The most interesting thing to me about this story is the introduction Zelazny wrote:
Zelazny has written elsewhere that he believes that a writer should know more about a story than is explicitly stated in the body of the text, and I could not agree more. That last line in that introduction is what sticks with me. Among fans of the Lord of the Rings, the meme has sprung up on the internet "Why didn't they have the Eagles fly the Ring into Mordor?" And the fans kick it over and go back and forth looking to explain it, but I've always been content with the explanation that it just never occurred to anybody to do it that way. Other genre authors tend to have characters that infallibly calculate the optimal course of action, but there is something in Zelazny's writing that lets me believe that his characters live in a real world, and things happened as they happened because his characters made the choices they did, and had they chosen differently, their stories would have unfolded in a complete different direction.
Every time I read the story, I think of Futurama. It's vintage Zelazny, a neat concept and some beautiful passages.
The neat concept:
At will, I could cut the circuit that connected me with Central Control, and be a free 'bot, and master of my own movements. I liked to visit the cemeteries, because they were quiet and different from the maddening stamp- stamp of the presses and the clanking of the crowds; I liked to look at the green and red and yellow and blue things that grew about the graves. And I did not fear these places, for that circuit, too, was defective. So when I was discovered they removed my vite-box and threw me on the junk heap.
But the next day I was gone, and their fear was great.
I no longer possess a self-contained power unit, but the freak coils within my chest act as storage batteries. They require frequent recharging, however, and there is only one way to do that.
The werebot is the most frightful legend whispered among the gleaming steel towers, when the night wind sighs with its burden of fears out of the past, from days when non-metal beings walked the earth. The half-lifes, the preyers upon order, still cry darkness within the vite-box of every 'bot.
That would have made it a good story. What makes it a great story is that the robot vampire is friends with the last human vampire.
The beautiful passages:
His husky voice weakened.
"He sleeps a scant three hundred paces from here, bleaching and dry. His is the great marble tomb by the gate... Please gather roses tomorrow and place them upon it."
Then they hurry back toward their towers of steel, of plastic. I gather up what remains of Fritz and carry him down to his box. The bones are brittle and silent.