This short story was in a collection by one author.

It concerns one human in bad condition - hungry, and ill - finding a farm where all the work is being done by machines of varying intelligence. The machines are designed for one task each only and speak in a logical fashion to each other. He is passed up the chain of machines to decide what is to be done with this intruder into their ordered system. It becomes clear that the machines have not seen a human for a long time and they probably have all died.

The last sentence is that the most intelligent machine calls the man "Master" and asks for orders.

  • Welcome to the site. You have a good start here. If you could take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit in any more details, that would be great. Every little bit helps us. – amflare Mar 19 '18 at 16:58
  • This question has been closed as a Duplicate. Please understand that this does not mean that your question was bad in any way. It's just how we link answers together so that they're more easily searchable in the future. – FuzzyBoots Mar 19 '18 at 20:07
  • Although... in retrospect... do we want to establish the dupe the other way? This is the superior answer, I think. – FuzzyBoots Mar 19 '18 at 20:08

"Who Can Replace a Man?", a short story by Brian W. Aldiss, also the answer to the old question Short story about robots on a farm after losing communications, go out to rule the world. It was first published in Infinity Science Fiction, June 1958, available at the Internet Archive. You may have read it in one of Aldiss's collections such as The Canopy of Time or Galaxies Like Grains of Sand or Who Can Replace a Man?.

The ending:

By early light, the dell looked desolate and cold. From the caves on the far slope, only one man had so far emerged. He was an abject figure. He was small and wizened, with ribs sticking out like a skeleton's. He was practically naked, and shivering. As the big machines bore slowly down on him, the man was standing with his back to them, crouching beside the stream.

When he swung suddenly to face them as they loomed over him, they saw that his countenance was ravaged by starvation.

"Get me food," he croaked.

"Yes, Master," said the machines. "Immediately!"

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  • That's it Spot on Brilliant – Gordon Bott Mar 19 '18 at 17:29
  • Hi Thanks for identifying the story. I've just looked up the whole story line and it's not at all as I remember it! Still it was 40 years ago I last read it Cheers – Gordon Bott Mar 19 '18 at 17:49
  • Ninja'd! Congrats. – Organic Marble Mar 19 '18 at 20:05

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