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18 December 2014 @ 09:56 am
And the Cylons were created by man...  
I'm currently reading a quite worthwhile book about the popular culture and Zeitgeist of the interwar years in Europe and the US. Philipp Blom, Die zerissenen Jahre: 1918-1938, which, of course, can offer little more than just a general overview, but as such is engaging and rather well-researched.

The chapter dealing with Fritz Lang's Metropolis, among other artistic visions of a future society, also mentions Czech writer Karel Capek and his 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). Capek's play not only for the very first time introduces the term "robot" to describe high-functioning fictional automata. (According to Capek the word was created by his brother Josef from the Czech "robota", meaning servitude. I knew this little tidbit beforehand).

But even more fascinating, R.U.R. turns out to employ many of the concepts which decades later would find their way into both the old and the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica.  To quote from the Wiki entry on R.U.R. :

"The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people, called roboti (robots), out of synthetic organic matter. They are not exactly robots by the current definition of the term; these creatures are closer to the modern idea of cyborgs, androids or even clones, as they may be mistaken for humans and can think for themselves. They seem happy to work for humans at first, but that changes, and a hostile robot rebellion leads to the extinction of the human race."


Years have passed and all humans had been killed by the robot revolution except for Alquist.[...] Robots Primus and Helena develop human feelings and fall in love. Playing a hunch, Alquist threatens to dissect Primus and then Helena; each begs him to take him- or herself and spare the other. Alquist realizes that they are the new Adam and Eve, and gives charge of the world to them."

What else to say than "All of this has happened before and it will happen again." ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://bimo.dreamwidth.org/66074.html. Comment there or here, as you like. I'd be glad to reply to your comments over on DW.
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