R.u.r

by Karel Capek

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Book 5 of 28 in the Best Robot Science Fiction
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"R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots) (Czech: "Rossumovi univerzální roboti") is a science fiction play originally written in the Czech language. It premiered in 1921 and is noted for introducing the term "robot" to the English language. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called "robots." Unlike the modern usage of the term, these creatures are closer to the modern idea of androids or even clones, as they can be mistaken for humans and can think for themselves. They seem happy to work for humans, although that changes and a hostile robot rebellion leads to the extinction of the human race. After finishing the manuscript, The author realized that he had created a modern version of the Jewish Golem legend. He later took a different approach to the same theme in War with the Newts, in which non-humans become a servant class in human society. R.U.R is dark but not without hope and was successful in its day in both Europe and the United States. Translation by David Wyllie.

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