The setting is during or after the fall of social order, somewhere in England. An old man is holed up on an estate, his only company a robot butler and other robotic assistants. The house is invaded by a gang of hoodlums, possibly a motorcycle gang. The robots and the man work together to poison or murder the brigands.

Published some time during the late 1970s, possibly the very early 1980s (1982 or earlier), the story appeared in a large format (not digest-sized) magazine and was accompanied by an illustration of the robot, which had a Union jack on its torso.


This sounds a lot like Asimov's "Sally."

From Wikipedia:

"Sally" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the May–June 1953 issue of Fantastic and later appeared in the Asimov collections Nightfall and Other Stories (1969) and The Complete Robot (1982).

In this story, Jake, an elderly man, lives alone on a farm with a bunch of old cars (with positronic brains) which he takes good care of. One of his cars is named Sally. One night, a business man and his henchmen invade and kidnap Jake with the intention of stealing all the cars. The robots work together to take on the hoodlums.

You can read it here.

  • 2
    No poison in that one, but it might still match. Interesting aspect of the story, Asimov wasn't fond of it because he felt that it fell into the "killer robots" genre, which he tried to avert because he felt it embodied primitive fear of science. – FuzzyBoots Feb 19 '15 at 17:37
  • 1
    This does not match at all with the remembered illustration, but I could also see an illustrator, told only "it's a story about a robot defending his master" drawing a humanoid robot instead. – FuzzyBoots Feb 19 '15 at 18:05
  • @SeanDuggan Yup, and also, if it was in a magazine the remembered picture could have been from another story. – Gruzzles Feb 19 '15 at 18:38
  • 1
    Thanks, but it's not "Sally." Years later and I am still looking. – user14631 Aug 20 '17 at 5:12

FOUND IT! After years of searching and sifting through old SF magazines from the 70s...

"Sir Richard's Robots," by Felix Gotschalk.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.