“I, for one, welcome…”: Robot Overlord Contest Results

Last week, in honor of Daniel H. Wilson’s short story “The Nostalgist,” we ran a Robot Overlord contest, which asked our readers to imagine that they were in the midst of a vast robot uprising and persuade our robot overlords why they should be allowed to live. We declared that there would be one winner each in the categories of poetry, visual art, and video, and that each winner would receive a robo-rific prize pack consisting of Daniel Wilson’s shiny, indispensable tomes (How to Survive a Robot Uprising, 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)…


…and a shirt of their choice from charming design outpost My Robot Overlord:


The entries rolled in, Daniel pored over them, and when the contest ended he sent us a list of his winners and assessed the community in general for its robot preparedness. His note begins:

Thanks to everyone who sent in entries to the Robot Overlord contest. Not all of you won, which is natural, considering that not all of you will survive when the robots come for us. But some of you did win, which gives me hope for the future of humanity. In either case, I’m flattered that my books could be considered prizes worth competing for and it makes me happy that you all chose to participate in this silly game.

The major result while judging this contest turned out to be that…dudes, you guys have got to start R-ing TFM. As much as we loved everyone’s entries, many of Daniel’s favorites were from people who didn’t comply with one of the primary official rules, which was that the contest was only “open to registered users of Tor.com.” As loathe as we are to bow to bureaucracy, we’re bound to these rules as much as you are, and so Daniel could only pick one official winner for this contest. However, we still want to applaud the efforts of those who participated, so we’re going to come up with neat things for all of our judge’s favorite entries.

Without further ado, Daniel’s picks were…

The poetry competition was particularly stiff, with lots of potential human survivors wrangling those uniquely human symbols called words into robot pleasing shapes. (Except for the binary entry, which I think read “Please Don’t Disembowel Me with Your Pincer Hands.”) Nevertheless, Dolores O’Brien was inarguably my favorite by a LANDSLIDE. Her epic song lyrics and Barry White-enchanced introduction made me glad that I wrote my books before she did. Her song made my heart melt just like peoples’ faces when they are hit by lasers, and that is the most romantic way for something to melt. Congratulations, Dolores. Honorable Mention goes to Rob Mayette and his touching ode to an unfortunately gargantuan laser printer. His poem showed us that big printers need love, too. Rob, I want you to know that you touched me, man.


R.Fife can haz the prize for his laser-eyed kitten. Not even a robot with a cold heart of titanium could bear to vaporize that small bit of fuzzy organic matter. And Honorable Mention to T.Bone for the gift basket—specifically, the bottle of Yuengling, which is the preferred beverage at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, PA!


The video competition was close, but momentum swung toward the nice English couple because R. Fife already dominated the Visual Art category. “Have you been rampaging again?” It’s a question I ask my wife daily, as well. Honorable Mention to R. Fife, however, for a video ransom letter from the human resistance that came complete with a severed bit of RAM from a kidnapped bot. Grisly!

Congratulations to everyone who Daniel picked. I hope the rest of you enjoy contemplating your doom at the hands of our future overlords. Dolores, Rob, R.Fife, T.Bone, and Canis, please get in touch with Torie at [torie dot atkinson at tor dot com] to confirm your acceptance of the prize and tell her what size and style of shirt you would like (bearing in mind that there are three additional designs over on the site).

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Daniel for judging! Even if we can’t give you a prize, we hope you’ll get your hands on a copy of his book—when we’re up against the wall, you’ll be glad that you did.


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