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Literature / Argo

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Argo is the first published short story by Rick Griffin, creator of award-winning webcomic Housepets!. Taking place in the distant future when androids outnumber humans, advancements in artificial intelligence is intentionally stifled by heavy government regulations. When Mira, an ambitious and disillusioned engineer, stumbles upon a shockingly advanced android, she begins to learn more than she ever could have imagined about artificial intelligence, and herself.

The story explores themes such as balancing fear and progress, the nature of intelligence, and what it means to be human.

It can be purchased in a number of formats for computers and eReaders at Smashwords or

Later rewritten in full novel length as Ani-Droids.

Not to be confused with the 2012 Ben Affleck film.

This story provides examples of:

  • Animals Not to Scale: Justified, as androids are designed for practicality first, looking cute and unthreatening second.
  • Artificial Animal People: The ani-droids are an unusual example, as they are robots rather than biological creatures. However, they otherwise fit this trope, as they are designed to be anthropomorphs so they can be cute instead of threatening to humans who would otherwise be uncomfortable with them.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The main theme of the story.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Traffic accident victims are covered in white sheets regardless of whether or not they survive the accident. Just assumed at first to be a quirk of the ambulance androids, but...
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Seems to be fairly standard design. Eo lost her memory due to cranial damage.
  • Cute Machines: Ani-droids, by design, look like cartoon characters.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Mother looks a lot like a mechanical one.
  • Emergent Human: Lily shows signs of this when being modified.
  • Expressive Ears: Eo has these.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Androids have no rights and are essentially treated as slaves, but they don't mind one bit.
  • Mechanical Animals: Ani-droids, the most common variety of androids, are this.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Humans. After the war, anyway.
  • Robot War: Happened before the events of the story. The humans came out alright, though, and still seem to be cool with androids as long as they're heavily regulated. Making them cute and cuddly doesn't hurt either. Or so they think.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Mira is an android and so are most/all other humans.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked, as most androids are designed to be anthropomorphs to avert this trope.
  • Wham Line: When Mother opens up Mira's wrist.