Probably in Asimov's or DAW World's Best.

The story is about a guy with tech implants trying to invent a zero-gravity blender. One of his female co-workers takes his job 'cause he can’t afford any more upgrades (doesn’t want them anyway).

I recall it was a 3 speed blender ready for debut that day, but speed 3 didn't work. So instead of fixing the problem, and blowing the debut, he made them simply remove the speed 3 button and honor the deadline?

  • A blender like for drinks? Jun 14, 2018 at 0:23
  • 1
    @OrganicMarble Given the mention of speeds, probably this kind.
    – JAB
    Jun 14, 2018 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


It's only ever been published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, April 1999, but I'm pretty sure you're describing "The Company Man" by Kent Johnson.

A guy with tech implants

The protagonist is Dean Plummer, and he's wired, implanted and gene-modified.

Before he was even conceived, Dean's parents made the difficult and expensive decision to have him genetically and neurologically enhanced. [...]

Improved neurotransmitters were introduced, along with a network of organic microfiliments connected to a parallel biochip interface. Nanotechnology was used to alter the structure of his developing nervous system, allowing access to areas of the brain that went unused in base humans. A neural shunt was installed in his tiny skull, his future connection to a world of supercomputers, communications satellites and the VRNet.

Trying to invent a zero-gravity blender

Plummer is the director of marketing for a conglomerate named Martin-Matsuura, developing consumer products for commercial sale; he has previously delivered a zero-g toaster and a vacuum cleaner.

"Instead of using rotating blades for mixing as in current blender designs-which don't work well in zero-g, by the way, because there's no gravity to pull the liquid into contact with the blades-our Sonic Blender uses ultrasonic sound waves for thorough blending no matter how the liquid is oriented in the blending chamber. [...]"

Speed 3 didn't work

"The seals failed again," Innes said grimly. "I dunno why, but as soon as we get the prototype up here in zero-g and run it on high speed for just a few seconds, the seals start oozing like crazy..."

He made them simply remove the speed 3 button

Close; instead of removing a button it's just rewired so it makes more noise on normal speed without actually running at high speed.

"That was Erin's idea," Innes said sheepishly. "She had me rewire the high speed switch into the normal speed circuit. Then we installed a piezo beeper that just made it sound like the blender was running faster."

One of his female co-workers takes his job

"I hear you've got some other news for me."

"You must be referring to Ms. Barton-Higgins..."

"Yeah, I hear she's getting my job."

Virgo frowned with mock sincerity. "Regrettably, we felt a change in management styles was in order. Nothing against you personally, of course, but Ms. Barton-Higgins has... outperformed you of late."

He can't afford any more upgrades

Not quite; he does want to be upgraded so he can keep his job, he's just been deemed obsolete.

"What about that upgrade you promised me? That's all I need, then things'll be like the old days, you'll see."

"I'm afraid that's the problem," Virgo said. "Our engineers have determined that an upgrade wouldn't do you much good. It seems your circuit architecture has become hopelessly outdated."

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