Review copy provided by Sterling.
The subtitle on this glossy coffee-table book is “Legendary Automatons and Androids from the Ancient World to the Distant Future.” It spends a lot of time on the fictional robots, spending a full page spread on most of the author’s favorites from both written media and the movies. But there are also real life examples of automata and robots, including gems like Su Son’gs Cosmic Engine.
The author’s stage name makes her passion for the topic clear, but even if she was writing as Betsy Peterson, it would be apparent from the way that she squees about robot after robot how much she loves the subject matter. This is not a book for serious academic research. This is a book for poring over the pictures, for going, “Gort! I love Gort!” (What? I do love Gort) and, “Daneel is the best thing he ever wrote,” and other bouncy happy fan reactions. And its timing, coming out at the end of the year, is very convenient: if you’re trying to come up with the right present for someone with a lot of nerd identity but no particular inclination toward cerebral research, that person might well enjoy a hundred favorite very shiny robots, with pictures of Elektro and Sparko from the 1930s and allusions to Marge Piercy and Kraftwerk.
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