The July/August issue of the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction depicts the scene of destruction and death that colossal cyclopean robots have wreaked. The first short story by Cassandra Khaw begins with the treaty from a war between the U.S.A. and the U.K.. A war in which robots played an integral role. In a line of foreshadowing the author writes:
…no one would remember the colour of that irradiated sky as anything but an omen of a Saint Martin’s summer.
A Saint Martin’s summer is the surprisingly warm days that happen at the end of Autumn just before Winter comes. One could see it as a respite from the cold until inevitably it returns with Winter. And so does war.
Harold works for the American Embassy while negotiations from the British site are led by the assertive and formidable Lieutenant General of Her Majesty’s Army, Henrietta. Both dislikeable characters are regularly meeting to discuss the interests of their countries in a society surrounded by robots, ostensibly serving humans. Robots are given hats and mustaches to seem less…deadly, and even corgis. Humans have emancipated the robots, taken away all motivation and purpose to exist and they replaced these with jobs, work and corgis.
But, it turns out that corgis were expensive and superfluous…