Back to the Main Page

Robots have long been a staple of pulp science fiction magazines

Robots have been seen in many movies since the day of Maria in "Metropolis" (1927). Filmmakers and artists have given us the pictorial memories of these mechnanical and computerized "servants of man", but there were robots in literature long before the birht of the movies. They have been a staple of art and literature before Jesus walked the earth. Beginning with references to Talos, the bronze giant encountered in the epic poem The Iliad, by Homer, and continuing through Isaac Asimov's landmark book of short stories, "I,Robot", to the popular culture of today, which includes Japanese Manga comics, and graphic novels, as well as the more conventional written novel, robots have served as sympathetic characters in a number of literary works. Because the robot is manufactured, with human beings as his "god", authors can ponder deep philosophical concepts regarding the creator/created anomaly. Most robots yearn to be "human", just as most "humans" yearn to be godlike and immortal.

A Short lisitng of some of the robotic references in literature:


Maidens made of gold, Bronze giant Talos, in The Iliad by Homer (circa 800 BC)
The woman forged out of gold in Finnish myth The Kalevala (prehistoric folklore)
The legend of the Golem, an animated man of clay, mentioned in the Talmud. (16th century)
A mechanical man powered by steam in Edward S. Ellis' Steam Man of the Prairies (1865)
A mechanical man run by electricity in Luis Senarens' Frank Reade and his Electric Man (1885)
The Tin Woodsman andTik Tok and the Tin Woodsman are mechanical men in the L.Frank Baum Oz books Tik-Tok in L. Frank Baum's Oz books (1900-)
A robot chess-player in "Moxon's Master" by Ambrose Bierce (1909)
The "Professor Jameson" series by Neil R. Jones (early 1930s) featured human and alien minds preserved in robot bodies. Reprinted in five Ace paperbacks in the late 1960s: The Planet of the Double Sun, The Sunless World, Space War, Twin Worlds and Doomsday on Ajiat
The Martian robot in The Lost Machine by John Wyndham (1932)
Human cyborgs in Revolt of the Pedestrians by David H. Keller (1932)
Robot surgeon in "Rex" by Harl Vincent (1934)
Helen O'Loy, from the story of the same title by Lester del Rey (1938)
Adam Link of I, Robot by Eando Binder (1938)
Robots discover their "roots" in Robots Return by Robert Moore Williams (1938).
Robot as murder witness in True Confession by F. Orlin Tremaine (1939)
Gnut, in Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates (1940) - (Later made into the classic 1954 SF film The Day the Earth Stood Still)
Robots by Isaac Asimov:
Robbie, Speedy, Cutie, and others, from the stories in I, Robot (1940 - 1950) (not to be confused with the Binder short story of the same title) Issac Asimov's collection of short stories, "I, Robot" is probably the most famous book about robots
L-76, Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Emma-2, Brackenridge, Tony, Lenny, Ez-27 and others, from the stories in The Rest of the Robots 1964
R. Daneel Olivaw, from The Caves of Steel (1954) and subsequent novels
R. Giskard Reventlov, from The Robots of Dawn and subsequent novels
Andrew Martin, from The Bicentennial Man (1976) (later made into a film)
Norby, in a series of books for children co-written with Janet Asimov
The Humanoids, from two novels by Jack Williamson,(1949 and 1980)
Zane Gort, a robot novelist, in the short story The Silver Eggheads by Fritz Leiber , (1959)
Irona, the robot maid of Richie Rich, the main character in a comic book series. (1961)
The Iron Man, in the book by Ted Hughes (1968)
Androids, fully organic in nature -- the products of genetic engineering -- and so human-like that they can only be distinguished by psychological tests; some of them don't even know that they're not human. -- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) by Philip K. Dick
The Electric Grandmother in the short story of the same name, from I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury ,(1969)
Doraemon in a manga Manga such as  Fujiko Fujio's Doraemon are part of the current graphic literature involving robotsby Fujiko Fujio (1969)
The masculinist plot to replace women with perfect looking, obedient robot replicas -- The Stepford Wives (1972) by Ira Levin
HARLIE in When H.A.R.L.I.E. was One by David Gerrold (1972)
Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978–1981) (originally a radio series, then a book trilogy and a TV series)
Chip, the robot teenager in the Not Quite Human series (1985-1986), by Seth McEvoy. Later, Disney made the book into two movies.
Marilyn, named after Marilyn Monroe, in Kazuo Umezu's 1982 manga My name is Shingo
Two extreme examples of robot morality, one perfectly innocent and one perfectly criminal, in Roderick and Tik-Tok (1980, 1983) by John Sladek
The Ore Crusher in Roger Zelazny's short story For a Breath I Tarry.
The Boppers, a race of moon-based robots that achieve independence from humanity, in books Software (1982) and Wetware (1988) by Rudy Rucker.
Jay-Dub and Dee Model in Ken MacLeod's The Stone Canal. (1996)
Dorfl, a golem deliberately described in terms reminiscent of an Asimovian robot, in Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay. (1996)
Moravecs are sentient descendants of probes sent by humans to the Jovian belt, in Dan Simmons' Ilium, (2003)

This list of literary references to robots is completely taken from the Wikpedia Free Internet Encyclopedia. Links within the page are to Wikpedia or Encarta articles detailing the author or book in more detail.

 

 

From the Personal to the Universal ® The real and imagined world of robots is about to come together ® Push a button on the Cultural Blender ®

AllThingsMike ©, ElectricPoetry © 1999-2005 MikeVideo Enterprises and Michael F. Nyiri. All original essays, poetry, and art are copyrighted, and cannot be used without permission. The author is pleased to see his words on the pages distributed by others, but only if permission is granted. All popular cultural and news images are taken from the internet in general, and no copyright enfringement is implied by the use of these images. Some images used in composites might be copyright, but all attempts to identify and credit all images is ongoing. If you see words or images that are not credited correctly, please email the webmaster

Robots is part of the AllThingsMike Webhub Artwork for the logo and the navigation bar is by Sorayama and is copyrighted material.

| AllThingsMike | Electric Poetry | Cultural Blender | Rosemead High Virtual Pantherama | ElectricMovies | The Betty Boop Pages | Komedy Komedy Komedy |Yes, But Is It Art? Gallery | MikeVideo | Travel| Photographs | Lovesearch | |ComputerBS | Philosophy | News Page | HearSay.com | E-mail