R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (Paperback)
Before reading this, I had known for a long time that this Czech play was the source of the word "robot". I also knew that it's referenced in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse TV show, but that's about all I knew. Now that I've read it, though, I notice it's influence all over the place, at least in the world of science fiction! And while the gender dynamics and portrayals are rather symptomatic of this play's 1920 origin, the "science" and the plot are surprisingly modern (or perhaps: timeless?). The story explores humanity and inhumanity (both biologically and philosophically) in ways that are instantly recognizable. I think this should be required reading for all sci-fi fans.
-- Joe— From Joe M. Staff Picks
A visionary work of science fiction that introduced the word "robot" Written in 1920, premiered in Prague in 1921, and first performed in New York in 1922--garnered worldwide acclaim for its author and popularized the word robot. Mass-produced as efficient laborers to serve man, Capek's Robots are an android product--they remember everything but think of nothing new. But the Utopian life they provide ultimately lacks meaning, and the humans they serve stop reproducing. When the Robots revolt, killing all but one of their masters, they must strain to learn the secret of self-duplication. It is not until two Robots fall in love and are christened "Adam" and "Eve" by the last surviving human that Nature emerges triumphant. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Karel Capek (1890-1938) was the leading Czech playwright, novelist, and columnist between the wars. He is best known for R. U. R. and his novel, War with the Newts. Ivan Klima is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and essayist whose work was long suppressed under Communism.