What will Space Cabby do with a passenger who doesn’t know who he is, where he wants to go, or where he came from? And on top of that, “he” is a robot! Brother, is this a puzzle!
It starts out with our hero lamenting his rotten luck.
No sooner has he said that, however, when he glances back and notices that he HAS a fare! (This happens to him a lot. You’d think he notice or at least have some indicator that flashes when someone else is in his cab.) The fellow hopped in on Earth and hasn’t spoken up because he has no idea where he wants to go! And not only that, he’s got no money to pay for where he’s been or any place he might want to go! As you can imagine, this gets SC hotter than any number of celestial objects known for their perceived heat in the mid-50s. He gives the forgetful freeloader a jab in the chest only to discover…
Our protagonist is nothing if not pragmatic, so his first impulse is to take Roy Batty there to a robot scrap dealer and see what he can get for him. But he decides that’s not the right thing to do…because there may be a reward for returning him to his owner! Maybe you should have read Space Huckleberry Finn in school, Space Cabby!
In an attempt to jog the dizzy droid’s memory, SC flies him around to various places where robots are
enslaved employed, to see if he’s escaped wandered off from one of them. None of them involve robots doing anything other than horrible, horrible tasks, culminating in this scene:
Now, obviously, if this is where the robot came from, he’d immediately pipe up and say, “Oh, yes! Please let me go peel that guy a grape!” He doesn’t, so clearly this isn’t where he came from.
Space Cabby is getting nowhere, and he’s having to pay for the robot’s expensive “atomic engine oil” meals! But then he gets an idea! You’ve all heard of the legendary “ghost planet” inhabited solely by robots, right? Space Cabby decides to see if the legends are true and seeks it out. One panel later, he finds it and lands there.
The amnesiac automaton doesn’t really recognize the place, but suggests that maybe a bit of a walkabout will clear his mind. Space Cabby does some sightseeing of his own and before long robots approach our hero and poke him, wondering what kind of metal he’s made of. He explains that he’s only human…of flesh and blood he’s made…but the robots think this must be some kind of mistake. They haul him off to the Master Robot, which suits him fine, since he figures the Master Robot will be able to understand reason.
Boy is he wrong!
They take him to the defective robot repair center, where they make plans to rip out his inefficient, defective innards and replace them with genuine Robot World parts. He’s thrown in a cell to await his “repairs” on the morrow. How is he going to get out of this one? But wait! At the window! His mindwiped metal pal shows up and bends the bars for him! They escape to the cab while the absent-minded android declares that he’s pretty sure he never lived here, so they need to burn space rubber out of there. (Not pictured: angry robot husband who got off work early.)
Space Cabby is feeling a little more gracious towards his baffled bionic buddy, what with his life being saved and all, but they’re still no closer to finding out where–hey! What’s that sign?
Well what do you know! His home was Earth — coincidentally, the same planet where he got in the cab in the first place! What are the odds?
Space Cabby returns the now-reminded robot back to his keepers at the Robot Fair, who also give him 2000 space credits for his trouble! Sweet! Space Cabby asks what sort of jobs a robot like that might do.
Ha ha! Space Cabby hates his miserable life!
Next week: The Robinson Crusoe of Space!
“The Robot Without a World!”
Mystery in Space #29 (December-January 1956)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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