Read eros philia agape by Rachel Swirsky Sam Weber Online


Originally published on, Rachel Swirsky's contemporary tale of love in all its forms and of one robot's quest to know it, and himself, on his own terms is a finalist for the 2010 Hugo Award and the 2010 Locus Award....

Title : eros philia agape
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 8267929
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 30 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

eros philia agape Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-03-18 22:35

    4.0 stars. Another beautiful and deeply emotional story by THE GODDESS OF SHORT FICTION, Rachel Swirsky. I have received multiple concussions falling head over heals for her previous stories, A Memory of Wind and The Monster's Million Faces. Now, with this one, she has hit the trifecta and again reduced my literary knees to jelly. The story explores the nature of love, loss and pain through the lens of a lonely woman, Adriana, and her android companion, Lucian, who she acquired to live with and keep her company. Eventually, their relationship becomes intimate and they have a child named Rose (and YES, the woman and the android have a child).As time goes on, Adriana, who loves Lucian grants him free will and the ability to ignore his programming and make his own decisions. This leads to unforseen consequences as Lucian must journey on the road of self-discovery to determine "who he is" beyond his programming. It is a brilliant piece of writing. Rachel's stories have a way of being both elegant in their prose and devastating in their emotional impact. This is no exception. At this point, I think I would buy any of her stories sight unseen Highly Recommended!!! Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Short StoryNominee: Locus Award for Best Short Story

  • Richard Derus
    2019-03-01 18:49

    EROS, PHILIA, AGAPERating: 2* of fiveAdriana's father messed with her, and so she's all messed up, and she's rich so she buys herself a sex-slave robot and has the manufacturers make him look like her father.Yuck.A MEMORY OF WINDRating: 2* of fiveThe story of Iphigenia, sacrificed by her father to Aphrodite, so the fleet carrying the Greeks could leave port. She has a very modern sensibility, does this Iphigenia, demanding the right to be happy and marry someone she loves.This is codswallop. I doubt anyone goes to their death happily, but demanding things no woman of the time was likely even to conceptualize because it wasn't part of the universe they knew? Hm.Oh, and Achilles is straight.THE MONSTER'S MILLION FACESRating: 3* of fiveIn a future time, perdaughterkind is able to heal your emotional wounds by making new memories that, like all memories, are not "real" (an unhelpful construct when it comes to memory anyway) but feel real to the healed. This is done to begin healing from traumas inflicted in the course of being alive. Then, as one would expect, it's down to therapy to integrate the new memories into the patient's worldview and begin to make life work better for them.Of course, the abuser is a man. The victim is, too. It's clear but never stated that the abuse was sexual. Frankly, I'm sick of this.

  • Badseedgirl
    2019-03-02 17:28


  • David
    2019-03-23 19:38

    A short story about a woman who falls in love with a robot, who in being given his freedom, realizes that his capacity for love is an artificial, human thing. It explores the different kinds of love, and the line between love and possession, and it has many layers to examine, though the damaged Adriana and the selfish (however justified) Lucian are hard to like.

  • Nikki
    2019-03-18 19:35

    Eros, Philia, Agape is lovely. It's available, like the other short stories by Rachel Swirsky that I've been reading, on, here. It's a lovely story, which reminds me a little of Isaac Asimov's The Positronic Man -- except more emotional, more evocative, more tender and more sad. Despite how short it is, it creates a world and characters I fully believe in, and the writing is lovely. My heart was in my throat while reading parts of it, just for the aching tenderness in it.I think perhaps my favourite detail is that little Rose wants to be a robot like her father. Of course she does, it makes so much sense, and the way she insists on it is just -- ouch, my heart.Oh, and I love that there's a gay couple in the background, matter of fact and loving.(A warning, though: there are brief descriptions of childhood abuse and rape. They're very brief and not explicit.)

  • R.C.
    2019-03-26 16:31

    I'm a bit disappointed by this story compared to the last short story by Rachel Swirsky. The prose is these and the characters felt real enough, but something just didn't click for me. In this long short, Adrianna, a single woman who just lost her sexually abusive father, decides she is too old for the single scene (mid thirties is too old?) and has a robot companion built for her instead. The android's name is Lucian. He is able to adapt and learn, like s human, and evolve mentally. They eventually marry, adopt, and then he has a midlife crisis of sorts and leaves them. I gurus he is more humans than most would give orbits credit for.Cool story, but again, things just don't jive. Adrianna is told that the android's brain is made up of different genius's mental capacity for mathematics, science, art, etc. But he he has the mental capacity of a genius, why doesn't it come out in his work? Where the masterpieces in art, or the inventions, or, at least, the worlds best omelet? I don't see why this was mentioned in the story if the author wasn't going to use it. Having an android with that level of cognitive ability appear to act so mundane is bizarre. Lucian eventually leaves Adrianna and their daughter, Rose, to go find himself. What he means by this is that he will essentially wander into the desert, wipe hid memory, and be reborn. Fair enough, but if he was such a genius, would he realize that A. He was essentially immortal, and B. Leaving would cause Rose and Adrianna a great deal of pain? He could have just waited for Adrianna to die of old age and for Rose to grow up and move on before doing this.Equally as jarring is the last section of the story; not only I'd it written I'd prudent tense, where as everything else is past tense, but it doesn't even make sense. It talks about Lucian imagining himself going back to hid family once he finds himself, but hoe is that possible if he is basically wiping his mind and starting over so his mind can learn to see he world as a robot and not a preprogrammed human? Wouldn't all his memories be erased in the process?I liked the story, the prose was good, and the characters came off the page. Given all that and the subject, I can see why this was worthy of a nomination. That being said, certain hints should have been removed from this story to make it more sound and believable. There are loose ends that just don't need to be there.

  • Molly
    2019-03-04 20:50

    Nice, emotional short explores love and humanity. Rating 3.5Truth be told, near the end I just wanted to punch someone (him or her). It wasn't my first read about the possibility of love between a human and a cyborg, but maybe I was more comfortable with the rendition in "The Mad Scientist's Daughter" by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Still Swirsky doesn't disappoint, and sure as hell doesn't leave you indifferent. Link here:

  • Daria
    2019-02-27 19:23

    It's alright, I guess. I understand that Swirsky had attempted to put into question the human concept of possession, and how that concept plays out in terms of familial relations and love. Swirsky's language is lovely in parts. Problem is that, although Lucian is interesting, protagonist Adriana is utterly unlikeable. Also, the idea of assembling a robot for a lover kinda creeps me out, and I can't get over the fact that robots aren't supposed to be relateable to humans in any way (i.e., love their adopted human children) - because, well, they're just simply not human, no matter how advanced such AI can be. You can read the story here, it's not very long:

  • Chichipio
    2019-02-23 15:37

    Free short story found at Very well-written—in my totally unqualified opinion.It's a bit sad and makes you think about love and its complications from a rather unusual perspective. It's great for those days when you're feeling a little introspective.

  • Raina
    2019-03-10 21:23

    that was heavy

  • Maggie Gordon
    2019-03-25 19:29

    I had a hard time deciding whether this was a 3 or 4 star story, but I decided that some parts were so beautifully written, filled with intense emotions that it deserved a bump up. Eros, Philia, Agape is about love, possession, and robots. Adriana can't figure out what is missing from her life, decides it must be love, so she commissions a robot with self-awareness to fill this gap. Their life is beautiful, they adopt a child, but Lucian decides one day that love is merely an expression of possession, and he must leave in order to figure out who and what he is outside the confines of the human world. Where the story fails is that we don't get enough insight into Lucian's thoughts, but Adriana's side of the story is uncomfortable and heartbreaking. I would have liked some stronger commentary on love and possession by the end, but Swirsky has crafted an excellent short story.

  • Sophie
    2019-03-01 15:46

    I have had this on my to read list forever so I've forgotten why I put it there or even the fact that it is a short story and what I would classify as science fiction, not my favorite genre. I'm sure it was through reviews that it ended up there. I enjoyed the story very much. The premise is a lonely wealthy woman upon the death of her father decides to establish a family, the husband being a customized robot with AI that evolves. When the relationship fails, she must deal with the reaction of her 4 year old daughter. I will definitely be putting this authors other stories on my to read list.

  • August
    2019-02-27 16:24

    Interesting story. I found it insightful for its length. I agree with some of the people here on goodreads that one of the main characters, Adriana, was unlikeable, but I felt that this dovetailed nicely with the theme of 'love as possession'. Here we have two characters following two divergent but parallel conceptions of love. Adriana, as we have seen, is representative of the sort of love that demands an ownership of others. She could give him free will but her failure to accept the consequences of it only shows that she has not fully understood what it means to give another possession of him or herself. On the other hand we have Lucian trying seek an alternative to human love by destroying the concept of possession itself, seeking this love through empathy and letting go--something Adriana clearly fails to do. I find this particularly interesting because the story suggests that understanding what it means to love another means losing oneself in them. Lucian, of course takes this to an extreme but love in this case means expanding one's sense of self, in Lucian by way of destroying himself.What is similar in both strands however is that both are ultimately selfish. The last scene especially demonstrates this with a scene detailing Lucian's knowledge of how events would transpire in his absence. He knows that both Adriana and Rose, whom he claims to love, will both destroy themselves and yet he sacrifices them to gain greater understanding. The future tense only serves to highlight this fact and is an interesting shift in tone which may indicate an ironic attitude in the author especially how Lucian predicts that in the end all will be well. Of course, I am not too familiar with her other work so I cannot judge with certainty. What cannot be said however is that neither is a genuine sort of love. Love is human after all and until we can be as Lucien dreams to be it would be marred by an entirely human egocentrism: a possession of self or others. Whether this is good or bad is debatable. That is in any case, my two cents on the matter.My only complaint is that I couldn't make heads or tails about Adriana's history of abuse. I just doesn't seem to fit in for me and the story in my opinion could do without it. The story references psychoanalysis, but I am not familiar enough with the movement to comment. Perhaps if I come back to this piece after having read a bit of Freud, I would understand it better. For now it appears to me to be a poorly disguised plot device meant to offset a possible lack of sympathy for the main character. I apologize if others would disagree with me. My reading is merely tentative and I am willing to appreciate the piece in different ways if possible. But to me, it doesn't seem to mesh in with the conflict between the two main characters. Fuoco was a better character despite being only a bird as he not was not only symbolic of the theme but brought the two characters and their worldviews into contact and relief. The father by contrast only served as a reason for Adriana to have Lucien made and later only became baggage and did not even contribute to the relationship (as far as I can tell, not even in a detrimental way). I will of course put some thought into this.I found the story to be beautifully written however. A bit baroque, even, at parts and that's always a plus for me. I have no problems with the telling portion. I agree it would be better to show the developing relationship of the two but that would have meant padding the story and detracting from the somewhat philosophical stance the story takes. I would not be against it however and I am curious how the author would go about doing so, but a little distance makes certain vistas more poignant--and what I would give for such a well placed view!

  • John Wiswell
    2019-03-24 20:25

    Flashbacks are dangerous things. It's so easy to derail a parallel narrative, to give so much away that the main time period loses intrigue, or to give too little away and feel like time is wasted. For a couple days I've struggled with Eros, Philia, Agape, which opens on a flashforward of a divorce. Lucian, the husband, struggles to define himself and takes all his things, leaving a pet and daughter behind. It's in the ensuing scenes that we realize he's a robot built by his wife, Adriana, ordered to look nothing like her father but still standing in for the man in the sort of Freudian execution only SciFi allows. If you can 3D-print a husband, then Elektric desires can bubble up, yes? And his realizing that he's a toy is a profound existential dilemma.Or, it would be. One of our last future-set scenes is a gorgeous destruction of everything he owns; mementos of vacations, valuable dinnerware, and even a crystal that contains video of his daughter. He cannot bare to possess anything because he is trying to free himself from an existence of being a thing made to own. It is exquisitely written, profoundly insightful, and makes the ensuing flashback scenes pale in comparison.Because we then flash back to Adriana buying Lucian and their relationship, which is mostly told in a distanced third person that is never so personal. We're thrust backwards in the narrative, refused the ability to see what Lucian will develop into, in favor of seeing how we got here. There are keen details, and their daughter growing up thinking she's a robot, and that if she's hurt she'll just be fixed by "healerbots," is interesting. And because it's Rachel Swirsky, it's got some beautiful sentences along the way. But these past-period scene pale before the promise of the novelette's opening. They grow frustrating as we realize we're watching Adriana grant Lucian the leeway that will split their relationship - particularly because we just see her give him freewill, rather than experience scenes of that freewill creating a rift. We don't get the moments of a relationship falling apart, but rather the outline of tropes that express that, obviously, it will fall apart. And so we never get as deep inside Adriana's experience of the relationship as we did with Lucian at the start.What we get instead is Adriana screwing up her relationship with their daughter, which is interesting. She may give her a batch of issues even worse than her own baggage with her father. Their daughter's confusion is the highlight of the rest of the novelette, and the person she turns into could make a heck of a sequel of Swirsky ever feels like revisiting the family.

  • Sue CCCP
    2019-02-28 21:34

    I reviewed this short story as part of the anthology Robots: The Recent A.I. Full review of that volume at http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.b...Adriana is lonely, but wealthy, so she pays to have the perfect man created for her in the form of the beautiful android, Lucian. As they make a life together she falls in love with him and eventually grants him free will. However, as they raise their adopted daughter, Rose, it becomes clear that he is more emotionally involved with the child than with his wife and she has to give him complete freedom in the hope that he will finally decide to return to her.There were some interesting ideas here, exploring the idea of creating an ideal partner and the problems associated with that. I was surprised to see that Adriana did actually fall in love with her husband, although I can never really imagine a woman being satisfied by a partner that is not as emotional as a real human. I have always thought that this would be a major problem in the bedroom department, where emotional bonding is so important for most women. However, I was more concerned by the fact that Adriana had been abused by her father when she was a child, and yet Lucian had a certain resemblance to her abuser. This made me very uneasy and felt like an unnecessary element that detracted from the basic idea.

  • Margaryta
    2019-03-08 21:39

    For a short story this was incredibly powerful and written with such a beautiful and moving style.I thought all of it was wonderful. The title captures the idea of the story and the cover aids in imagining what kind of character Lucian is. I think the intent was not, perhaps, to necessarily connect or empathize with the characters - each had their downside, such as Rose being whinny and Adriana being out-of-touch with reality, yet that was the point of it. Each character in this story, whether human or not, was seen in their imperfect state, and this helped show the overall concept of the story, that internal struggle and search for who we are and what it means to love, to possess, to connect with those around us. All of this was told in such a limited amount of words, and with details like Adriana's pet bird Fuoco who was so jealous and aggressive, or the beautiful objects, such as roses, which Lucian collected. All of these pieces wove together a puzzle that moved me and drew attention not so much to being nitpicky and dissecting the major actors of this global tragedy, but to listen and judge to the general work itself. Of the many short stories I have read I must say that not a single one has managed to move and amaze me as much as this one. It was a true wonder.

  • Dione Basseri
    2019-03-01 21:33

    A new take on love, knowledge of self, abandonment, and companion robots. A lonely woman purchases a companion robot, and delights as he comes into a sense of self. She comes to see his sentience, and becomes a champion of robot rights, ensuring they all have the freedom to choose their lives. Which is why it hurts to much when he chooses to leave her and their adoptive daughter.An exploration of three kinds of love: romantic, familial, and a complete, selfless love. A full knowledge. Which must only be obtained by letting all ties go and choosing love.The story of the woman and her robot lover is tied in with the reactions of their daughter, as she comes to terms with her "father's" disappearance. Especially heartbreaking is the mother's eventual caving to her child's insistence that she is a robot, reasoning that robots only do what makes a human happy. Something her lover proved quite false, but also something that turns their child from a young person dealing with loss in her own way, into something far less human than her robot parent.A great story, and available as a free audio production from Escape Pod. Definitely go find that.

  • Joe
    2019-03-22 19:53

    A remarkable story by Rachel Swirsky, very deserving of its Hugo Award nomination. The issue she's looking at is, how do robots feel, assuming they do feel, about being incorporated as tools into human society? To use a phrase from her story, “You know what robots do? They change themselves to be whatever humans ask them to be.”Further, are people able to accept these robots, these psuedo-humans, into their world, and ascribe them diminished rights, despite the robotic facsimile of human appearance? In Rachel's story, depicting a survivor of child abuse, these questions are addressed in various forms, through the POV of the robot Lucien, its (his?) owner Adriana, and her daughter Rose. A painful insight into human behaviour emerges.In terms of technical issues, though the narrative flows well, the story is handicapped by its nonlinear timeframe - frequent use of flashbacks can be confusing and disrupt the narrative flow, especially as Lucien attempts to build his knowledge and understanding of the world. Aside from this, the language is rich and evocative, reminiscent of a writer like Margaret Atwood in its aims and usages.

  • Cora
    2019-03-09 17:29

    Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky is a short story (about 32 pages according to my kindle edition) that can be read for free at . It is the story of a young woman who is looking to change her life after her abusive father dies. She decides to purchase a robot for companionship. Eventually she falls in love with the robot and they marry and have a daughter. However, eventually the robot begins to question their love and if he could truly love his family or is it all programing. To find out who he is, he must leave his family. This is a beautifully written story that chronicles the end of a marriage and the meaning of love. Like real life, you can feel sorry for the characters and the situation...wish they chose different, but understand that they couldn't do it differently. The story is more about their relationship and the meaning of love than the often explored story of artificial intelligence developing sentience. It is also an example of a short story that is the perfect length. Although I want to know what the future holds for the characters, I did not feel like I was reading only part of a larger story.

  • Tom Hansen
    2019-03-10 20:36

    Short Story Review: “Eros, Philia, Agape” by Racherl SwirskyI had a tough time with this short story. At it’s core it is a coming of age story about a robot that leaves his wife and daughter to find himself. Most of the story is actually backstory leading you back to the moment when he leaves.We were not told he was a robot until later in the story, which really had me confused for a while. The story introduced the robot then didn’t talk about him for a long time. Consequently I had to flip back and forth to the beginning a couple times to make sure the story was talking about the same character, which is not easy on the Kindle.By the end I really liked the story, and if you are big into relationships, particularly sci-fi related, I’d recommend it, but for me it had a rough start and soured my opinion through to the end. Subsequent reading might improve my rating. That being said, it’s free on Amazon, so get it and enjoy, you have nothing to lose but about an hour of your time.

  • Steve
    2019-03-04 18:42

    Eros, Philia, Agape is a refreshing twist on the human/robot romance genre, mostly because of the nature of the relationship presented. Adriana seeks a "male" robot companion, they live as a married couple, and they adopt and raise a daughter, Rose.It's frightening to me to think about a human child growing up in such circumstances and apparently not understanding the fact that she is completely human even though her father is a robot. We only catch a glimpse of Rose's childhood, but it seems to me that some serious psychological problems could result from such a family relationship.The relationship between Adriana and Lucian, her robot husband, is extremely interesting and thought-provoking. Adriana acquires Lucian, who adapts to her attitudes and desires to become the perfect companion for her, but in the end she gives him free will by allowing him to ignore that programming and become who he wants to be. He turns out to be more human than she might have thought.

  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    2019-03-17 20:23

    Love/Hate?: Love times infinityRating: 5/5Did you finish?: Finished, reread, finished again!One-sentence summary: Poignant break up of a marriage. (Ha, that's my sneaky summary.)Why did you get this book?: Free sample from the Sony eReader storeDo you like the cover?: N/AFirst line from book: Lucian packed his possessions before he left.Review: Oh.My.God. I didn't know what to expect from this short piece of fiction but wow -- what I got just blew me away. In just a brief number of pages (31 on my eReader), Swirsky created a story that touched upon so many themes: marriage, abuse, heartbreak, parenthood, AI, soul ... Her writing is so readable, one just inhales the pages, and then suddenly, I was at the end, very nearly screaming for the story to go on. No wonder this was a Hugo and Locus finalist. So good.

  • Kati
    2019-03-04 17:27

    Where to begin... There wasn't one character I could relate to or empathize with. Not Adriana, not Lucian and definitely, absolutely not the spoiled brat of their kid, Rose. Adriana needed a good shrink. Lucian was... uh, did the author actually want me to sympathize with him? If so, she failed utterly. And Rose, what a brat - but with those two as parents, no wonder. And the ending! I guess the author wanted us to believe in the possibility of a happy ending, what with the "maybe he returned to them and they both cried with joy!" crock of nonsense, but all I saw was Adriana behaving like a doormat.The only positive thing was the gay couple, Ben and Lawrence. I would've preferred a story about them, thank you very much.And this was a finalist for the Hugo Award in 2010? Wow, they must have suffered from a great lack of good entries that year.

  • Katriena Knights
    2019-03-17 17:30

    I'm not sure what I thought about this story, to be honest. It's very well-written, and explores powerful concepts--different types of love, differences between love and feelings of possession, etc. But it's so painful to read, and the characters seem so focused on themselves rather than the people they're affecting, that it was hard to sympathize with the choices they made. Further, the relationships built among the characters don't justify these choices and make it hard to believe they would take these actions knowing the kind of pain they would inflict. Maybe that's part of the point, but I couldn't help feeling completely horrible for the characters who were hurt the most--the ones who didn't understand what was happening and why they were suffering. A well-structured, well-written but, in the end, somewhat pointlessly painful read.

  • Mike
    2019-03-26 21:34

    Not fantastic, sometimes the characters are just hateful and why bother sympathizing with them even if you can intellectually "get" why they're that way. However, it has one of the most interesting ways of describing a robot's thought process that I've read (forgive me if it's not actually original and I'm ignorant of that, but it seems unique), very creative and though it's poetic, it also makes sense. The author has a lesser grasp on what she seems to want to say about love and possession (and these are things that have been said before), but you get the feeling that a breakthrough might be imminent. This is free in most ebook stores and only 50 pages give or take, so why not give it a shot?

  • Kinsey_m
    2019-03-03 22:30

    The story contains a very interesting concept of the plasticity of the brain and assembling a personality out of fragments. However, this is not enough if you don't follow the 3 sacred rules of writing:1) Show, don't tell. If you can't show your very complex concept, it's better to save it until you become a more skilled writer. At this point we'd be looking at a 2 star rating buuuuuuuuuuuut:2)If you are not trying to make your protagonist unlikeable and the reader would like nothing better than to slap her, you are in deep shit.3)NEVER, and I repeat NEVER!!!! use child abuse to romanticize a character. I can't emphasize this enough.

  • Rachael Stein
    2019-03-13 19:44

    Parts of this novelette feel clumsily written (especially the tell-don't-show back story), but as a meditation on our varied concepts of love and possession, it is quite poignant. There's something deeply and genuinely tragic about a robot who becomes "human" enough to experience love, who then loves deeply enough that he wants to express that love in its most genuine form, and who, in the end, must erase the trappings of his own humanity in order to do so. I'm not sure they were expressed as eloquently as they could have been, but the concepts behind Eros, Philia, Agape are compelling, and I have a feeling they will haunt me for some time.

  • Simonfletcher
    2019-03-26 18:32

    I haven't heard of Rachel Swirsky until now, and this story makes me want to read more of her work. The themes of the story are beautifully examined: the the idea of love of an android, the effect of sexual abuse set in the near future planet earth, the problems of an android/human nuclear family, the effect of free will in a robotic mind/heart/soul...Rachel writes with style that carefully controls the speed of the story, in some moments the prose is detailed and observant, in other moment quick and flat.Highly recommended.

  • Jessie Verino
    2019-03-10 20:42

    I picked this up as a free read for my Kindle as the title intrigued me. The story was well written, but unfortunately, did not work for me. A story about a relationship between a human woman and a male robot. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, with the exception of the secondary characters who make a brief appearance. They were flawed, overly & dramatically so, and I simply couldn't find any growth or redeeming qualities in them. Also, there was an abrupt change of POV toward the end which jarred me out of the story.

  • Shira Karp
    2019-03-20 22:51

    I am not usually a fan of short stories. I enjoy a lot of character and world development and don't normally find that this is possible in a short story. This one proved me wrong. It's an extremely introverted tale and the points brought up are very poignant and though provoking. I'm very glad I took a chance on this short story and because of it have read a few more since then. None of them have been as amazing as this one, but some have been veyr good. In short, this story renewed my interest in short stories as a whole.