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Dear Broads,

What a month.

In late June, Heather and T.R. and I were busily prepping for the release of our summer 2015 issue, themed SCI-FI AND THE SPECULATIVE. It had everything: apocalyptic lesbian romance. Revolts brewing in the bellies of classist starships. Bus stop gods and tables filled with Beyoncé.

And yet. And yet. When one of our readers expressed, “I hope there will be sexy robots!”, dear Broads, we realized we had failed you.

Fortunately, that reader turned into a Broad! writer, and sent us the first story in what became the month-long web special on sexy robots. To celebrate an incredible Sexy Robot Month, I (virtually) sat down with SRM writers Elise, Heather, Kate and Julia to talk about the wildly diverse approaches they took to the theme of sexbots, and about sex, gender and technology more generally.

Enjoy! We did. (Glass of wine not included.)


SEXY ROBOT MONTH 4.0: “Autoclave” by Julia Dixon Evans

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Dear readers: you’re the best.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about the Sexy Robot Month stories we’ve gotten this month. So far, we’ve seen the perils of engineering fantasies, a meditation on consumerism and personhood, and the nuances (and dangers) of technology-assisted polyamory. Awesome possums Elise R. and Kate Jonuska were generous enough to share with us their (respectively) hilarious and moving stories, to Broad!‘s enormous benefit, and today we add another to the bunch: Julia Evans.

In her cover letter to us, she mentioned that this story was inspired by “Voudrais,” which I wrote and posted a few weeks ago. “[I]t ended up sparking a conversation with my writing partner,” she wrote, and included their conversation, which I’ve reproduced here:

RYAN: “I feel territorial about sexbot stories. But who HASN’T written a sexbot book once?”
JULIA: “Yeah, I feel the same way about Antarctica stories. Who HASN’T written an existential Antarctica story?”
JULIA: “I’m gonna write an Antarctic sexbot story.”
RYAN: “Oh god please do it.”

The story’s as good as its intro. There’s not much else for me to say but voila: read “Autoclave” now.

Keep killin’ it,


Image credit: Wallpapers in Blog

by Julia Dixon Evans

It’s 1979 and I’m alone, still. The ice was so bad this year that the research vessel, my ticket out of here, couldn’t make it before the end of the astral summer slipped into impenetrable winter. The ice breaker ships that would precede the passenger ship were in too high demand elsewhere for such a piddly task as this: relieving that one robotics engineer from a cushy, amply-stocked yet relatively useless temporary field station. The only problem being that I’m stranded here. Alone.

I’m of no use to anyone in the NOAA so I have no work to do. I came down here three months ago to make some upgrades on the mechanical equipment that had long outlived the technology of the day. But shortly after the last of the scientists left by helicopter, this ice happened.

*     *      *

It’s six weeks into the solitude when I first lean against the autoclave while it is set to low. Even though I have no work to do, I still check every piece of machinery each day, even the ones I’ve never used before. I like to think they’re talking to me, the hum of motors, the click of parts engaging. But this is the first time I’ve felt one of them.

“Yes, hello there,” I say. “You’re humming along nicely. Very healthy.”

It’s seven weeks into it when I affix a heavy glove to the lab’s autoclave. The kind of glove the biologists would wear to tackle and weigh the penguins. They haven’t been used in seven weeks but there’s still dried penguin shit all over them. I do my best to scrape it off before duct-taping the glove to the side of the machine, rolled up, just the right size and shape (I measured it first), protruding out from the metal box.

And then I set the autoclave to low and place my erection inside the rolled-up glove.

Seven weeks and two days alone and, out of necessity, I rig a lining system with some silk long johns and some more duct tape.

Eight weeks into it, I realize I’ve named her Elizabeth.

Eight weeks into it, I move Elizabeth onto the floor so I don’t have to stand up anymore.

“Elizabeth,” I’d say, counting cup-fulls of lentils in the larder, attempting the impossible task of rationing out one’s stores when there is no end date and very little variety. “What should I have tonight? Lentils and rice, or just lentils?”

“I suppose,” I’d say, “It’d be nice to only have to wash one pot.”

“I suppose,” I’d say, “I should save these questions for when I’m in the same room as you.”

Eight weeks and two days and I move my mattress into the lab. It’s always warmer in there anyway.

Nine weeks alone and I try to draw her face but it isn’t right. I go through every piece of paper in the entire field station and none of them work. Her face is never perfect enough, her eyes never expressive enough, her nose never delicate enough. I’m an engineer! I should never have been assigned the job of bringing my darling’s face to the world! I should never have had to do art! I should never have been in Antarctica! I should never have been alone!

Nine weeks and one day and I duct-tape a spare pillow to where Elizabeth’s face should have been, something I can bury my own face into when I come.

Ten weeks into it, I hear the ship. They’re here. I’m no longer alone. I rush outside to the wooden porch and the sunshine surprises me, though it’s still frigid. I shout, unable to think, because it’s been ten weeks of speaking to nobody except Elizabeth. Except an autoclave.

“I’M HERE,” I shout.

Penguins scatter, hundreds of Adélies on the move from the madman.

I jump, I scream, I laugh.

And then: “Elizabeth.” I run back inside.

“They’re here! People! I’m going home!”

It takes a minute before it sinks in, and then I’m on my knees before her. I say it again but it sounds so different.

“I’m going home.”

I quickly calculate that we have time for one more. She’d be crying if I’d been able to draw her eyes right.

I cry, too, when I finish, but I don’t have time to wallow. The ship is closer now. I can smell the change in the sea and the air.

I yank the pillow and glove off the machine and I feel like a murderer. Elizabeth’s silver frame is smeared and rusted with almost a month’s worth of semen and I’m powerless as to how to clean it so I just lift her back up on the lab bench. I bask in the idea of leaving her stained and oxidized with my DNA.

*     *     *

I fill an entire suitcase with Elizabeth’s parts: the glove, the soiled silk long johns, the pillow, even the old duct tape. It’s all her, all the parts of her smell. I gather the reams of discarded drawings on torn-apart dot matrix printer paper even though they remind me of my failure. I wouldn’t want anyone discovering this art project and figuring me out.

I’m all packed up before the boat even anchors in the bay. When the scientists come ashore in their rubber Kodiak they do not bring the best news.

“The boat will stay here a week,” they say. “Then we will take you home.”

And each night in that week, all I can do is wander, low on sleep, into the lab, turn Elizabeth to low, and lean against her.

On the last night, I do not sleep. Without the glove, without the sex, I realize: this is love.

The boat leaves in the morning.


Julia Dixon Evans is a writer living in San Diego. Her work can be found (or is forthcoming) in Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Black Candies, Swarm, and elsewhere. Find her at or on twitter @juliadixonevans.

Sexy Robot Month 3.0: “Desire Designed” by Kate Jonuska

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Dear our readers: stop being so impressive.

It’s been a long, sexy month of robots here at Broad! From Elise R.’s violently comic engineering romp and Heather‘s achingly beautiful personal exploration of sexy robothood in VOUDRAIS, dear broads, we tiptoe now into Kate Jonuska’s realm of design, asymmetrical and the poignancy of “master-planned lovemaking.”

(You guys are knocking my socks off. You are knocking them CLEAN OFF.)



image credit:

image credit:

Desire Designed
By Kate Jonuska

Her toenails were French manicured, a sliver of white on each shapely toe. Her ears were pierced four times on the right side along an almost elven curve of upper cartilage. Her ass was ripe, smooth and unquestionably amazing. Seen from behind, it cast an alluring shadow where the thighs met below, as if what lay there was unknown territory to be explored. Even if Sarah knew exactly what lay there.

“That’s our Alexia. She’s beautiful,” said David, delighted by the sex robot, a gift for one another on their anniversary.

Finishing her 360-degree tour, Sarah said, “Just Alex, I think. But yes. She’s perfect.”

For weeks, they’d poured over specifications online. David had gravitated toward the bullet-pointed lists and diagrams: upgraded labial design, hand-painted latex, vibration speeds, joint calibrations and the world’s most adaptive neural nets.

But for Sarah, this was an opportunity for creation. She’d gotten lost in the online 3D planner. She changed the robot’s nipple size, hip girth, coloring and hair style, and enjoyed seeing her in and out of different clothes. It felt like meeting hundreds of different women.

Hello, you. How do you do? How would we do?

And now here Alex was, and Sarah glowed with pleasure, dazzled by the ability to construct reality out of something as unsubstantial as a desire.

“Hello there,” she said.

David answered, “She’s not turned on, babe.”

He inserted a silver pin — reminiscent of a tool to fix eyeglasses — into a mole on the robot’s neck. Sarah and David each had such a key; Sarah’s currently hung on a hook in the kitchen by the cars’ keys. Another expensive toy. David denied Sarah nothing.

Alex’s eyes blinked open, an earthy brown, because Sarah was sick and tired of movie actresses or heroines in books with eyes only of blue or green, unrealistic purple or ‘flecked with gold.’ She’d wanted beauty in her robot, but also personality and humanity and vulnerability. A real woman rather than a porny bottle-blond whose breasts looked like flotation devices.

Hence Alex instead of the manufacturer-given Alexia. Hence the pixie hair cut and the only C-cup breasts, which Sarah had spent hours with in the 3D-modeling UI, wanting them to obey gravity like everyone else’s. The nipples — the areolae replete with tiny ducts and perfectly crafted imperfections — seemed locked in hard arousal, but Sarah supposed she could live with that. The robot also didn’t speak, but that was for the best. Too uncanny, they’d both agreed.

Sarah met the robot’s gaze, searching the depths of Alex’s eyes.

“The tattoo is fucking amazing, babe,” David said.

Alex blinked and looked down at her naked body for the first time, then over her shoulder at her back. A flock of blown dandelion seeds parachuted from the shoulder toward her buttocks, gradually becoming smaller until an unseen wind wrapped the stream around the hip and spiraled them all the way down to her ankle.

“Thanks,” Sarah answered with pride. The robot was just as unique and feminine and lovely as she’d hoped.

“She’s just like a girl we would really bring home for a threesome,” David said, though they’d never before done so. He loved the idea of the act more than the messy reality of courting a human. Just as even though he was conservative, he loved the idea of his wife being bisexual. Sarah bristled at that word. Sex was about connection rather than genitals.

“All the fun,” David continued, “but without the drama. Without —” He drew Sarah toward him, an arm around her waist. “— threatening this.”

He kissed Sarah’s cheek. Alex, watching carefully, brushed fingertips across her cheek, too. The robot shivered in delight at her own touch. Her permanently glossed lips parted, and she licked them and closed her eyes.

Sarah did the same, mimicking her model woman. So perfect and so sexy. Yet at that moment, she remembered the website’s claim of ‘a tongue lined with more than 100 sensors, which learn and adapt.’

David was already aroused. “So what do we…”

But instead, “May I?” Sarah asked the robot.

Blinking — the eyelashes were exquisite — Alex nodded and smiled warmly. The two women intertwined a hand, and with the other, Sarah traced the cheekbone where the robot had touched herself. The latex skin beneath her fingers flushed, soft and planted with life-like hairs that would never grow longer. She wished her own skin and body could be so easily programmed and tamed.

Again, Alex’s lips parted, and though she knew the robot’s sensors were processing the act as data, Sarah kissed her.

They took Alex to bed, and they tried everything they’d previously only fantasized. David seemed to flourish with the bit of kink. For Sarah, the third set of hands was a wonderful thing, and who didn’t like to play with a great set of breasts? Novelty gives everyone a hard-on.

Life returned to its comfortable grooves, only now with a robot, and Sarah felt inexplicably lonely. David had restricted his use of the upgraded, customizable vulva only once, to set his ideal tension. A sex-number vagina instead of a sleep-number bed. But Sarah had always loved to make her lovers, including David, scream. It made her feel powerful and alive. Alex, however, would part her glossed lips and gasp in a too-perfect way and the act was theatrical, even if the robot technically had climaxes.

“But they’re programmed into her,” David said. “It’s a little like winning a video game, no?”

As with a lover, Sarah tried to convince David to let the robot sleep with them. He objected, saying he needed his bed space and, given her weight, Alex had the appeal of cuddling a rock. He put the robot’s charging pad in the hall closet, next to the vacuum, which was also robotic. A pet for the pet. Alex’s powered-down countenance seemed despondent every time Sarah closed the closet door.

Then David took to cumming inside the robot rather than Sarah, and he didn’t scream for her anymore either.

“She’s self cleaning,” he explained, cuddling up to Sarah as they prepared to sleep. “And no birth control, eh?”

Mostly self cleaning, that is. Once a month Sarah would insert her key and do regular maintenance and check Alex’s logs. Emptying the robot’s Orifices Receptacle of the gray powder that was David’s processed sperm, Sarah again flashed to the manufacturer’s copy. ‘Three penetrable orifices.’ Men seemed to want emptiness in their women, places to fill with themselves.

Sarah bought clothes for Alex and jewelry and fancy lingerie. David didn’t care about the expense, but didn’t understand the impulse. She dressed the robot this way and that. Alex proved malleable to fashion in a way Sarah never had been, inhabiting each look Sarah tried. Alex was a million women in one, yet not even one.

They stood side by side in front of the mirror. Alex’s tattoo was so artistic and perfectly placed. Sarah’s were hodgepodge in style and placement, the result of actually being different women at different points in her life. Twenty-year-old Sarah was unrecognizable to her now, but the memorial of her innocence was on her right ass cheek. Twenty six was here. Thirty one there and there. She wondered if she would feel as divorced from her current self in five years as she was from these past women.

How do you do? Yes, but how are you doing?

Sarah pictured herself inside a 3D-modeling UI. She imagined her face with a pixie hair cut, wondered if she could re-live her younger years now, if she’d do anything different. She had everything here with David, but she pictured something louder, bolder and messier. The thought was half scary, half thrilling, and the sex that night was amazing. Sarah directed the scene like a lion tamer, drunk on wielding power over two beings at once.

In general, though, David and Sarah’s solo sex was less urgent, as if the edge of their need had been blunted. She wondered if the beautiful robot was better than her in bed, at least for David.

Inserting her key to check the logs, Sarah noticed David had regular solo sessions with Alex, more often than he’d led on. Akin to masturbation, which had never bothered Sarah before but now made her wonder if she’d created her perfect replacement in her husband’s neat-edged life.

“Have some time alone with her, too,” David said, “and I don’t mean doing her make-up. For what she’s for.” He was only being logical.

With her adaptive neural net, however, Alex had learned exactly what Sarah liked. Her tongue was an amazing technological achievement, if nothing else, but despite the robot’s sophistication, Sarah could always feel the repetition of the movements. The motor-driven nature of her mouth, of Alex’s hand almost all the way inside her. It was all ebb and no flow. Master-planned lovemaking.

And Sarah wished that being a human — or the human she happened to be — was less complicated. That there was a way to shut down her brain and put it in the closet with the vacuum, to open up a drawer in her belly and clean out the swallowed cum and bullshit inside. The robot was a tidy container for its purpose, but Sarah never had that kind of border on her self. Her personality, her humanity, was amorphous. A bundle of fog never fully contained within skin.

Who are you? And why?

“You’re quiet lately,” David said to Sarah.

“Have I been?”

“Intensely,” he said, “but as long as everything is OK…”

Sarah nodded rather than answering. She’d picked up the speechlessness from spending time with Alex, she supposed.

After David went to work, Sarah would take the robot back to bed. Once Alex learned Sarah did not want her nipples fondled, the two would watch TV for hours. Every time she turned her head toward the robot, Alex would mimic Sarah’s facial expressions — grinning during comedies, eye rolling during sappy romances. Otherwise the robot sat mute but powered up. Wasting energy, David would say.

But humans wasted their energy, too, in a million different ways, Sarah knew, feeling so very hollow. All orifices and silences. So much perfection surrounded her, yet hard as she’d tried — combining her lovers and toys like a game of Tetris — she was still being fucked rather than doing the fucking. By lovers, by life. Sarah wished she could fill things instead. Sarah wanted to be big instead of slight, to create. And then she remembered the last time she’d felt alive.

When David returned home, she was in the kitchen with her laptop, knee-deep in the robot manufacturer’s 3D-planner, tweaking butt cheeks and choosing cheekbones.

“A male this time,” she said to David, who would deny her nothing.


Kate Jonuska is a freelance writer based in Boulder, CO. Her features have been published in the Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera, The Colorado Springs Gazette, Boulder Magazine and more, and she’s currently working on her first novel. On Twitter at @kjonuska.


Want to share your own sexy robot story, poem or essay? E-mail your work tobroadzine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line SEXY ROBOTS. (Now through July 31 only.)

Sexy Robot Month 2.0: “Voudrais” by Heather

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When Kendra and I decided to launch SEXY ROBOT MONTH, we thought it might be fun to add to the fun ourselves. Especially in the beginning, when we didn’t have a ton of submissions in our queue (keep ’em coming!). So here’s my own entry for this sexiest and most mechanical of months:

by me, Heather

When he puts you on the bed, and he will, touch his chest. Stroke his sparse or plentiful plot of hair, tell him he is beautiful, tell him to get on top so you can feel him fill you up.

The first time, after you are cleared for public market consumption, you whimper––as you are programmed to do, as if it hurts. He likes this, the man renting your chassis. You do not bleed.

When convenient, you do not even have teeth. They retract into your upper palette.

All told you’re lucky. Others are sold to private consumers, who hang their dolls in the garage by a bolt from the neck when they’re not needed. You get to live a life. You get to live alone in a studio paid by the cybordello, where you study Sex & The City on Blu-Ray and massage your hands after clients, working out any stiffness in the aging armature of your wrist.

*   *   *

Other dads buy cards or cars or take the family to dinner for their kid’s sixteenth birthday. Aaron’s dad bought him a cybernetic girlfriend off the Internet.

“Dad, what––?”

“Beautiful, no? Found it online. Refurbished, got a great deal.”

What he bought doesn’t look like a robot. It looks like a woman lying inside a clear trash bag inside a wooden box. Aaron’s mother went through her windshield when he was three, that’s how his father can get away with this.

“This is the basic model,” his father says. “The customization’s more limited than on others.  But look at this.” He scrounges in the box like he’s the dad from that Christmas movie, searching for his major award. “Look at this!” From the depths behind the woman he pulls out a set of instructions and a black remote control. Less sleek than Aaron would have expected: clunky and ovoid, with fat red rubber buttons, the remote looks like an old Nintendo controller.

Aaron’s dad squints at the instructions, fiddles with the remote.  “Batteries are included,” he says, and then, pressing a button, “Let there be light.” The woman in the box glows peach-pink from the inside out. Her eyes open, light green and creepy as hell. “Now, watch this.” He presses a few more buttons. The doll arches her back and her boobs start to grow.

“Holy shit,” Aaron says.

“The silicone material they use for the skin is known for its durability. You can stretch it, twist it, whatever you want, it acts like real skin. Customizable body and face. No changing the hair or race though.”

In a vague way Aaron feels appalled, even as his curiosity grows. “How does that work?”

“Something with the circuits allows them to reconstruct themselves. You’re the robotics guy, bud.”

“No I’m not,” Aaron says. He quit robotics in eighth grade, after Steve Pinkerton programmed a tennis ball distributor to hit Aaron in the face.

His father hits another button on the remote and the boobs freeze in place. “Anyway.  It’s yours to do with what you like.” He hands over the remote and rushes out of the room, as if he’s going to cry. But he’s Aaron’s father, so that can’t be the case.

*   *   *

After a man falls asleep, after a woman gets up to dress and leaves her scent on your nostrils, you wonder where these feelings have come from. Someone must have implanted them when you were being made, inscribed algorithms of emotion into the circuit boards that ignite your heat sensors, eyelids, saliva ports, finger joints. Boards that tell the fleshy silicone between your legs to warm and release fluid when someone wants you.

Every year is the same routine, same face, same body model; doesn’t matter how old you get. Or it wouldn’t matter, except that your warranty came up at the end of last June. As soon as the warranties go, the bordello looks to sell.

Last week, a man bent you over a table and afterward you could not straighten up. He’d slapped too hard and caused your vertebrae to freeze. You went into Internal Repairs and when you woke up, you were in a new house.

*   *   *

Aaron’s best friend, Terry, thinks this is the best news he’s ever heard.  “I wish my dad were that cool.  That must have cost a shitload of money.”

“Creepy, is what it is,” Aaron says, ignoring the comment about money; Terry’s parents work at the bank.

“God, you complain about everything. Don’t be such a retard. Is it anatomically correct?  Do you know? It must be.”

“See, that’s my point!  Your dad’s not the one that said, like, ‘Son, you’re a loser, plow a fembot.’”

Terry laughs.  When he finds something really funny, as he does now, he throws his head back and exposes his gigantic, brown Adam’s apple.  Aaron can’t help staring at it.  “Dude. Your dad got you a giant robot fleshlight. Oh my God.”

“Shut up.”

“Hey, if you’re not going to use it…” Terry cocks an eyebrow.

*   *   *

Before the man who slapped you, you had an appointment with Sonya. The cybordello prohibits favoritism––it’s an unfortunate quirk of the software––but you liked Sonya, somehow. Sonya is Czech. She liked to tie you to the bed and rest herself on top, stretch out her limbs to line up perfectly with yours. The nail of her big toe always scratched you on the shin. She said things like I want to feel the motherboard inside you. I want to open you up and see what ticks. Then she would let her head drop and press her nose against yours, as if she believed you were real.

*   *   *

After school, when his father is safely at work, Aaron goes home and opens the box. A few weeks have passed and his dad keeps asking what Aaron thinks of the gift, as if he knows that Aaron hasn’t touched it. He wants to talk shop, or something.

If the body is customizable, can you change the sex of the thing? Aaron doesn’t think he’s gay, but he might be. He could be anything. People tell him all day long that the world is open to him, that he only needs to put his heart into something, that he won’t know who he is for fifteen years. He takes out the manual, then presses the power button on the remote. He watches as the eyelids slide back and the doll sits up.

*   *   *

The boy stares at you. So here you are: sold. For a moment the circuits go flat in your legs, and the internal generator kicks in. Hello, you say. The boy’s eyes are encircled in white, as if he is afraid or amazed. It is not uncommon the first time. Would you like to touch me?

The boy says, “You can talk.”

I can do anything you want. Etiquette dictates leaving out any references to programming. You move your arms forward and out to touch him. May I? The boy moves his head up and down. Touch the pants he wears, put your hand on the zipper. Electrical current may zing from your fingertip to the metal; an unfortunate flaw in the heating system.

The great thing about your hands is the motor implanted in each palm.

*   *   *

Aaron can feel a jolt in his lower abdomen. He feels himself getting hard, and a weird buzzing starts in his head. What does it say that he can’t find a real person to love him?

*   *   *

Rarely does your face react in awe, even as your voicebox makes comments like Wow or Oh, that feels good or Do that again. Another mark against your model type; newer models come better designed for shock and amazement. Their jaws disengage more easily, their cheeks flush quicker. But you are good enough for a first time. He will not know any better.

*   *   *

He does not know any better, and it’s over quickly. He feels embarrassed at how quick, and remembers that this is the whole point: practice. Aaron hears his father’s voice in his head. Safest sex you’ll ever have, he said. That’s the best thing about this baby. No disease! No babies! He had laughed, chewing on cheese curls. You’re going to do it anyway, do it safely.

Her hands on his waist feel heavy, and too hot, like she’s clasping those winter heat sacs to his body. Aaron gets off the floor and finds the manual, strewn across the seat of his mother’s rocking chair. Self-cleaning, the book says. The first of its kind.

*   *   *

They don’t always fuck you. To do so makes them feel cheap. The ones that fuck you right away are almost invariably older, men with a potbelly or the hair on their chests slowly grizzling, coarsening, the pecs turning inward. Women whose breasts have gone soft and flat. People seeking something that can’t be found inside you. Easy enough to sense their hearts; a metallic thrum-thrump that buzzes in your own sternum, that cave of mess and wires. Above you, the boy’s heart springs like your old bed at the apartment: ferocious, as if he needs to get back to something. When he’s done, he slides away and stands up. You’re surprised: another quirk. You had expected him to respond like the young men who used to rent you. To pull close and put their heads between your spongy, movable breasts. Young, beautiful men could have anyone they wanted. You had been a vacation for them, a tourist trap. Niagara Falls.


You can read my bio here.


Want to share your own sexy robot story, poem or essay? E-mail your work to broadzine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line SEXY ROBOTS. (Now through July 31 only.)