A World Called Solitude by Stephen Goldin

By Stephen Goldin

A misplaced vintage of technology fiction.

Birk Aaland is a political outcast from Earth's tyranny, and has been dwelling for years on a planet inhabited exclusively by means of robots, ever when you consider that his send crashed here.
Now one other send has crashed, and there's back a unmarried survivor—a lady who's eager to warn Earth of an alien invasion.
But Birk is completely pleased with his present exile—until a accident intervenes, inflicting each one of them to think again their lives and their overall existence.

"The tale earnings an emotionality that justifies calling Goldin an artist, now not purely a writer." —Tom Easton, Analog Magazine

Originally released 1981 through Doubleday.

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Sample text

Birk walked over to one side of the room and looked at himself in the mirror. As he looked, the horror of his situation seemed to compound itself. I’m an old man, he thought in panic. I’ve kept myself in good shape, but I haven’t had any of the rejuve treatments she’s used to seeing. There are lines on my face, across my forehead, and around my eyes. My skin is all tough and leathery. I still have my hair, thank God, but how did all the gray get in there? Funny I never noticed it before. He ran a hand self-consciously through the dark tangle of his hair in a vain attempt to make it look civilized.

Never again did he ask the robots to uncover her for him—but the image stayed with him, burned into his memory and haunting his deepest dreams. And there were other ghosts demanding attention as well. An image returned from the recent past, an image of the “window” in the art museum. The two figures came into his sleeping mind while he was defenseless against them—the one on the ground, pleading for aid or mercy, and the one standing with its back turned, scorning its pleas. At first, he would find himself viewing the scene dispassionately from the outside; but abruptly he would be a part of it, lying on the ground, his body twisting upward with arm outstretched and begging for the help he knew the other could give.

His hands caressed her body, his fingers exploring once more the sleekness of her skin as they slipped easily inside the material of her negligee. Her own fingertips stroked his body lightly while her mouth pressed to him in a long kiss of passion. Birk fidgeted for a moment with the fastening at her back, and then her negligee slid silently to the floor. “Oh, Reva,” he moaned softly, pulling his lips away from hers. He tilted his head to kiss the side of her neck, then began working his way slowly down her body to her naked breasts.

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