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April 16, 2017 AT 12:30 am

Roundup of Robots from Literary History | @roboweek #NationalRoboticsWeek #RoboWeek

“BEEP BEEP BOOP BOOKS”

This list is by no means comprehensive but is an absolutely great primer-list for anyone interested in various works of literature that just so happen to feature robots. From Čapek’s seminal play wherein words robotnik and robota first appeared, to classic novels by Stanislaw Lem & Philip K. Dick and contemporary work by Kathryn Davis – and more!

Isaac Asimov, one of the world’s greatest science fiction writers, died 25 years ago today. I likely don’t have to tell you this, but one of Asimov’s most enduring legacies is his creation of the Three Laws of Robotics—not to mention his host of attendant robot-related literature. So, to honor the anniversary of his death, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the greatest robots in literature.

You may or may not know that robots actually originated in literature—the word was first popularized in a 1920 play by Czech playwright Karel Čapek (who was, incidentally, on Hitler’s most-wanted list). There were examples of mechanized humanoids and magically autonomous figures in literature before this play, of course, and much depends on how loose you are with your definition of “robot,” but this was the first time the word was used to describe an artificially constructed human-like tool. Happily, robots have rather caught on. In fact, some day soon they may replace their creators—writers, I mean—entirely. Below, find a few of my favorite examples of robot-related literature through the years—and since this is by necessity an incomplete list, feel free to add your own favorite robo-books in the comments.

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