The Long Slow Flight of The Ashbot

The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot / Colin West McDonald

“Sometimes when I think about time, I start to lose track of it.”

Previously, we told you that somewhere out there – in a desert – there is a robot walking across a scalding, desolate wasteland in search of its creator. The piece I’m referencing is director Colin West McDonald’s film: We Were Not Made for This World. Colin has done it again; this time we follow not a robot in the desert, but a robot floating through the vacuum of space.

Part III: The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot is about a small ash-collecting robot who – after drifting trillions of light years beyond outer space – witnesses the collapse (and rebirth) of the universe. This has been adapted from Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot by award-winning cartoonist Joel Priddy found in the anthology Project: Telstar

This is the final film in his series The Robot Scriptures. With this trilogy he aims to create narrative films which discuss “the origin, evolution, and exodus of artificial intelligence”.  Colin has ended his cinematic triptych elegantly; the Ashbot’s journey through the ‘universe’ is representative of the exodus of all intelligent creatures – human or not.

“I can watch the migration of galaxies. I saw two galaxies collide once and the inhabitants probably never noticed.

The Ashbot’s journey is the passing of a silent, sleeping, and indifferent God. The ashbot is omnipresent; it watches silently as galaxies collide and civilizations rise and fall – all the while not a single being in the universe knows that they are being watched. Racism. Sexism. Classism. Suffering. Inequality. All of these things are completely inconsequential the ashbot as it spins through the Universe. As far as the people on these planets are concerned, they may have an idea the ashbot exists – they may even believe that there is some greater being watching them – but they have no way to prove the robot’s existence. All of Colin’s robot’s a throughout The Robot Scriptures are having some sort of existential crises: Where do I come from? Who created me? What is the universe really? Each crisis is something humans across the world have at some point in their lives; in fact – the robots crises represent worries that we have across our lifetimes and the robots are merely facets of our the human journey through life. Whatever meaning there is to be gleaned from The Robot Scriptures, I would like you to pause and briefly consider the amazing effort that Colin put into this film. From set design to building the actual robots – this is a film of love and craftsmanship that we aren’t treated to regularly. Check out some of the production stills below and be sure to pay a visit to each of the contributing artists that helped make Colin’s robotic dreams a reality.

Ashbot Production Stills


  • Direction: Colin West McDonald – website | twitter
  • Based on “The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot by award-winning cartoonist Joel Priddy
  • Ashbot Voice: William Knight
  • Additional Foley Artist: Felix Blume
  • Graphic Design: Jeff Brush
  • Production Assistance: Tina Matthews, Megan Wollerton
  • Thank you: Jonathan Matthews, Peter Brown, Cailyn Driscoll
  • Learn more about The Robot Scriptures here

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Fred McCoy

Fred McCoy

I live in the now, darlings. I live in a permanent #selfie. I stare only outwards, because I am a man of outwards thoughts. Twitter / Google+ / Pinterest