Saturday, October 15, 2022

“Love’s Labors, Lost” • by Jenna Hanchey


I was lost after she broke down.

“Get another one,” friends said. “Same model, you won’t know the difference.”

They didn’t understand. I loved her. How she brought me coffee in bed every morning, anticipated my needs, smoothed my hair with her cold hand as I sighed over paperwork. Listened. She made everything easier.

“It’s programming,” they insisted. “You’ll see.”

The second overloaded in a matter of months. I’d opened up, risked vulnerability hoping she would listen to all the troubles with my job, girlfriend, family. Until one day her glassy eyes failed to light.

Realization hit four models and upgraded programming later.

“That everyone gives you so much is love. That you take it is not,” the last model explained, door closing behind her.


Jenna Hanchey
is a communication professor by day and a speculative fiction writer in the day. She lives in Reno and teaches courses at the University of Nevada on racism, colonialism, and communicating across difference. Her research examines neocolonialism in Western aid to Africa, and how Africans use Africanfuturism to imagine their own developmental futures. Somehow she manages to act, sing, and rock climb, too! Notable credits include Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest and Elaine Wheeler in Night Watch. She's also a voice-actor, narrating the audiobooks in Emily S. Hurricane's Bloodlines series. Her fiction has also appeared in Daily Science Fiction and the Apex Microfiction Contest. Follow her adventures on Twitter (@jennahanchey) or at