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Thorr (Monsterbus p.457)

This is the third of Kirby's four Thorr stories. This one illustrates the strength of Kirby's writing: he conceives, he does not contrive. That is, he does not try to create a clever story (a contrivance). Instead he creates something that grows after he leaves it (like a newborn child).

On first reading this story is silly. A man defeats aliens by causing a volcanic eruption. But look closer: nowhere is it shown that he defeats the aliens, he merely thinks he does. Those aliens could easily walk out of the sea again. And we only have the one alien's word that they are aliens at all: the visual evidence is that he is a machine, so could be programmed to think that. If the masters are really aliens working on million year timescales, is it likely they could arrive so quickly?

When we look closer, we see a realistic story: once we accept that some kind of robot could exist, how the man reacted is just how real man might react. And we can also judge his actions: it was his fault the robot attacked, bit how could he have known? Then persuading the robot to act alone was a stroke of genius. However, his later acts were unforgivable: encouraging all the other robots to arrive, and then destroying the island! How would he feel if islanders came and destroyed his nation? A wiser man would have encouraged the first robot to relax when he became king, and then the man could call in the military. The man here was the real villain: his wife's initial assessment was correct. And her final siding with him can be explained by the shock of what he had done - she had to say whatever it took to get off that dangerous island! Or maybe she was as misguided as he was?

It is not even clear that the robots meant any harm. Their actions are also consistent with them ushering in a  new golden age: we simply do not know.

Kirby's stories are food for thought.