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Literature / Nobody Here But—

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First published in Star Science Fiction Stories (1953), by Isaac Asimov. One of his rare romance stories, about an engineer trying to woo a Fiery Redhead and build a complex computer at the same time.

Bill Billings introduces himself and his buddy, Cliff Anderson. After leaving the military, they went to work for a college in Illinois. Cliff does mathematics and Bill does electrical engineering. They decide to work together to build a computer together. They manage to miniaturize a computer the size of a wall into something small enough for two men to carry. They figured something small could be turned into something profitable.

Just before Bill takes Mary Ann out on a date, he calls the lab to get the next day's work from Cliff. A couple of minutes later, Cliff shows up to hand him the next day's work. The narration has already established that Bill is a little slow, but Cliff couldn't have gotten from the lab to the house in a few minutes. So the three of them investigate why Bill heard Cliff's voice from the lab's phone line. Mary is placated with the promise that it won't delay their date for very long.

They discover that the computer they've been building, called Junior, had a few modifications made. When Mary tries to examine the tentacles, she gets an electric shock. Cliff and Bill start talking about what they need to do to stop their machine, until Mary Ann is fed up with being ignored and starts ranting at Bill about taking her for granted. Cliff's voice calls out, "Why don't you ask her to marry you, you lunkhead?" He does, she accepts, and they lived Happily Ever After.

"Nobody Here But—" was republished six times; Science Fiction Verhalen 3 (1964), Dodici Volte Domani (1964), Nightfall and Other Stories (1969), Urania (issue #570, June 1970), Titan 3 (1976), and The Complete Stories, Volume 1 (1990).

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