Thursday, January 17, 2019

The End of His Service!

Let's try a little change of pace around here for a bit with a timeless futuristic robo tale of man and machine, or man vs. machine... uh, are there actually any stories like this that have a happy ending? From the November 1951 issue of Strange Worlds #5, art credits at GCD list 3 different illustrators on this one: Norman Nodel, John Rosenberger (page 3), and Werner Roth (page 4.)


Mestiere said...

Science fiction is really about the present and the past rather than about the future. People imagine ships going to other planets just like actual ships went to other continents. Dystopias are extrapolations of real tyrannies like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. And robots are about slavery.

There is no reason why robots would look human, or speak except to make you feel that you are owning somebody rather than some thing. Think how being rich always means wanting to be special, in the minority. If everybody made the same amount of money, even if it was a million dollars a day, nobody would be rich. You couldn't have your own private gardener, chauffeur, cook, maids, butlers or a pilot and mechanic for your private jet. Because they would all charge the same amount of money you make. They wouldn't be dependent only on you. You couldn't own them. But you can imagine a society where everybody owns robots like chattel. The more human-like they are the more like owning slaves it would feel. You can write stories about slavery that seem less controversial because they wouldn't be directed at a specific group. This one in particular would be about a slave that is punished for thinking for himself.

Grant said...

Like any good story with a robot, this one really makes you feel for X-L, and it only takes a few pages.

It's another little tribute to 2001 that on Page 4, when Jacton said "Open the door," for one second I expected X-L to say "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Brian Barnes said...

I'm not crying, I have burning metal in my eye ...

This is a great tale with some real emotional weight, but there's a couple oddities that sci-fi usually has. For instance, we've added one sci-fi element -- the robot. Everything else is the same! Regular old guns (instead of lasers or whatever), regular houses instead of something more high tech, etc. At least they have the new hi-tech dress material that *really* clings to Mary! :)

The 3 artists (if true) did a relatively good job of blending in together. Mary on page 3 is a stand-out, though.

JMR777 said...

Asimov's Three Laws of robotics would have come in handy in this tale.

Today, in this day in age, we have robots building cars, the Japanese are working on building robots to care for the infirm and elderly, the military are working on robo-soldiers- the future is here like it or not.

Again, Asimov's Three Laws of robotics would come in real handy in today's robotic programming.

glowworm2 said...

This is a very sad story about a robot who knows what it's supposed to do, yet has the courage to stand up for what it knows is wrong and gets punished for it.
If I'm not mistaken, Adam Link, a robot who becomes self-aware from a series of stories written by Eando Binder may have actually had a happy ending in store for him, unlike most of these stories where the robot is misunderstood. Well, the same happens to Adam at first as well, but things start to look up for him eventually.
Both EC Weird Science-Fantasy and Creepy comics adapted some of the stories to their issues--but eventually discontinued them.

Guy Callaway said...

Jacton? More like Jerkton! Poor XL.
There aren't enough plats to equal the pleasure I get from your hard work, Mr.K.