“Progeny” November 1954
Ed Doyle gets back from Proxima Centauri just in time to see the new baby boy to whom his wife has just given birth. Doyle does not seem at home in LA and seems to have forgotten how different it is from Prox. There are very many robots, including the doctor who delivered his son. Doctor 2g-Y Bish and Doyle’s wife Janet are shocked when Ed wishes to hold the baby. It is not done. Children have no contact with parents, thus neuroses and other psychological problems are thought to be eliminated. When children reach the age of nine, the field in which they will excel is chosen for them. Doyle returns to see his son Peter on his ninth birthday, just as he has started his specialized study in biochemistry. It is a cold world of hyper-specialization in which the supreme rationality of the governing robots leaves no room for human emotion or desire. Doyle hates this and wants his son Peter to have a chance to escape it. Doyle discusses this with his son, but Peter will have none of it. Doyle leaves and Peter discusses the meeting with Dr. Bish. Peter found his father too emotional and noticed a distinct odor about him, like the animals in the biology lab. The robot doctor has noticed this as well. Peter seems to have more in common with the robots than with the humans of the previous generations.
- We Can Remember It for You Wholesale: And Other Classic Stories* by Philip K. Dick