I read this story in an anthology in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

I don't remember the name of the anthology (that will be for a future question) but do remember it also had the first chapter of the "Stainless Steel Rat" as a stand alone short story if that helps, I'm pretty sure that Harry Harrison did not write the story I'm asking about here.

The story is set in the future, I think on another planet. The protagonist is a man who lives alone in a compound and has no contact with other humans - I think the population is low and they are spread out. He is attended to by various robots.

One detail I remember is he plays tennis with a robot and does something to slow it down so he will be able to win more often. I'm not certain but this might have been tightening its wheels.

I think the main point of the story was him arranging and having a meeting with a woman, I think to procreate. I don't remember details of this meeting (although I don't think there was anything explicit). But I do remember it ended after the meeting when she tried to contact him (maybe by videophone) and he was incredulous that she wanted to talk at a time when he didn't want to, reinforcing the view of his self centered and all needs met by robots lifestyle.

I read it in English.

Also if you can name the anthology and save me another question that would be super.

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    I don't recognize the story, but the original Stainless Steel Rat story only appears in one anthology that isfdb knows about. Take a look and see if any of these stories look familiar: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?29172 The anthology had the very generic name "Science Fiction Stories". Feb 20, 2019 at 16:15
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    If the anthology was all novel excerpts, perhaps it contained part of Isaac Asimov's The Robots of Dawn or The Naked Sun.
    – Spencer
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:17
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    @OrganicMarble - Thanks! That is definitely the anthology I was after and the specific story is "Manners of the Age" by H. B. FYFE. You can read it here - gutenberg.org/files/32764/32764-h/32764-h.htm If you want to post it as an answer I'd be glad to accept. You've saved me a lot of work with other potential questions! Feb 20, 2019 at 16:27
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    Thanks, I will. I just found the story in Galaxy magazine myself. Posting. Feb 20, 2019 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


It's "Manners of the Age" by H. B. Fyfe. The story is available online here or here.

It starts

The red tennis robot scooted desperately across the court, its four wide-set wheels squealing.

The anthology mentioned in the question is the generically named "Science Fiction Stories".


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