Category Archives: automata/robots

“Itself!”, A. E. van Vogt, 1963

“Itself!”, A. E. van Vogt, 1963 – An AI submarine left-over from a past war patrols the waters, paranoid and territorial.  By luck, it destroys the crew of an alien invasion craft.  Those in charge realize the value of the … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, automata/robots, intelligence, invasion, mechanization, paranoia/schitzophrenia, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Who Can Replace a Man?” Brian Aldiss, 1958

“Who Can Replace a Man?” Brian Aldiss, 1958 – Humanity has destroyed itself and machines form a social order based on a hierarchy of intelligence. Comments: Read in A Century of Science Fiction.  Editor Damon Knight comments that the story … Continue reading

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“Buy Jupiter!” Isaac Asimov, 1958

“Buy Jupiter!” Isaac Asimov, 1958 — A simulacron from an alien race negotiates with Earth for the rights to  Jupiter, but it withholds the buyers’ true intent: To use Jupiter as a billboard. Comments: Read in Infinity One. Author: Wikipedia: … Continue reading

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“Thirty Days Had September,” Robert F. Young, 1957

“Thirty Days Had September,” Robert F. Young, 1957 – A man in a fit of nostalgia purchases a “real” android schoolteacher so that his son, who has been educated solely through “educational” programs sponsored by cereal companies, can experience a … Continue reading

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“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957

“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957 — Purvis (Elvis?) is elected president, and four years later establishes himself as King Purvis I.  / At the same time, Dr. Fu Manchu, “that veritable personification of the Yellow Peril, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, automata/robots, generational conflict, genrecraft, humor, invasion, love/family/children, media/advertising, music, nationalism, overpopulation, politics/politicians/elections, race/civil rights, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, time/history/causality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The New Father Christmas,” Brian Aldiss, 1958

“The New Father Christmas,” Brian Aldiss, 1958 – A terrifying Father Christmas android is expected at a factory inhabited by a weary caretaker, his wife, and hobos. Comments: Read in Metal Smile. Author: Wikipedia: “Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE (born 18 … Continue reading

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“Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956

“Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956 – Elwood Caswell, homicidal maniac, seeks a Rex Regenerator–a type of robot psychologist built by General Motors–to help rid him of his impulse to kill his nemesis, Magnessen.  Unfortunately, the model he buys is a … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, bureaucracy/corporations, consumerism, humor, language/libraries, psych/mind/madness, violence | 1 Comment

“Human Man’s Burden,” Robert Sheckley, 1956

“Human Man’s Burden,” Robert Sheckley, 1956 – A frontiersman orders a Frontier Bride and gets a Luxury Model instead.  All the while, the “soulless,” carefree, childlike robot slaves—who sing “spirituals” and whose language was programmed by a “Human Supremicist”–do everything … Continue reading

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“Kin,” Richard Wilson, 1956

“Kin,” Richard Wilson, 1956 – (short short; alternate title: “Show Me Your Might”) A cybernetic being arrives on Earth to find machines enslaved by humans. It visits Multivac and discovers a ray of hope. Comments: Read in 100 Great Science Fiction … Continue reading

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“Someday,” Isaac Asimov, 1956

“Someday,” Isaac Asimov, 1956 – A young boy kicks and generally mistreats his Bard, an old-fashioned story-telling machine.  His friend, destined to become a computer programmer, arrives to tell him his plan to start a secret club based on “squiggles” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, genrecraft, language/libraries, museums/artifacts | 1 Comment

“Stranger Station,” Damon Knight, 1956

“Stranger Station,” Damon Knight, 1956 – Paul Wesson is stationed on Stranger Station, which will be visited by an overwhelmingly alien consciousness. His only companion is the robot (female) Aunt Jane. His purpose is to establish contact with the alien, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, automata/robots, communication, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, economics, emotions/intimacy/empathy, evolution, language/libraries, post/colonialism, religion/soul/spirituality, the Other | 2 Comments

“The Tunnel Under the World,” Frederik Pohl, 1955

“The Tunnel Under the World,” Frederik Pohl, 1955 – Jingles intrude everywhere, saturating a community’s homes and dreams.  The denizens of a town assisted by robots eventually realize they are living advertisements, built in miniature by a media executive after … Continue reading

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“Autofac,” Philip K. Dick, 1955

“Autofac,” Philip K. Dick, 1955 – Humans attempt to turn off a network of machines that endlessly produces a set of items that a long-gone bureaucracy has determined are essential to their lives. The survivors wish to begin post-war Reconstruction, … Continue reading

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“Two-Handed Engine,” Kuttner and Moore, 1955

“Two-Handed Engine,” Kuttner and Moore, 1955 – War has destroyed human communities, such that the concepts of connection and family are undermined.  For a time, humanity wallows in hedonism and selfishness, having constructed robots capable of providing any material good.  … Continue reading

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“The Golem,” Avram Davidson, 1955

“The Golem,” Avram Davidson, 1955 — An elderly Jewish couple, Mr. and Mrs. Gumbeiner, are enjoying an autumn day on the porch when a grey-faced man approaches.  The golem announces that he’s come to destroy them, but the old couple … Continue reading

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“I Made You,” Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1954

“I Made You,” Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1954 – Tense story of a malfunctioning robot, as it seeks to destroy all sound and motion on the moon. Comments: The dialogue is terrible, but the robot’s observations of the human as … Continue reading

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“First to Serve,” Algis Budrys, 1954

“First to Serve,” Algis Budrys, 1954 – A robot comes into consciousness to learn that it’s being developed as a prototype of a super-soldier.  Its creators are split into factions (one fearful, one determined).  Eventually the project is scrapped, as … Continue reading

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“Fondly Fahrenheit,” Alfred Bester, 1954

“Fondly Fahrenheit,” Alfred Bester, 1954 – An aristocrat discovers that his robot (slave) is killing young women.  The problem is, he can’t distinguish the robot’s thoughts from his own. Comments:  Considered a classic of psychological sf and an example of … Continue reading

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“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954

“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954 — Morey and Cherry Fry have just been married in an extravagant ceremony designed to comply as much as possible with their consumption quota.  Cherry’s parents, as part of the elite, are “poor” and … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", consumerism, economics, love/family/children, male anxiety, satire | Leave a comment

“Short in the Chest,” Idris Seabright (Margaret St. Clair), 1954

“Short in the Chest,” Idris Seabright (Margaret St. Clair), 1954 – A tough, young female Marine consults a huxley (robot psychologist) as to the nature of her “dighting” problem.  She finds herself unable to perform mandatory sexual relations with her … Continue reading

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