I'm looking for a short story where a mother raises a robot son along with her human son.

Her human son grows older and more distant from her, while her robot son remains a great child. A fire occurs in their home, and she can only rescue one child. So when the father, her husband, comes home to the burning house, he finds that his wife has rescued the robot son.

Please help me to find out the name of this story.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. Could you clarify when and where you read this story? It might help with tracking it down. Mar 5, 2021 at 16:28
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    what a perfect outer limits or zone this would have been.
    – releseabe
    Mar 5, 2021 at 17:11
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    A bigger twist would have been the human son gets a break and saves himself running out in the nick of time as the father is standing there. Then of course hate the mother even more for leaving him. Mar 5, 2021 at 17:34
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    @MissouriSpartan: I think the robot saving his "brother" is a possibility also.
    – releseabe
    Mar 5, 2021 at 18:43
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    @MissouriSpartan There's a twist ending anyway. :)
    – DavidW
    Mar 5, 2021 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


This is the short story "Kid Brother" by Isaac Asimov which you may have read in the collection Gold.

A (slightly questionable) version of the story can be found here and it was pointed out by @DavidW that you can borrow Gold from the Internet Archive. The plot matches your summary almost exactly.

The parents have a son, Charlie, but are unable to have another child. However, the mother doesn't want Charlie to grow up as an only child and pushes to get a "sibling-robot" for him, which the father reluctantly agrees to. Despite the father's initial hesitation, the robot becomes accepted and integrated into their family but is especially favored by the mother.

One day, while the father is at work, their home "microfusion unit" malfunctions, causing a fire. Rushing home, the father finds the wife sobbing on the lawn and repeating, "I couldn't save them both." He attempts to comfort her by telling her that the insurance will cover another robot and then goes to check on his son, lying nearby and surrounded by a crowd.

Upon inquiring about the state of his son, one of the bystanders says, "Maybe he can be fixed up," and the father sees that the mother saved the robot, not Charlie.

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    This would be a better answer if you included some quotes (in case the questionable source disappears) to demonstrate it's correct. Note it's possible to borrow Gold from the Internet Archive.
    – DavidW
    Mar 5, 2021 at 18:58
  • Thank you so much. Isaac Asimov is really famous in here too. I also thought it was one of his stories, but I only searched "robot" titled series so I missed this one. Thank you.
    – YC N
    Mar 6, 2021 at 8:12
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    @YC N - Please don't forget to upvote the mark the answer as accepted, and upvote it if you haven't already. Each of those actions will reward the person who submitted the answer with reputation, and it also helps with the administration of the site. Mar 7, 2021 at 4:44
  • What makes the version questionable?
    – forest
    Mar 8, 2021 at 0:21
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    @forest - I was thinking more of the site than the actual story text. It seems to only post copyrighted material so I'm not sure about the legality of that version. YMMV
    – CoralSnake
    Mar 8, 2021 at 1:25

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