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R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – August 20, 2001
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Original Language: Czech
Top Customer Reviews
Although the ideas that Capek broached remain extremely influential, the play itself is difficult to evaluate from a modern point of view because in many respects it conforms to then-popular but now outmoded ideas about dramatic structure. Even so, the story of a world gradually consumed and ultimately destroyed through its own technology remains a powerful one--as does the image of the robot, which gradually acquires an unexpected sense of identity and begins to vie with man for domination of the earth.
By and large, plays are written to seen rather than to be read, and this may be particularly true of R.U.R., which proves very difficult to visualize from the page. The seriocomic first act with its emphasis on exposition feels awkward to the modern mind, and the progression of the story has an obvious and awkwardly episodic feel. But it is worth pointing out that if R.U.R. seems obvious to us today, this is because its ideas have been so often used; everything from METROPOLIS to FORBIDDEN PLANET to TERMINATOR, from I ROBOT to RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA has borrowed from it heavily.
Ultimately, the play asks us to consider who will inherit the earth: man or what man has created? Audiences of the 1920s found this an extremely disconcerting question--and if anything, audiences and readers of the present day will find it more disconcerting still.Read more ›
Capek was probably away ahead of his time in writing this play. It is a precursor of later science-fiction books and the fact than it was written almost 100 years ago puts I in the same league as HG Wells 'The Time Machine' or Jules Verne's 'Robur the Conqueror.
The play is set sometime in the late 20th century. Harry Domin is general manager of R.U.R., a robot manufacturer founded by Old Rossum in the 1930s. R.U.R. is the world’s foremost supplier of cheap, nonhuman labor. Helena Glory, the daughter of the President, arrives at Domin’s office unexpectedly. He is used to receiving curious visitors at the robot plant, and he gives her the VIP tour. Helena’s motives go beyond curiosity, however; she has come on behalf of a human rights organization called the League of Humanity, with the idealistic intention of liberating the robots. Her plot is thwarted, however, when Domin proposes marriage to her, an offer she somehow can’t resist. While Helena’s apparent change of heart cools her ardor for robot revolution, the robots, on the other hand, just might liberate themselves.
It goes without saying that this work was way ahead of its time. The robots of R.U.R. are not boxy, mechanical constructions, but rather androids built from man-made organic tissues, so as to physically resemble human beings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book kept me going because it was a very interesting story. I was assigned to read it for school. Good read!Published 1 month ago by CHRISSY
It did exactly what it needed to do to prepare my class for their final project in their Arts & Creativity class with Science Fiction plays as their focus.Published 10 months ago by Hallie Brinkerhoff
Great, interesting and insightful. Very relevant for readers in any time period in human history.Published 17 months ago by Lisa Atkinson
This is a trenchant and pithy critique of post-Industrial-Revolution capitalism as well as an exploration of the human consequences of technology--both the existant technology of... Read morePublished on June 7, 2014 by theta
This play presents many issues to reflect upon. It's a great and fascinating read, especially if you love science fiction.Published on April 23, 2014 by Laura Allgood
Truly enjoyed this play. It seems to have layer upon layer of emotions, lessons and somethings too close to home. Hard to believe it was written so long ago. Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Pat fuchs
I'm glad I read this, since it's so often referenced, and so important in the history of drama, but I was surprise to find that it reads like a drawing room melodrama.Published on January 10, 2014 by knitica