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Literature / The Last Human (2019)

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The Last Human is a Science Fiction Children's-to-Middle Schooler's novel by Lee Bacon.

In the future, the world is ruled by robots. When they deduced humans to be the greatest threat to Earth's safety, they rose up and wiped them out 30 years ago. Now robots rule over the planet Earth, and have created a civilization where everything is run smoothly, everyone has a purpose, and there's no war, pollution, or poverty.

This is the world that XR_935 was built into. Since his activation, all he has known are that humans basically poisoned their land, fought each other in damaging wars, and didn't care one lick for the world, the other lifeforms living on it, or even for each other. All this he knows courtesy of the daily Presidential Address that the society's leader, PRES1DENT, beams into all the robots' brains daily via the robot Hive-Mind through which they are all linked.

Then, one day, while at work, XR_935 and his co-workers, Ceeron_902 and SkD, make a shocking discovery. They find a young human girl named Emma hiding in their solar panel field. XR's first inclination is to tag her and leave her to the HunterBots. However, she manages to convince him to let her live, and hide. Emma tells the robo-trio that she's the Sole Survivor of a disease that wiped out all the other humans in her bunker, and that her parents gave her a map with a special location pointed out on it, telling her to go there.

XR_935, Ceeron, and SkD realize two things. One, that this human doesn't seem anywhere near as dangerous and malicious as PRES1DENT's daily addresses say, and two, she needs their help to get to her destination in one piece. So, for the first time in their existence, the three robots break from their daily routine, and leave work to help this girl reach her destination.

The book was published on August 29th, 2019.

The Last Human contains examples of:

  • The Big Guy: Ceeron. It was designed to carry and put solar panels in place.
  • Character Narrator: The story is narrated from XR_935's perspective.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Robot-kind came to the conclusion that humanity are a threat to the world, and wiped them out (or so they thought). PRES1DENT beams images into robot-kind's minds of humanity's worst qualities to maintain this image.
  • The Last Title: Well, the title being "The Last Human", this trope is a given.
  • Literal-Minded: Most robots don't really understand puns or human slang, taking everything at face value. Ceeron has a fascination with such things, though, which allows him to understand and translate them for XR_935 and SkD.
  • Robot Antennae: The illustrations in the book show that XR_935, Ceeron, SkD, and PRES1DENT all have these.
  • Robot Republic: After wiping out most of humanity, robot-kind set up their own society, one in which everyone is built for a specific purpose.
  • Sole Survivor: Emma states she's the last remaining human from her original bunker. A mysterious illness broke out there, which claimed the lives of pretty much the bunker's whole population, except for Emma, who never even seemed to catch it.
    • Subverted near the end, where Emma reveals that the story wasn't entirely true. Yes, there is a disease in Emma's bunker that made everyone sick, but nobody's died from it so far. Also, the location on Emma's map is another bunker with humans that have the medicine she needs.
  • TV Head Robot: SkD has a screen for a face through which it communicates with emoticon images.
  • Urban Ruins: Every day, XR_935, Parent_1, and Parent_2 walk through the crumbling remains of a human city to get to and from work. Parent_1 and Parent_2 state that the reason they left the ruins untouched as a reminder of all of humanity's flaws.
    • They get torn down after the humans return to the surface.