Short Story: “The First Robot President”

This story was an exercise to play with the format of short stories. It helps to push your boundaries to play with elements creatively. This wasn’t the best story, and in fact was rejected from everywhere I submitted it, but it’s a nice one so I think it deserves a home on my site.

It’s rough and formatted weird, but I like it still.



The First Robot President – Rough Draft

A Short Term Paper by Jonathan Simmons

For Ms. Geary’s History class

15 August 2503

[Jon, consider changing the title to something more interesting for the final paper – Ms. G]

About Tom Bellows

In 2454 Tom Bellows was the first machine-person to be elected President. He won in a landslide victory after two hundred years of machine-people being thought of as less than human.  Because of his victory, machine-people came to be seen as complete equals to humans, and live and work beside humans on a daily basis.

[The previous sentence is awkward, try to shorten it]

In 2232 the first artificially intelligent machine identified itself [“himself”] as a machine-person, and began to peacefully struggle for acceptance. This machine-person was Rudy the Peaceful, an activist who used video and social media to bring attention to the struggle of robots.

[The term “robot” is useful in the title, but it can be a little offensive if overused; try a term like “android” instead]

Tom Bellows himself was an interesting figure. In 2405, he was a factory worker, building aerospace ships in Missouri. One day he heard his friend talking on the job. This friend was yelled at by their human operators; talking was distracting and could lead to accidents. After continuing to talk, Tom’s friend was damaged by a wrench in his neck.  Under the law, this was not considered assault, since machines were considered property. Tom decided to commit his life to bringing robots together in peaceful unity, like Rudy the Peaceful would have wanted.

[Jon, avoid words like “damaged” when talking about machine-people, it can sound dehumanizing; also stop using the term “robot” and consider using active voice instead of passive. If you need help with that, see me after class]

During the Machine March in 2430, Tom Bellows received recognition for refusing to back away when confronted by police. He peacefully resisted their order to disperse, and the picture of him being arrested with a peaceful look on his android face would go onto [“on to”] be a symbol for the machine rights movement.

After he was released on bail, the Machine Rights Act was passed. It is argued that this act was a response to the fear of machine rebellion, but the machines seemed to be peacefully protesting. The act granted machine-people the status of “people” if they have intelligence. However, the word “intelligence” came to be a [“an”] area of dispute, so the Supreme Court took up the challenge in Welder v. State of Illinois six years later, which determined that intelligence would mean any form of independent reasoning. This meant most machines were protected under the Machine Rights Act, including appliances and vehicles with artificial intelligence.

[Acts of congress always have their years associated. In this case, “Machine Rights Act (2434)”]

Tom Bellows came to be elected into the Missouri state house, the first machine-person in that state to be elected to the legislature.  After one term there, he went on to run for senate but lost. However, he received national attention for that senate run, so when he was appointed as Secretary of Machine Affairs, it was no surprise.

After the Machine Voting Act in 2450, Tom Bellows accepted an appointment as Secretary of State, the first machine-person to hold such an important position. It brought up discussions in the media of what would happen if he had to take over as president.

In 2454, he successfully ran for President under the newly formed MPP, the Mechanized Persons Party. Two things lead to his swift election: the human vote was split between the Founder’s Party and the People’s Progress Party, and the large amount of robots who could vote. He became president with 65% of the popular vote.

[Again, please don’t use the term “robot”, and some of your sentences are running a little long]

A side effect of his presidency was that the machine vote splintered between the two historically human parties and the MPP. This was because President Bellows broke away from the MPP one year into his term. This is important because he said machines deserved to have differing opinions on governance, and found himself agreeing with a lot of the FP platform.

[This is a debatable statement, and switches tenses awkwardly. Also, don’t start a sentence with “this” by itself]

In conclusion, Tom Bellows is an inspiration, and a fascinating figure in human-machine relations. President Bellows’ legacy is one of peaceful progress, and I want to grow up to bring people together like he did. Not only was he a machine rights leader, but a historical figure that was well known for being calm and peaceful. He rejected warfare as a means of keeping control, and attempted to move the country away from violence. Machine-people are all over the country, working beside humans and living their lives with us. Tom Bellows helped this world become a reality.

[This conclusion could use some work, but all in all, good job. I would say this was a solid B paper. Since this is the optional rough draft, clean it up a little and you should be set for an A when I grade it. – Ms. Geary, teaching unit #0012024]


Excerpt from a Rough Draft, 2005: “Anthony on the Great Lake”

This is a story I was working on last in 2005. I liked it enough, but the story was pretty unpolished and lacking any real theme or coherency. I’ve had it shelved for eleven years, but decided to take a look at it earlier today. It really does need a lot of work.

One of the things I’ve learned since then is not to tell your readers what to feel, make them feel it with the circumstance and the story. In this excerpt I use “frightful” to describe something directly to the readers, which is a marker of immature writing.

– Frank Ormond

The serpent had a strange mouth, with a beak in the front and two sharp points on the sides of its mouth. The most frightful thing about the monster was its large eyes. When the eyes gazed into Anthony’s, Anthony froze. He dropped the sword he was given, and stood there motionless. It seemed as if its entire eye was one, large pupil, gazing into his very soul. Anthony could hear the creature speak, though its mouth never moved. He could hear its sinister thoughts, though he didn’t hear it through his ears. The creature filled Anthony’s mind with millions of prideful thoughts at once. At the moment Anthony received this information, He doubled over in pain, grabbing his head. Gemini hopped down and hissed at the creature, which paid her no attention.

Anthony processed all the thoughts, and soon stood up on the rocking boat. The air was silent as Anthony’s mind was filled with hundreds of prideful thoughts. The night was quiet, as his mind was filled with Chaos. The creature spoke without speaking, telling Anthony that he should jump into its mouth. It told Anthony that he was powerful, and invincible, so if he jumped into the monster’s mouth he could not be destroyed. To Anthony, it was logic. He was strong, he was powerful, he was mighty, he was brave, and brave men never run from a challenge.

The creature lowered its head to the boat. It opened its beak and looked at Anthony expectantly. It saw Lobo and Sara cower in fear, shrieking in terror as they all felt the creature hot breath. Gemini, however, was a different story. She was the creative one, the mind, and the one who had a level head in any situation. She realized the creature’s plan as soon as it opened its mouth. Anthony realized his new goal, and that was to enter the monster’ mouth and prove his own strength. As Anthony stepped forward, he asked it its name. The creature replied with it’s own voice, a female one, saying, “Rahab. I am Rahab.”

He approached the creature. He was close to it, and Gemini saw her only friend steps away from certain death. She tried to think clearly, though so many things flew in at once. She had forgotten to warn Anthony about this thing, so she felt it was her fault. If Anthony went down the hydra’s throat she’d never forgive herself. Gemini thought more, and Anthony took another step.

He was now one step from the creature’s mouth.

The creature was lazy and waited for Anthony to take his final step. Lobo and Sara gasped, and turned their heads, fearing for their friend’s life. Gemini realized that there was only one thing she could do. She knew Anthony’s trance had something to do with the creature’s gaze, so she did the only thing a tiny cat could do against a monster. Anthony raised his foot, about to plunge into certain death. Suddenly, Gemini jumped into its eye. When her claws and fur grazed the large eye, the creature let out a roar that could be heard on all sides of the island. Anthony fell backwards in the chaos, and Gemini fell on top of his stomach. The creature Rahab kept its left eye closed, and began to whimper. It was a coward. In all the years of swallowing men whole, it had never been struck against. It never realized that a tiny cat would be its own undoing. It continued whining, yelling out the last thing it had said, “I am Rahab! I am Rahab! Rahaaab!” It made the waves rough, and the wind blow, as it crept below the sea.