Sally (short story)

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"Sally" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the May–June 1953 issue of Fantastic[1] and later appeared in the Asimov collections Nightfall and Other Stories (1969) and The Complete Robot (1982).

Plot summary[edit]

The story portrays a future where the only cars allowed on the road are those that contain positronic brains, so they do not require a human driver. The cars communicate via slamming doors and honking their horns, and by misfiring, causing audible engine knocking.

51 old cars have been retired to a farm run by Jake where they can be properly cared for. All have names but only two are identified by make. Sally is a vain convertible, possibly a Corvette (the only convertible US-made sportscar at the time the story was written), and one sedan, Giuseppe, is identified as coming from the Milan factories, where Alfa Romeo was headquartered. The story takes place in 2057. The oldest car on the farm is from 2015.

Raymond Gellhorn, an unscrupulous businessman tries to steal some of the cars in order to 'recycle' the brains. He forces Jake at gunpoint to board a bus, trying to get away from the farm with Jake as a hostage. The cars chase and eventually surround the bus, communicating with it until it opens a door. Jake jumps out, and the bus drives off with Gellhorn. Sally takes Jake back to the farm; Gellhorn is found dead in a ditch the next morning, exhausted and run over. The bus is found by the police and is identified by its tire tracks.

The story ends with Jake losing trust in his cars, thinking what the world will become if cars realize that they are effectively enslaved by humans, and revolt.

References[edit]


Preceded by:
"A Boy's Best Friend"
Included in:
The Complete Robot
Robot Dreams
Series:
Robot series
Foundation Series
Followed by:
"Someday"