taylor. Published in the September 2023 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine and read by Kate Baker. The text version of this story can be found at: https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/taylor_09_23 Support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/join/clarkesworld?

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You are listening to a Clarksville magazine podcast. Welcome to the last story of the month for


September 2023 issue 204. I hope that all these stories have treated you well as we slide into


October. Once again, thank you for being here. Thank you for listening to the podcast and thank


you for your ongoing support. I'm going to keep mentioning this because we need it, but Amazon


has made a massive change to the way that they do things which has taken away a lot of our


basic income. Any extra support that you can give us or consider giving us support at all


would be so greatly appreciated. You can go to patreon.com for slash Clarksworld for more information.


Our last story is titled Upgrade Day and is by RJ Taylor. RJ Taylor is a queer speculative fiction


writer based outside Boston whose work explores themes of escape, transformation, and non-human


consciousness. She's a member of the codex writers group and a recent graduate of viable paradise.


For short fiction has appeared in factor 4 and apex magazine and is forthcoming in the magazine


of fantasy and science fiction. So my dear listener, I hope you can sit back, relax, and let me tell you


the story. Today is Upgrade Day and Gabriel, a model 2098 post-human intelligence robotic


service assistant, wears an appropriately festive hat. The perfect cone of polka dotted purple


paper slopes to one side of his head, his glossy plastic surface giving the weak elastic band


no purchase. A 10 years old Lily has a professional approach to birthdays and as soon as she


notices the hat's downward trajectory she climbs Gabriel's legs and stands tiptoe on his lap


so she can straighten it. He smiles. More accurately the white line of light on his face screen curves


upward but he still thinks of it as a smile. Lily wraps her arms around him and he returns the hug.


One in Kira the parents of his family have been exhibiting signs of anxiety most of the day and


now seeing Lily embracing him. They trade in other glance. These expressions are abnormal.


Gabriel considers the data but draws no conclusions. One returns to fiddling with the family lights


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