Here we take a look at the structure of the short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss.


The title of the short story is intriguing, as it suggests that the story will deal with toys with a special characteristic, but readers do not know what the toys are or why they last all summer.

The text refers to super-toys directly, as Henry explains that these synthetic beings do not possess intelligence: “ ‘There have been mechanicals on the market with mini-computers for brains – plastic things without life, super-toys’ ” (ll. 68-69). These super-toys are actually robots. 

However, while David has existed for three years (l. 17) and is a super-toy, he is clearly ‘intelligent’ in some way. David is different from both the new synthetic serving-man and from Teddy, who are shown to have limited intelligence and little independence of thought. David is aware of emotions such as love and craves them although he does not understand them.

The title is also ironic. The ending, which shows the Swintons talking about David as if he were a simple machine, reinforces the idea that, to them, he was simply a temporary toy that could ease Monica’s anxiety at not having a human baby (ll. 268-270). Their dialogue suggests that they are likely to dispose of David once they have ...

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