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Updated: August 08, 2023

Early 1900s:

The "Metal Men" automata designed by a Thomas Edison-like scientist in Gustave Le Rouge's La Conspiration des Milliardaires ( 1899–1900 ) Tik-Tok in L. Frank Baum's Oz books, premiering in Ozma of Oz ( 1907 ), and in the movie Return to Oz, largely based on Ozma of Oz A robot chess-player in Moxon's Master by Ambrose Bierce ( first published in the San Francisco Examiner on Aug. 16, 1899 )

In Gaston Leroux's La Poupée Sanglante ( The Bloody Doll ) and La Machine a Assassiner ( The Murdering Machine ), the lead character, Benedict Masson, is wrongly accused of murder and guillotined. His brain is later attached to an automaton created by scientist Jacques Cotentin, and Masson goes on to track and punish those who caused his death.


R.U.R. ( Rossum's Universal Robots ) ( 1921 ), by Karel Capek – credited with coining the term "robot". In its original Czech, "robota" means forced labour, and is derived from "rab", meaning "slave." R.U.R. depicts the first elaborate depiction of a machine take-over. Capek's robots can also be seen as the first androids: they are in fact organic. Le Singe ( The Monkey ) ( 1925 ), by Maurice Renard and Albert Jean, imagined the creation of artificial lifeforms through the process of "radiogenesis", a sort of human electrocopying or cloning process. The Metal Giants ( 1926 ), by Edmond Hamilton, in which a computer brain who runs on atomic power creates an army of 300-foot-tall robots. Metropolis ( 1927 ), by Thea von Harbou as novel, by Fritz Lang as film, character Maria and her robot double. Automata ( 1929 ), by S. Fowler Wright, about machines doing the humans' jobs before wiping them out.


The "Professor Jameson" series by Neil R. Jones ( early 1930s ) featured human and alien minds preserved in robot bodies. It was reprinted in five Ace paperbacks in the late 1960s: The Planet of the Double Sun, The Sunless World, Space War, Twin Worlds and Doomsday on Ajiat. Zat the Martian robot, protagonist of John Wyndham's short story "The Lost Machine" ( 1932 ) Human cyborgs in Revolt of the Pedestrians by David H. Keller ( 1932 ) Robot surgeon in "Rex" by Harl Vincent (1934) "Helen O'Loy" from the story of the same title by Lester del Rey ( 1938 ) Adam Link of I, Robot by Eando Binder ( 1938 ) Robots discover their "roots" in Robots Return by Robert Moore Williams ( 1938 ). Robot as murder witness in True Confession by F. Orlin Tremaine ( 1939 )


Gnut in Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates ( 1940 ), later made into the classic 1951 science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still Unnamed "living plastic" robot in "Vault of the Beast" ( 1940 ), short story by A. E. van Vogt Jay Score ( "J20" ), emergency pilot of the Earth-to-Venus freighter Upskadaska City ( colloquially called "Upsydaisy" ) in "Jay Score", a short story by Eric Frank Russell in the May 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction ( 1941 ) Jenkins in City by Clifford D. Simak ( 1944 ) Robots by Isaac Asimov: Robbie, Speedy, Cutie, and others, from the stories in I, Robot ( 1940–1950 ) ( not to be confused with the Binder short story of the same title ) L-76, Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Emma-2, Brackenridge, Tony, Lenny, Ez-27 and others, from the stories in The Rest of the Robots ( 1964 ) R. Daneel Olivaw from The Caves of Steel ( 1954 ) and subsequent novels R. Giskard Reventlov from The Robots of Dawn ( 1983 ) and subsequent novels Andrew Martin from The Bicentennial Man ( 1976 ) ( later made into a film ) and The Positronic Man ( a novel ), co-written by Asimov and Robert Silverberg Norby in a series of books for children and adolescents, co-written with Janet Asimov The Humanoids from two novels by Jack Williamson ( 1949 and 1980 )

1950s and 1960s:

Astro Boy, series by Osamu Tezuka ( pub. in Japan but available in English ), an atomic-powered robot of 100,000 horsepower built to resemble a little boy, most specifically Tobio, the deceased son of Dr. Tenma. When not in school, Astro Boy spent his time dealing with robots & aliens. ( 1952 ) The Gallegher series of stories by Lewis Padgett ( Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore ) collected in Robots Have No Tails ( 1952 ) The Mechanical Hound from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ( 1953 ) Bors, an old government integration robot pivotal to Philip K. Dick's novelette The Last of the Masters ( 1954 ) Zane Gort, a robot novelist in the short story "The Silver Eggheads" by Fritz Leiber ( 1959 ) Shroud ( Synthetic Human, Radiation Output Determined ) and shock ( Synthetic Human Object, Casualty Kinematics ), the sentient test dummies in the novel V. by Thomas Pynchon ( 1963 ) Frost, the Beta-Machine, Mordel, and the Ancient Ore Crusher in Roger Zelazny's short story "For a Breath I Tarry" ( 1966 ) Trurl and Klapaucius, the robot geniuses of The Cyberiad ( Cyberiada, 1967; translated by Michael Kandel 1974 ) – collection of humorous stories about the exploits of Trurl and Klapaucius, "constructors" among robots The Iron Man in the novel The Iron Man: A Children's Story in Five Nights by Ted Hughes, illustrated by Andrew Davidson ( 1968 ), later changed to The Iron Giant to avoid confusion with its predecessor, the comic superhero of the same name Roy Batty, Pris, Rachael and several other Nexus-6 model androids. "Androids, fully organic in nature – the products of genetic engineering – and so human-like that they can only be distinguished by psychological tests; some of them don't even know that they're not human." – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick ( 1968 ) Diktor, the robotic lover in the comics and film Barbarella ( 1968 ) "The Electric Grandmother" in the short story of the same name, from I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury ( 1969 ), based on a 1962 Twilight Zone episode of the same name Mech Eagles from the novel Logan's Run ( 1967 ), robotic eagles designed to track and kill people who refuse to die at age 21 1970s:

Personoids, in Stanislaw Lem's book Próznia Doskonala ( 1971 ). This is a collection of book reviews of nonexistent books, and was translated into English by Michael Kandel as A Perfect Vacuum ( 1983 ). "Personoids do not need any human-like physical body; they are rather an abstraction of functions of human mind, they live in computers." The Stepford Wives ( 1972 ) by Ira Levin – "The masculine plot to replace women with perfect looking, obedient robot replicas" Setaur, Aniel and Terminus in Tales of Pirx the Pilot by Stanislaw Lem ( 1973 ) The Hangman in Home Is the Hangman by Roger Zelazny ( 1975 ), winner of that year's Nebula Award for Best Novella Andrew Martin from The Bicentennial Man ( 1976 ) by Isaac Asimov and The Positronic Man ( 1993 ) by Asimov and Robert Silverberg Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ( 1979 ) by Douglas Adams and subsequent novels based on the original radio series


Chip, the robot teenager in the Not Quite Human series ( 1985–1986 ) by Seth McEvoy. Disney later made the book into three movies. Roderick (1980) and Tik-Tok (1983) by John Sladek, two extreme examples of robot morality, one perfectly innocent and one perfectly criminal The Boppers, a race of moon-based robots that achieve independence from humanity, in the series of books The Ware Tetralogy by Rudy Rucker R. Giskard Reventlov from The Robots of Dawn ( 1983 ) and subsequent novels by Isacc Asimov All Autobots and Decepticons from the Transformers franchise (since 1984) Elio, a character from A Tale of Time City ( 1987 ) by Diana Wynne Jones Manders in The Type One Super Robot ( 1987 ), a children's book by Alison Prince Solo from Robert Mason's novels Weapon ( 1989 ) and Solo ( 1993 ) – Note, the 1996 film titled Solo is based solely on the first novel, Weapon. Conal Cochran's androids who serve central antagonists / villains in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, a non-Halloween consecutive film Sheen, a female android mysteriously programmed to guard and love Stile, a serf on the planet Proton, in the sci-fi / fantasy series Apprentice Adept ( 1980–82 ) by Piers Anthony.


Yod in Marge Piercy's He, She and It ( 1991 ) The One Who Waits in Charles Sheffield's Divergence ( 1991 ) Caliban in a trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen, set in the robots universe of Isaac Asimov ( 1993 ) Solo and Nimrod in Robert Mason's novel Solo ( 1993 ) Jay-Dub and Dee Model in Ken MacLeod's The Stone Canal ( 1996 ) Dorfl, and other Discworld golems deliberately described in terms reminiscent of an Asimovian robot, in Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay ( 1996 ) and subsequent Discworld novels.


Cassandra Kresnov, in a series by Joel Shepherd ( 2001 ) Clunk, in a series by Simon Haynes ( 2004 ) Moravecs, sentient descendants of probes sent by humans to the Jovian belt, in Dan Simmons' Ilium ( 2003 ) Nimue Alban / Merlin Athrawes, in the Safehold series by David Weber ( 2007 ) Otis, the robot dog from Tanith Lee's Indigara ( 2007 ) Freya, in Charles Stross' Saturn's Children ( 2008 ) HCR-328 and Tom in Automatic Lover and Automatic Lover – Ten Years On by Ariadne Tampion ( 2008 ) Boilerplate, a Victorian-era robot in the illustrated coffee-table book Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel, published by Abrams ( 2009 )

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