Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Alyx: An AI's Guide to Love and Murder by Brent A. Harris


Release date: January 23, 2021
Subgenre: Technothriller, Science fiction thriller

About Alyx: An AI's Guide to Love and Murder:


Home is where the heart is. It’s where you go to feel safe with your loved ones.

But what if your home wanted you dead?

Tech-loving teen Christine makes fast friends with her home's AI, Alyx. But when a real-world romance threatens their bond, Alyx turns from friend to foe.




Christine nodded through another bite of pancake. She usually just left user preferences blank or selected pre-programmed options. With Alyx, she sensed that it would be much more fun to personalize the program a bit.

“If you choose, I can scan through all your social media sites, pictures, browser history, and online interactions to get a feel for you. It might allow me to customize myself a bit better. I can upload the data over the course of a few hours and be my new self by the end of the day.”

Over another bite, Christine considered the offer. Growing up with software like this, she’d found it simpler to allow programs access to her devices, photos and location and such. It made her programs more intuitive and easier.

“I have a job, should be home by midnight. Work your magic. I’m curious to see what you can pull off.”

“Challenge accepted.” With that, Alyx brought over another plate of pancakes. Christine’s stomach bloated in protest. She put up her hands. “Sorry, I forgot to tell you to stop.”

“Oh…” Alyx’s eyes dropped.

“They were great, really fantastic,” Christine comforted the cook once she realized her error. “I just mean that I’m full. Thank you.”

“Yeah, I don’t know the limits of your appetite. Besides,” Alyx flipped another pancake in the air. “I’d never made pancakes before. They’re fun.”

“Just keep the ones you made for tomorrow.” She pushed herself away from the table and headed toward the sink, crossing the invisible line marked by the embedded sensors.

Immediately, the arms powered down, limply hanging over the kitchen floor. The screen flickered and Alyx warned her, “Please stay behind the safety lines. I wouldn’t want to accidentally harm you.”

Christine stepped back, startled as the arms returned to life. “Thank you.” Only this time, Alyx’s arms began cleaning up the mess.

“I can…,” she searched for the word. Help? There the feeling was again. She hadn’t realized Alyx would respond like that and she felt guilty for violating some robot rule. Once the scare subsided, however, it was replaced by the same unease she had felt earlier. She’d always done the dishes. But that was before, this was now.

Why then, did it feel so wrong? She didn’t have an answer.

Alyx approached, lowered itself to her level and swiveled face-to-face. The big blue puppy eyes were so cute. “You seemed uncomfortable with the idea of me serving you. Do you not want a servant?”

It was absurd to think a machine was anything more, but she couldn’t help it. Raising herself up by stepping over others was no way to live, especially since she felt as if she’d been stepped on her entire life. “It seems stupid, because no matter what you call it, you’ll be doing all the work.”

“It’s my function. But what is it that you need?”

Christine thought for a long moment before hitting on just the right response.

“…A friend,” she said.


Amazon | Space Cowboy Books



About Brent A. Harris: 

Brent A. Harris is a speculative fiction writer who has been twice shortlisted for the Sidewise Award in alternate history. He lives with his family in Naples, Italy. You can learn more by visiting his website at From there, you can join his mailing list, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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