The Twilight Zone: The Lonely (1 of 2)

Work Title: The Twilight Zone: The Lonely (1 of 2)
Medium: TV Episode
Episode Title: The Lonely
Year: 1959
Writer(s): Rod Serling
"Original" Writer: Yes Own work?: No


(copied from "Witness if you will a dungeon, made out of mountains, salt flats and sand that stretch to infinity. The dungeon has an inmate: James A. Corry. And this is his residence: a metal shack. An old touring car that squats in the sun and goes nowhere - for there is nowhere to go. For the record let it be known that James A. Corry is a convicted criminal placed in solitary confinement. Confinement in this case stretches as far as the eye can see, because this particular dungeon is on an asteroid nine million miles from the Earth. Now witness if you will a man's mind and body shrivelling in the sun, a man dying of loneliness." Allenby, the captain of a supply ship, takes pity on Corry, and leaves him Alicia, a robot that looks and sounds like a woman. Corry is repelled by the robot, but eventually falls in love with her. Allenby returns one day and tells Corry he's been pardoned, and they've come to get him. Corry can only take fifteen pounds of gear, and Alicia weighs more than that. Corry refuse to leave without her, so Allenby pulls a gun and shoots Alicia in the face, revealing a mass of wires. Allenby tells Corry, "All you're leaving behind is loneliness." Stunned, Corry replies, "I must remember that. I must remember to keep that in mind." "On a microscopic piece of sand that floats through space is a fragment of a man's life. Left to rust is the place he lived in and the machines he used. Without use, they will disintegrate from the wind and the sand and the years that act upon them; all of Mr. Corry's machines - including the one made in his image, kept alive by love, but now obsolete... in the Twilight Zone."

Era/Year of Portrayal: distant_future

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:

A desert on an asteroid far away from Earth. There's nothing more than a tin shed in which the convict lives.


  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: "Alicia" or "the robot"
  • Description of the technology: Alicia is a robot built to look like a woman, sent to the prisoner in solitary confinement to keep him company. She is portrayed by an actress, and looks, moves and sounds like a human female up to the moment that the Captain shoots her and the circuitry behind her face is revealed.
  • Nature of task or activity: Day to day activities, companionship; they play checkers, look at the stars.
  • Performance of the Technology: The robot moves, looks and sounds just like a human female. She is friendly and attentive to Corry, providing companionship to him as intended. She only breaks down or shows any sign of being a machine after the captain shoots her. Her voice "winds down", repeating Corry's name, until she stops moving.
  • Description of creator(s): The creator of Alicia is not identified. The captain tells Corry he must not reveal to anyone that he has brought this "gift" to Corry. Her origin is a mystery.
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): To provide Corry with companionship, as he is clearly on the verge of madness after serving 4 years of a 50-year term in solitary confinement.
  • Description of users of technology: He's a convicted murderer, perhaps 40 years old, sentenced to live alone on a desert asteroid.
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: social_presence
  • Description of presence experience: At first, Corry rejects Alicia outright; he knows she is a machine, and he angrily resents the captain for bringing her to him. Later he falls in love with her, and wants to bring her back to earth with him when the captain delivers news of his pardon. After the captain shoots her and he sees the wires behind her face, he seems shocked and uncertain as how to feel.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: He knows she is a machine throughout, and acknowledges this fact in his diary entries. Yet he falls in love with her after 11 months, and says he is no longer lonely. He only seems to come back to the fact that she's a machine after the captain shoots her.
  • Valence of experience: Corry experiences his interaction with Alicia the same way he would a love affair with a woman. He experiences anger and guilt and pain. Enjoyable at times, painful at others.
  • Specific responses: When he first "unpacks" Alicia, he is angry at the fact that she looks and acts so human. He wonders why they couldn't have built her out of metal and wires so she might look like a machine, so her face wouldn't be a "lie." After he's fallen in love with her, when the captain first tells him he must leave Alicia behind on the asteroid, he yells "you leave her behind, that's murder!"
Long-term consequences:

He will clearly have difficulty forgetting her and the time they spent together, though he saw her robot "workings" in the end.


Coder name: Tina Peterson
Coder email:
Coder affiliation: Temple University