Three delightfully electronic people read the first couple of sentences of my novel in progress. It’s a testament to how far the reading technology has developed in that it doesn’t sound half bad.

Audrey is the most advanced android model. She sits by a window and looks almost exactly like Emily Dickinson. Pale faced, delicately featured, her artificial nature is only evident in the crude design of her hands and the dead look in her eyes. Eyes that could watch a murder without a flicker of interest, could gaze through children as they cried for her for attention. Once you notice that indifference, her near perfection becomes eerily chilling.

Charles, poor Charles. A much older model, chiseled good looks and standing by the fire place, dressed in a red robe and with his thinning blond hair carefully combed back and full of dust. His joints are poorly articulated, his skin glossy and lacking verisimilitude. He holds an empty highball glass before him, and smiles fixedly as his disjointed voice rises and falls as he speaks his lines.

Rich exists only from the waist up, and only appears when the tinted car window of a fake crimson Firebird rolls down after being rapped on with a secret code. Part of a now defunct spy game that players would star in as they solved a fictional crime, his role was to disseminate information that would further game play. Though his car yet sits by the abandoned pier, forgotten and rusted, Rich will still speak his lines with a faux suavity that sounds all the sadder for the dilapidated state of his body.