Bryce Munson lives a miserable life. The generic paperbacks of the automata offer him no pleasure. Unable to find enjoyment in the neat categories of robotic fiction sold in the bookstations, Bryce scribbles his own stories, but there seems to be no one left in his wasting world who is interested in reading words that are not produced by the publishing world's machines.

Yet a new hope visits Bryce after his desperate effort to destroy a writing robot fails to spark the rebellion he desires. A beautiful and dark woman teaches Bryce how to become a keeper of the automata, and how his life might find the purpose it requires in the intricate work involved in maintaining the writing machines. As a keeper, Bryce finds a fellowship of writers. And in short time, he shares a love with the woman who offered him meaning within a repair shop.

Too much of Bryce, however, still worries for the world. Too much of his pride still resents how his words must be subservient to those imagined within artificial intelligences. Thus Bryce forms a plan to finally spark the rebellion he hopes will save his world, and he puts everything on the line to topple the automata.

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