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A to Z Reviews: “The Well-Oiled Machine,” by H.B. Fyfe

A to Z Reviews: “The Well-Oiled Machine,” by H.B. Fyfe

A to Z Reviews

H.B. Fyfe published “The Well-Oiled Machine” in the December 1950 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the story demonstrates a forward thinking that explores the use of computers and artificial intelligence in the workplace, although in Fyfe’s story, the editor, William Moran (also referred to as Ed, since he is the editor), has a staff of robots rather than networked AIs or computers.

Moran is the editor of Stupendous Stories, a magazine that publishes science fiction adventure stories. As far as the story indicates, Moran is also the only human employee of the company. Before stories get to his desk, a robot known as Sinner writes up synopses (synopses) of the stories for Moran to review. Moran than decides which stories to read based on those briefs and sends the stories to Liar (a linotype robot) to be laid out. Advertising is handled by Adder, the art department is run by Arty, and for good measure, there is a repair robot known as Doc.

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