“I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords”: Enter Our Robot Contest!

When Daniel H. Wilson contacted us with a potential submission for Tor.com, which turned out to be his excellent story “The Nostalgist,” I had to confess that I was a huge fan of his books: particularly How to Survive a Robot Uprising—which instantly changed my idle-moments apocalypse scenario pondering to favor robots rather than zombies—but also his subsequent, indispensable tomes, which include Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived and How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth Against Alien Invaders, Ninjas, and Zombies.

I am of the opinion that copies of all three of these books should be in every SF fan’s reference library (I have extra copies for my bathroom library). To facilitate that, we have one copy of each book to give away to three worthy individuals.

But how do we ascertain worthiness in a field as changeable as robot preparedness? After advanced scientific study, we’ve decided that the best test would be to ask our readership to imagine that they are in the midst of a vast robot uprising and persuade our robot overlords why you should be allowed to live.

Through further scientific study, we have determined that there are three formats in which our robot overlords will accept your plea:

  • poetry
  • visual art
  • video

Daniel himself will be judging this contest on behalf of our future robot overlords. We have no idea what criteria he will use (unless he chooses to provide more information in the comments), but it’s probably a safe bet that creativity and sense of humor will be at least as important as production values.

As mentioned, the creator of the best entry in each format will win a set of Daniel’s glorious, shiny books. But wait! There’s more: While searching the web for inspiration about the sorts of things that please robot overlords (pandas; fishing), I came across the charming outpost My Robot Overlord. In order to commemorate the Glaswegian robot/human war of 2006, My Robot Overlord started making t-shirts in designs such as these:

The proprietor of My Robot Overlord has graciously agreed to co-sponsor our contest and give each contest winner a shirt in the size and design of his/her choice so that the winner has an appropriate robot overlord shirt to wear while reading your robot survival tomes.

Here’s how to format your entry for the site:

  • To submit poetry: Any poem form, including free verse, is acceptable. Just paste your poem in the comment.
  • To submit visual art: You can’t upload images to the comments, so they will have to be hosted elsewhere—your Tor.com gallery or Flickr, for example. Once it’s uploaded, post a comment with a link to the file. If you’d like, you may post an image preview using bbCode, but the preview version must be no wider than 425px.
  • To submit a video: Your video must be no longer than 90 seconds and be hosted elsewhere (YouTube, for example). You will not be able to embed code into the comments, so please just post a link.

And here’s the the obligatory fine print:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. To participate in the “Robot Overlord” contest, leave a comment including your poem or a link to your image or video in the comments section below, beginning Wednesday, 5 August, 2009 at 9:14 a.m. EST and ending on Wednesday, 12 August, 2009 at 12:01 p.m. EST. Winners will be selected on the basis of originality, humor and creativity, each factor applied equally. Open to registered users of Tor.com who are legal U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. For complete Official Rules, go here. Sponsor: Tor.com, a division of Macmillan, 175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Good luck, and may our future leaders spare you.

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