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“Robots: Fact, Fiction, and Prediction”
by Jasia Reichardt (Penguin)

Review by John Gabree

Here is a history, celebration and anticipation of man-made "beings," from early mechanical toys to C3PO and R2-D2 of "Star Wars," from Talus, the brass giant who guarded ancient Crete, to Shakey, the robot constructed by the Stanford Research Institute. Here, also, are discussions of robots as servants, as factory workers, as teachers, as companions and as lovers. According to the author, the Six Million Man and the poker-playing robots of the movies are well within range of the possible.

Reichardt discusses robots (androids, automatons, cyborgs, etc.) as they appear throughout history, in art, in literature, in children's fiction, in films and in comic books. She salutes their achievements in medicine, in war and in industry. She even discusses robot feelings and the issue of their civil rights should they ever achieve consciousness. And she includes an hilarious 2,100-word murder mystery composed in 19 seconds by Univac 1108 in 1973.

The magazine-sized book is illustrated throughout with wonderful pictures: drawings, photographs, movie stills and comic and magazine illustrations of robots real and imagined, past and present. "Robots" goes right to the top of my Christmas list. (1978)

Buy Robots by Jasia Reichardt



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