Thoughtful Thursday: Our favorite robots

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.


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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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18 comments

  1. Murderbot! Does it count?

    Jeeves, now a butler, previously a war robot from the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

  2. I’m going to say Murderbot, too!

  3. Ash from Ridley Scott’s Alien.

  4. Noneofyourbusiness /

    The Chee from Animorphs. The Robot from Lost in Space. The Cylons from the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. R2D2 and C3PO.

  5. John Smith /

    I will say Tik-Tok from the Oz books!

  6. The Distinguished Professor /

    Definitely Isaac Asimov’s robots, like Robbie and especially R. Daneel Olivaw.

  7. Mary Henaghen /

    Marvin has a soft spot in my heart. He is just so……Marvin!

  8. Lady Morar /

    The androids from “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick inspired the Replicants of “Blade Runner”. Of course, there’s Tanith Lee’s “Silver Metal Lover”. In recent TV, we have “Westworld”‘s Hosts and the Synths of “Humans”.

  9. Bishop from Aliens.

  10. Sandy Giden /

    In books I’d go with Mack from The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez. In movies I like R2D2

  11. Sethia /

    Bender from Futurama!

  12. Freya from Charles Stross’s _Saturn’s Children_. (Although I see other people have italicized text, I couldn’t figure out how.)

  13. R. Daneel Olivaw is my favorite

  14. Iko from the Lunar Chronicles is a favorite. She’s so plucky!

  15. Liz H, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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