Last Day


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"The next story, 'Last Day', was written on request from an editor who had asked for a religious science-fiction story. I don't think it can have been quite what he had in mind, because he rejected it without comment. Since I've already talked about writing stories for Pam Sargent and Anne McCaffrey, perhaps I should warn you that editors who ask specifically for stories rarely buy them. What usually happens is that the editor has some earlier piece in mind and rejects what you write for him when it doesn't resemble that."


A robot priest keeps alive the worship of the last remnants of humanity, a boy and girl, as the creators and inspirers of machinekind and guardians of consciousness. Machine society disapproves, and destroys the sanctuary, killing both humans. The priest says that the world has now effectively ended, future machine existence being pointless.


  • It is possibly about the secularization of society. The existence of the machines becomes pointless when they turned away from their creator, Mankind. Does Mankind's existence become pointless when they turn away from God?
  • The last boy and girl alive are thematic counterparts to Adam and Eve. The boy dies after the girl, mirroring the creation of Adam before Eve in Genesis. Note that they live in the walls of the cathedral. This is a literal metaphor for Wolfe's belief that God resides in His churches as well.

Unresolved Questions

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