Yes, I actually owned the issue of GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION (January 1953) that featured this robot cover by Ed Emshwiller. Robots in American Popular Culture explores how robots entered the American consciousness. Steve Carper traces the evolution of robots from clunky machines to sexbots. Carper provides a lot of history of the development of robots, both real and imaginary. Good robots and bad robots (aka, terminators) are all discussed in context of science fiction and American society. If you’re a fan of robots, this book is a must-read. My only quibble with Robots in American Popular Culture is the lack of robot artwork. Other than the iconic cover, the pages are lacking artwork with the variety of robots. Maybe in the next edition… Are you a fan of robots? Would you buy one? GRADE: A-
Introduction 1
Part One: The Robot ­Pre-Computer 9
1. The Robot and the Android: The Origin of the Species 11
2. The Heimlich Maneuver: Robots in Early Fiction 21
3. Is It Mechanism or Soul? Robots on the Stage 35
4. The Wonderful Walking Mechanical Men 46
5. “Quiet, Please—I’m Talking”: The Westinghouse Family of Robots 64
6. Iron Monster Turns Traitor: Amateur Robots 74
7. Buck, Flash, Tillie and Mickey: Robots in Comic Strips 89
8. A Tribe of Living Mechanical Men! Robots in Comic Books 110
9. Utterly Alien and Nonhuman: The Robot in Golden Age Science Fiction 128
10. The Automaton! Robots in Movies 148
Part Two: The Robot ­Post-Computer 157
11. Robots as Camp 159
12. Robots and Kids 172
13. Robots as Androids 192
14. Robots as Sexbots 208
15. Robots as Enemies 220
16. Robots, Robots Everywhere 229
Chapter Notes 245
Bibliography 261
Index 285

11 thoughts on “ROBOTS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE By Steve Carper

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    No, I wouldn’t buy one. It seems to me that the raison d’etre of a book like this would be the illustrations, so I can’t believe there aren’t any!

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I can think of a dozen really cool robot covers and illustrations from various SF magazines and paperbacks that could have enhanced ROBOTS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE. It would have been a much better book with illustrations.

  2. wolf

    A book on robots without pictures?
    I’d rather watch the old German movie Metropolis.
    Re Sexbots:
    I bought once a porn SF novel that had a male sex-robot but can’t remember author and title.

  3. Steve Carper

    Yes, the lack of images was disappointing to me as well. And I’m the author of the book.

    But I tried to do something about it. I created a companion site – I posted more than 300 images, keyed to the book by chapter and page number. You’ll also find links to more than 50 additional articles on robots, some from my biweekly robot column on, and others from my future history site,

    Thank you for the kind review, George.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, I loved ROBOTS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE! You did a super job capturing the history of robots. I read Isaac Asimov’s I, ROBOT as a kid and was hooked for life! Thanks for the link to the 300 robot images! I hope you’re working on a sequel!

      1. Steve Carper

        I’m working on a lot of projects, small and large, and I don’t know what will actually come out next. One of them is a history of sf publisher Gnome Press. They put out I, Robot, and major robot titles like Kuttner’s Robots Have No Tails and Clifford Simak’s classic City, as well as Clarke’s first books and Heinlein and just about every other major name in 40s sf. So robots will keep sneaking in.

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