“Goodlife,” Fred Saberhagen, 1963 – Suspense story in which a man and woman are captured by a Berserker, a machine designed by ancients to kill all life it encounters. Inside, they find Goodlife, a boy raised by the machine. He has “no one to imitate” and knows his parents only through images in a film theater.
Comments: Read in Great Tales of SF. Themes: Alienation, mechanization, “machine” values/thought structures, loss of affect/“blank face,” images, memory (mediated by film images of the past), and family.
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Saberhagen): “The Berserker stories tell about an ongoing war between humanity and the Berserkers. Saberhagen’s Berserkers are self-replicating war machines programmed with one main objective: Destroy all life. After destroying both their creators and the opposing side in a long-ago galactic war, the self-replicating Berserkers have continued to wipe out all forms of life that they encounter in the Milky Way, which leads to the cooperation and coordination of most of the sentient races in major attempts to defeat them. Humankind, although relatively new to the galactic scene, is a major player because of its aggressive nature. The series spans a large range of both time and space, and so has less plot continuity than Saberhagen’s other series.”
Author: Wikipedia: “Fred Thomas Saberhagen (May 18, 1930 – June 29, 2007) was an American science fiction and fantasy author most famous for his Berserker series of science fiction short stories and SF novels.”