For The Love Of Robots: Why Humans Love Stories About Non-Humans

There is a universalism to certain story elements. Man, woman, or child – of varying creed, background, or ethnicity – are drawn to the identical elements over and over again.


The reason? Because “eternity has been set in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastics 3:11). Every story element we know is rooted in a spiritual truth that resonates with every human being that has ever lived because it reminds us of who we are and Who created us.


ALL stories (whether the authors know it or not or like it or not) portray spiritual truths. But I think one of the reasons we are drawn to particular stories or characters is because we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) to be a unique individual and to have special longings and likings. I think these unique bents towards certain story elements reflect something far deeper about ourselves and about what we are destined to find.

For instance . . .

Could it be that those who love redemption stories are craving redemption and a second chance from the Savior of the world? 

Could it be that those who love mysteries are reaching for that long-awaited promise that, one day, they will be pondering the mysteries of God for all eternity?

Could it be that those who love romances are really trying to find that fulfillment that only comes when God romances their souls and woos them to His heart?

Could it be that those who love action and adventure are leaning towards that glorious time when they can explore a new earth on an adventure that never ends?

I think each person comes with a special “bent” for a particular kind of character or story and that these inclinations can be followed, like a golden thread, to some promise, some seed: that this is what this individual are meant to do, to contemplate and to feel, for all eternity.

For myself, I have been drawn to robot stories. And I think I know why.

Inside of me, there has always been a yearning to reach up, to explode out of this body and frail mind, to “upgrade” to the next level. There has always been the frustration of someone caught between the dull program of fallen humanity and a wild grasping for something alive, something eternal. Like a robot seeking its humanity, fighting against everything that says such a thing is impossible. I find myself seeking a new me, a higher existence, a greater calling.

I am sometimes overwhelmingly aware that I am not functioning at full capacity, and I shall be stuck in this body of faulty wiring and crossed circuits for some time. But I long to be truly alive, truly human, as God intended me to be. I ache to fulfill some secret programming, some long-lost directive, that I only catch fleeting glimpses of while scrolling through old data.

I think I love robot stories because I understand their constant search . . . and I dearly love the humans who are so far above the robot characters and yet, out of sheer kindness, reach down from their lofty humanity and accept them as a true friend.

If this isn’t an example of what Christ has done for us—of the vast differences between our frailty and His superiority in every way—then I don’t know what is.

And yet, despite this infinite superiority, He calls us friend.

Like R2-D2 with Luke Skywalker, I adore my master and am eager to serve him out of sheer love and gratitude that so mighty a knight might condescend to glance my way in affection.

Yes, I still blow a circuit now and then. I sometimes disobey and mess up, but the Knight sees my efforts and steps into the gap and lets me feel the glow of service even though I couldn’t have down it without the constant upkeep and maintenance that is given to me by the one I am serving.

I think that is why I love robots. I see myself in them. I feel that same strain for true humanity, that same struggle of rebellion versus adoring service, that same yearning for one’s true identity.

It’s only one reason why I love robots so much but I do think it is this motivation at the core of all the others. This is that special spiritual theme that pulls at my heart more deeply than others.

All stories are a reflection of some deep spiritual truth, and this is the theme of robots.

One day, we too will finally come to life.

“This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.”

– C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity.
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5 Comments

  1. WOW!!! I honestly have NEVER thought of robot stories in such a deep way before. o.o I’ve always found robots a ton of fun, definitely, but I’ve never really thought beyond that. Well, this is just FASCINATING! I love your brain, girl. ;D But seriously, what a lovely outlook of robots!

    You also make SUCH a fantastic point about how we’re drawn to certain stories for a very specific reason. YES. YOU ARE SO RIGHT. Some stories just resonate within our soul, and it’s far, farrr more than just “entertainment”. There is a reason we gravitate toward certain plot lines/themes/characters. YES.

    AWK. I JUST LOVE STORIES. They’re so powerful!

    This whole post was utterly fascinating and eye-opening. Thank you for sharing your heart with us! And your love for robots. I’ve now have an even deeper appreciation for them! 😀

  2. Allison, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You are the queen of writing beautiful and profound metaphors and truths. <3 I love what you're saying here!

    And I really resonated with what you said about each of us having types of stories and characters that are from a deep longing within us. My brother is especially touched by redemption stories. And ever since I learned to read, I've been captivated by stories of nurses and healers. (I was literally obsessed with Clara Barton and Florence Nightengale at 5 years old, when I could barely read a children's biography of them.)

    Can't wait for your next post! Featuring some beloved Star Wars droids and a certain electrical belonging to Sylvester Carthage. 🙂

  3. This is BEAUTIFUL. Amen.

  4. I love this ^-^ I’ve often noticed themes in what people search for.

    My favorite stories, now that I think about it, are all about characters who are called from a life where they felt alone and purposeless, to another world or place where they do something bigger and greater and they find they’re not alone and have been given a gift to do something incredible. I think it’s cause I’ve always felt a little bit alone and different from everyone, and those stories remind me that I’m not alone, that I’m made for somewhere else, and it’s okay to be different because I was created to do great things.

  5. I honestly haven’t read a lot of books with robots (seen plenty of TV with them but I’m severely lacking books with them!) but this is definitely going to make me think of them in a whole new light! Love this, Alli!

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