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The Age of Miracles produces an amazing suicide and a triumphant return from death.
A million dollar prize is offered—and won—for the most perfect automation.

Revenge of the Robot

By Otis Adelbert Kline
Author of "The Swordsman of Venus," "Jan of the Jungle," etc.

THE dessert had just been served at the annual banquet of the International Society of Robot Fabricators, where five thousand members of the society and their guests sat at a huge V-shaped table in the auditorium of the American Institute of Science on Chicago's lake front.

Orville Matthews, President of the United States, and himself a scientist of note, held a goblet close to the microphone before him, and tapped it gently with his spoon. The chatter of voices was instantly hushed as the sound was amplified in the vast auditorium.

The President stood up and shook back his mane of snow-white hair.

"Most of you," he said, "have some inkling of the announcement I am about to make, since the deliberations of our legislative body are not carried on in secret. You know that Congress voted an appropriation of one million dollars to be offered as a prize for the most outstanding achievement in science during the year 1999, the prize to be paid on January 1st, 2000, and the nature of the achievement to be determined by the President and his Cabinet.

"We have made vast strides in scientific achievement during the past fifty years. For instance, my good friend, Herr Doktor Ludwig Meyer, came here from Berlin in less than an hour in his stratosphere rocket plane. My friend Sir Chauncey Newcomb of London made it here in less than half an hour by patronizing the Transatlantic Vacuum Tunnel System.

"We have-many other splendid conveniences and inventions which, fifty years ago, were only dreamed of, but which to us of today are commonplace. However, there is one thing which man has not yet invented—a machine that will think for itself—a robot that will not merely respond to the orders of its controller, but will, in addition, reason inductively and deductively—a machine that will think analytically, creatively, and independently.


"The robot that wins this great prize must be constructed in the semblance of a human, being. It must not be subject to any outside control but, as I have said, must do its own thinking and direct its own actions. In case such a robot is not constructed, the prize money will be returned to the Treasury of the United States. If more than one such robot is constructed, the one which most perfectly simulates man physically, and which shows the strongest and most desirable mental characteristics, will win the prize.

"The competition is open to people of all nations, and I trust that every robot inventor will decide to compete. You have one year in which to perfect such a robot. Permit me to wish you luck."

The thunderous applause which greeted the President's announcement was followed by a thousand heated arguments. Many contended that such a robot was an impossibility. Others felt that it might be constructed, but a year was a very short time in which to perfect it.

There was one scientist who did not join in the discussion. Albert Bradshaw had devoted twenty of the thirty years of his life to intensive laboratory work, with the result that he had contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. In spite of the slow wastage of the disease, he was strikingly handsome—the hectic flush rather heightening the youthful appearance of his face.

His frank blue eyes were filled with devotion as he looked down into the sparkling black ones of his vivacious dinner companion and nurse, Yvonne D'Arcy. Tonight her appearance was far from professional, with her glossy black hair done in the latest mode, and her smart evening gown that tastefully set off her youthful charms.

"Enjoying it?" he asked her.

"So much," she smiled. "But we must go now. The exertion and excitement aren't good for you."

"All right," he answered agreeably. "Let's go."

Many admiring pairs of eyes followed the handsome couple as they made their way toward the checkroom. Among these were a pair of near-sighted grey eyes, peering through a thick-lensed pince-nez. Their look of admiration, however, was for the girl alone. For the man they had only an envious, malignant glare. Hugh Grimes, millionaire inventor of the Grimes Radio-Controlled Robots, which were employed by millions both in the United States and abroad, adjusted his pince-nez, stroked his neatly trimmed Van Dyke, and replied abstractedly to a statement made by the beefy, pendant-jowled Dr. Ludwig Meyer of Berlin, who sat at his right. Then, excusing himself, he rose and marched in the wake of the young couple who had just left their table.

There was a deadly glitter in his weak, watery eyes as he contemplated the back of the young man before him. As if to reassure himself, he dipped thumb and forefinger into his vest pocket and caressed a small, globular object ...

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