"One could imagine a very ascetic sort of life ... where the body is ignored. This is something I've played with in my books, where people hate to be reminded sometimes that they have bodies, they find it very slow and tedious."
How to retrieve a small amount of material from a person held captive in a small cottage?
Interesting science-fictional predecessors to this idea include the mining worm robot from Love Among the Robots (1946) by Emmett McDowell and the mechanical cobra from Lord of Light (1967) by Roger Zelazny.
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