When it comes to robots, it’s hard not to think the film and television incarnations have it all over their print brethren. Gort, Robby, “The Robot” (Lost in Space couldn’t be bothered to name theirs) Huey/Dewey/Louie, R2D2, Wall-E, BB-8. Ask someone to imagine a robot and it’s more than likely that one of those iconic silhouettes will pop into their heads, as opposed to a favorite from a book or short story.

Well, we speak for the trees! Err, robots! The poor, forgotten print ones that is. From good old Tik-Tok of Ozma of Oz to Lester Del Rey’s lovable titular Runaway Robot, from the annoying Speedy of Asimov’s “Runaround” — the story that introduced the famous Three Laws of Robotics —, to the hysterically depressing Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And let’s not neglect that sneaky robotic sub-group, the androids like Asimov’s R Daneel Olivaw (probably along with Marvin my own personal favorite) or Phillip K. Dick’s Roy Batty.

So what about you, readers? Who are your favorite literary robots/androids? And in “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mode, why not toss in your favorite cinematic/TV one as well. Some day our robot overlords will get a good laugh as they sift through the records of our past days of glory…

One commenter wins a book from our stacks.


  • Bill Capossere

    BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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