I'm looking for a story that I read a few years ago. I cannot remember if it was a short story in an anthology of other stories or stand-alone book, but here are some details I do remember.

  • Definitely a book. This was not a TV show or movie.
  • The story revolved around a robot/automaton who, in a series of journal entries, explains that he discovered that his race was dying off.
  • The protagonist found through self experimentation that his brain was controlled by wind, and for some reason, there was less wind available.
  • The protagonist experimented on himself to determine that his brain was essentially a system of gears which are turned by the wind.
  • One plot point involved some sort of ritual which was supposed to take place at a certain time, but he noticed that it was slightly off
  • I believe the story ends with the robot dying, but am not sure about this.

This is Exhalation by Ted Chiang. It is available online at Lightspeed Magazine.

The situation is:

The machines exist in an artificial world. There is a reservoir of argon gas underneath the "ground," which is being depleted as they draw upon it and release it aboveground. They are slowing down.

P.S. After posting this I noticed it is a duplicate of this answered question: Searching for a short story about metallic lungs But I don't know how to denote that here.

  • That's it! Such a good story. Thanks for finding it. I'll accept as soon as I can.
    – zz20s
    Jan 14 '19 at 4:38
  • @nebogipfel - FYI: Note that story-id duplicates are only marked as such when both questions are confirmed. So, at the point when you posted your answer, there was no action to take. You can add a comment to your answer that, if it's accepted, then it's a duplicate (with the link to the "master" question). That said, if this question and answer provide more detail than the duplicate, then this should be the master question, and the other story-id located for the same work is the one that should be closed.
    – RDFozz
    Jan 14 '19 at 16:17

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