Maria is an adaptation of a short story by the same name, written in 2007 by Andrew Bean and published in Avalon Literary Magazine.
The story is set in a not very distant future where robotics have become relatively common, but not well accepted. Most androids are deliberately made to not closely resemble humans; past attempts to create human-like androids have run into the "uncanny valley" problem, resulting in business failure. All androids are made to follow Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, but many people still find contact with them to be disconcerting. There is low-level but widespread fear of robots, which is exploited by some political and religious figures.
Other things have changed as well: the world has reached so-called "peak oil" so gasoline powered cars are becoming a thing of the past, while public transportation, particularly trains, have made a comeback. With petroleum occupying a shrinking role in the global economy, governments which were previously dependent on oil production either revamped their economies or faced revolution, with far-reaching effects on world politics.
William, an English professor in his mid 30's, lives in a small corner of this world, concerned mostly with his own loneliness and lack of direction in life. His career no longer satisfies him, and he can no longer remember the things that used to excite him. One day his uncle Rick, a businessman with a checkered history, comes to him with a strange offer to help test a new type of android. William doesn't think much from the arrangement, but when the android arrives, she begins to change his life in ways he never expected, and he has to come to terms with his own desires from life.
Maria is a story about doubt, love, and the things that feed them both.
Last Updated: September 27, 2011