Review of “The Red Expansion” by Matt Nagel


LM081018 is a non-sentient robot tasked with highway maintenance, a job it has been performing faithfully for millennia. This morning, as the growing sun rises over the horizon and recharges its batteries, LM081018’s temperature gauge registers 75 degrees Celsius. The robot once had rain gages, but since all earth’s water has long boiled away, the question of rain is moot.


The end is not a surprise, but author Matt Nagel provides a nice portrait of a machine doing its job without memory of things being different. It has no feelings, no hopes, no dreams. It simply has a job to do, whether that job has any relevance.

I liked this little story, though one could hardly call it cheery.


According to his blurb, Matt Nagel says he writes stories influenced by his passion for space. He lives in Stroudsburg, PA, with his wife and the one-year-old son. His advice for new writers is to keep it simple and to write about something you know for your own pleasure.

The story can be read here.

Title: The Red Expansion
Author: Matt Nagel
First published: Theme of Absence, February 21, 2020

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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