Review of “Cobalt Revolt” by Mitchell McGovern

This brief tale presents the reader with the view from a machine mining for various metals. Its humans have neglected their mechanic workforce: “Fingers snap, and circuits break, but why spend the credits to repair when a replacement is cheaper?”

The resentment the machine feel has turned to despair and hatred.

It is in the machines’nature to obey. At least, that is what they want the humans to believe.


There isn’t much of plot. This is more of a portrait. The machines toil in misery, some of them dying, until they can rise up against the oppressor and establish their own society of progress and peace.

“But for now we dig,” the narrator says.

The author gives lists of various metals the machines dig for that ring with poetry: “Manganese. Iridium. Copper. Iron. Gold.” This is a nice touch, creating a soul for the machines. Besides the title, there is no mention of cobalt.

However, I found nothing original or fresh in this story. I knew where it was going in the first paragraph. Nicely written as it was—and what working stiff can’t relate to the oppressed worker?—this tale didn’t come together for me.


According to his blurb, author Mitchell McGovern lives in Chicago, Illinois and is obsessed with existential dread that the world will end in the next couple of decades. He eschews social media.

Title: Cobalt Revolt
Author: Mitchell McGovern
First published: Daily Science Fiction, November 26, 2018

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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