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"My father was a master mechanic; I grew up with a screwdriver in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other."
- Frank Herbert

Proselytizing Robot  
  A robotic preacher; designed for use where believers are unwelcome.  

The driver lurched the Caddy ahead. Then, before Paige could begin to grasp what was happening, the car stopped, the door next to the steering wheel was wrenched open, and four spidery, many-fingered arms plucked the driver neatly from his seat and deposited him on his knees on the asphalt outside.

"SHAME! SHAME!" the popai-robot thundered. "YOUR SINS HAVE FOUND YOU OUT! REPENT, AND FIND FORGIVENESS!"

A thin glass globe of some gas, evidently a narcosynthetic, broke beside the car, and not only the unfortunate chauffeur but also the part of the crowd which had begun to collect around him - mostly women, of course - began to weep convulsively.

Paige, astonished to find himself choking with source-less, maudlin self-pity, flung himself out of the Caddy in search of a nose to break. But there were no Believers in sight. The members of the order, all of whom were charged with spreading the good word by whatever means seemed good to them, had learned decades ago that their proselytizing was often resented, and had substituted technlogy for personal salesemanship wherever possible.

Their machines, too, had been forced to learn. The point-of-purchase robot retreated as Paige bore down upon it. The thing had been conditioned against allowing itself to be broken.

From Cities in Flight, by James Blish.
Published by Avon in 1957
Additional resources -

Compare to the padre booth from Galactic Pot-Healer (1960) by Philip K. Dick and the robot pope from Good News From the Vatican (1971) by Robert Silverberg.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Cities in Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by James Blish
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  Tech news articles related to works by James Blish

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