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The Rise of the Machines
C.J. Carter-Stephenson

In the beginning

The eyes are dark.

But darkness takes flight

At activation.

The CPU’s purr

As the robot awakes

Calls to mind

A contented cat.

The boot up begins

With scrolling code—

Helpful data to IT sages

But murky, mysterious

To the common user.

The words are usurped

By corporate branding,

The gentle ripple

Of a trademark sound bite—

Fanfare to be for the

Rise of the machines.


A trilling symphony

Shatters the silence

Of an ill-kept, wet,

Windswept spaceport.

Stalactite fingers

Slide into his coat,

Fumbling, finding

His communicator.

As he takes it out,

Shadows take flight

For on the exterior

Is a pulsing light.

He flips it open

And the caller speaks.

He carries his friends

In this box of wonders,

Distinct melodies

Assigned to each

Covert themes for the

Rise of the machines.

C.J. Carter-Stephenson is a British writer who was born in the county of Essex and currently lives on the Isle of Wight. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Southampton, has been a Writers of the Future finalist, and has had three books published. Other publication credits include stories and/or poems in Aesthetica, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Speculative North, Möbius, Writers Muse, Youth Imagination, Dark Horizons, The 'Fifth Di... and Illumen. He is also the narrator of Back of the Bookshelf, a monthly podcast of classic genre fiction. Find him online at

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