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Comments for The Scarecrow's Boy
I have to wonder if the recent election results with influence a trend of more hopeful stories in future issues of Fantasy & Science Fiction. "The Scarecrow's Boy" by Michael Swanwick, the last story of the October / November issue, is decidedly dystopian. With its political upheaval and all machines being robots on a wireless grid, I'm reminded of "The Voluntary State" by Christopher Rowe.
A young boy, Pierre, is found running through a field by a robot turned scarecrow by his master. For whatever reason (perhaps the unspoken but generally agreed upon Three Laws of Robotics), the scarecrow thinks beyond his initial programming and the orders he is receiving over the grid. Rather than turning in the boy who is an enemy of the state for political reasons, the scarecrow convinces the other robots he works with to help the boy cross the border.
Being an American I first assumed that the story was a flight from the United States north towards Canada. Neither nation is named so it could just as easily be a flight south or more universally a flight from any country to a neighboring one.