This one came in such a light package, I was afraid that I had accidently ordered an audio cassette or CD. Upon cutting it open, I found an anemic book – a short story? – of 58 pages, and was pointedly reminded that R.U.R. is not a novel. It’s a play.
Written in 1922 by a Czechoslavakian author of great renown at the time, R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) is of historical note because it coins the word “robot,” and sets the stage for the scifi requirement of exploring all the possible outcomes of a new technology. Cogent points are made, so I can forgive the unrealistic arrival of Helen, or the fact that this one female character served as not only as Pandora, but Eve, comic foil, and romantic interest for several other characters. Oh, well. It was 1922. I should count my lucky stars that there were any female characters at all, or that they were given any task of meaning.
As an early work, Capek reminds writers that the heart of science fiction is exploring the evolution of a new idea.