Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Arm of the Law," a 1950s story by Harry Harrison about a robot named Ned

I just finished reading “Arm of the Law,” a short story written by Harry Harrison. Originally published in the August 1958 issue of Fantastic Universe magazine, "Arm of the Law” is a humorous tale about a robot named Ned, who joins the police force in the sleepy settlement of Nineport on Mars. Here are the opening lines of the story:

It was a big, coffin-shaped plywood box that looked like it weighed a ton. This brawny type just dumped it through the door of the police station and started away. I looked up from the blotter and shouted at the trucker's vanishing back.

"What the hell is that?"

"How should I know?" he said as he swung up into the cab. "I just deliver, I don't X-ray 'em. It came on the morning rocket from earth is all I know." He gunned the truck more than he had to and threw up a billowing cloud of red dust. ...

You can read "Arm of the Law" online or download it for free from either or Project Gutenberg.

Thanks to Tinkoo of Variety SF for the tip!

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