The Cybernetic Tea Shop
The Cybernetic Tea Shop is a very quiet and sweet little novella which tells the love story of Clara, a highly-skilled technician, and Sal, a female robot, who has a tea shop in Seattle.
Clara has always been on the move, not staying long in one place, her wanderlust bringing her to new places nearly every year. Her latest move to Seattle and her love for tea lead her right into Sal’s tea shop that she’s been opening in remembrance of her former owner for nearly 300 years by now.
Robots are no longer built, haven’t been for a long, long time, but have been replaced by Raises. While robots have emotions and develop and are in many aspects like humans, Raises only get a certain programming. Robots are feared and disliked, nearly extinct, and often viewed as objects. Not so by Clara who is fascinated and one of the few people who treats Sal as a person.
The author takes her time to introduce both characters before they meet and their friendship develops naturally and plausibly into something more.
This story is neither an epic love story nor a mind-blowing science fiction, but it’s a great choice when you’re looking for something that is easy and lovable without being boring. The characters and setting are likeable and interesting and as every book is right for a certain time, this one might just be the right one when you’re in the mood for something charming.
Readers explicitly looking for asexual characters shouldn’t pass this one up.