Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? (story)

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Sheckley, Robert. "Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?" Playboy Aug. 1969. Coll. Can You Feel Anything . . ., q.v. under Anthologies. Rpt. A Science Fiction Argosy. Damon Knight, ed. New York: Simon, 1972. See Contento, Index, for other rpts.

Middle-class housewife fantasizes the ideal gift of "an orange-and-red pinball machine . . . big enough so I could get inside all curled up"; she receives instead ROM—who turns out to be a conscious vacuum cleaner who loves her (Can You Feel Anything, [S. F.] Book Club edn. 4). ROM's "death-marked love" (to quote the Prolog of Shakespeare's Rom.) ends fatally for him (sic) because the housewife is more machine than he. Briefly discussed by T. Dunn on RS's "Short Fiction . . ." in Survey of Science Fiction Literature, q.v. under Reference; see under Literary Criticism, R. Erlich's "Trapped in the Bureaucratic Pinball Machine."