Future Tense Fiction

Can a Pandemic Story Have a Happy Ending?

In the March episode of Future Tense Fiction, Annalee Newitz discusses their short story “When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis.”


Episode Notes

On this month’s episode of Future Tense Fiction, host Maddie Stone talks to Annalee Newitz about “When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis.” Annalee’s short story follows a disease-fighting robot—and its companions, both human and crow—on a quest to track an outbreak and develop a vaccine before it’s too late. The story was published in December 2018, but now, three years after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, it offers a look at how public health responses could better reflect the needs of the communities they serve. Plus, Annalee shares how they learned to speak crow language.

Guest: Annalee Newitz, author of The Terraformers, The Future of Another Timeline, and Autonomous.

Story read by Gin Hammond

Podcast production by Tiara Darnell


About the Show

Future Tense Fiction presents imaginative storytelling and conversation about how technology and science will shape the world of tomorrow. All episodes


  • Maddie Stone is a scientist journalist who runs the email newsletter the Science of Fiction. She’s also the former science editor of the technology website Gizmodo and the founding editor of Earther, Gizmodo’s climate- and environment-focused vertical. Stone has written for several publications including National Geographic, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Grist, and Vice.