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The Humanoids (Humanoids #1)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  679 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"Without a doubt one of the most important science-fantasy books of its decade." - Damon Knight

On the far planet Wing IV, a brilliant scientist creates the humanoids - sleek black androids programmed to serve humanity. But are they perfect servants or perfect masters? Slowly the humanoids spread throughout the galaxy, threatening to stifle all human endeavor. Only a hidden
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Leather Bound, 238 pages
Published 1987 by Easton Press (first published May 1948)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,479)
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Stephen
3.0 stars. Classic science fiction novel by Jack Williamson that explores the same themes and basic set up as his ground-breaking novella "With Folded Hands." While this is a good story, I thought that With Folded Hands was more tightly focused, created a better sense of dread and was the superior story. That said, this is still a good story and worth the read.
Sandy
The late 1940s was a period of remarkable creativity for future sci-fi Grand Master Jack Williamson. July '47 saw the release of his much-acclaimed short story "With Folded Hands" in the pages of "Astounding Science-Fiction," followed by the tale's two-part serialized sequel, "And Searching Mind," in that influential magazine's March and April 1948 issues. "Darker Than You Think," Williamson's great sci-fi/fantasy/horror hybrid, was released later in 1948, and 1949 saw the publication of "And Se ...more
Simon
The central conundrum this novel explores is the dichotomy between safety and liberty. At first glance they seem to be mutually exclusive, an inevitable trade-off between one and the other, but is it conceivable that they might ever be reconciled, for humanity to achieve both completely?

Humanity has spread out across the galaxy but now someone has unleashed a race of supremely powerful robots who's prime directive is to protect all humanity from harm. The are going from planet to planet imposing
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Marc Murison
A classic full of great and wondrous ideas (hence the two stars instead of one), but some of the very worst writing I've slogged through in years. Williamson never met an adverb he couldn't sophomorically abuse. Ugh. He also rushed the ending to disastrous effect, which is too bad -- the book would've been somewhat less awful had he spent more effort on developing the turnabout. This juvenile crap makes *Asimov's* prose seem beautiful by comparison.

[Edit: I couldn't in good conscience let the tw
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Karen
Well that was interesting. Classic sci fi from a future grandmaster. I found this to be a relatively fast paced story but, there were some issues that made for difficult reading at times:

- Williamson has created a fictional science and goes through great lengths to follow through the scientific development of the theories. I come from a science background so I found myself working to think through these parts. Problem is, this isn't a textbook I'm studying so I didn't always want to make that ef
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Kernos
This is an interesting semi-hard golden age Sci-Fi novel. Much of the science is up to date for the time, but it also contains fictional (or proposed) science which seems to be internally consistent. I appreciated the technical details in both the science and the speculative science. It is also a fictional proposal of what we now call a GUT or Grand Unification Theory, combining all of the fundamental forces of the universe into one elegant equation. He does this by creating 2 additional forces ...more
Jeff Brateman
This is a great introduction to sci-fi for anyone who lived during the first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, the concepts are a bit dated, sexist, and silly. Williamson drags along the journey of The Humanoids conquering of the world during the short story "With Folded Hands", and one remaining chance for humanity to save itself in the actual novel. The short story was great, and I wasn't eager to start the novel after the story, because it felt so complete on its ow ...more
Thomas
Every so often, I run across a book that has an intriguing idea, but is rather dull and dry for reading. Vinge’s Rainbows End and Flynn’s Eifelheim are two recent examples, and now Williamson’s The Humanoids can go on that list. I discovered the book through a Webcomic, of all things, but the description of the novel captured my imagination: In a distant future, the Humanoids, a race of robots with a prime directive to protect humans at all costs, effectively invades different planets and takes ...more
Izabela Kolar Furjan
Krsto Mažuranić MAŽURANIĆ, KRSTO (SRH) Recept milostive Adelije Sirius 62, str. 84-98 1981,08
Krsto Mažuranić MAŽURANIĆ, KRSTO (SRH) Marsijanac kojem je nedostajala jedna dimenzija SFera 1, str. 53-54 0

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Jack Williamson WILLIAMSON, JACK (USA) Najviši skok The Highest Dive Odabrane naučnofantastične priče, str. 251-266 1979
Jack Williamson WILLIAMSON, JACK (USA) Tamna zvijezda Dark Star Futura 37, str.
Jack Williamson WILLIAMSON, JACK (USA) Smrt zvijezde The Death of a Star Futura 49, str.
Jack W
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Randy
Jack Williamson was one of the most important science fiction writers in the 20th century, so after reading a few of his short stories I purchased this book. The story describes how humanoids take over planets with the Prime Directive to protect humans, but they don't allow anything that might harm humans such as driving, shaving, etc. In effect they become the masters. A small group of rebels tries to stop the humanoids. Read the book to see how it ends!

Mr. Williamson introduced a number of wor
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Bruce Mohler
This book may be "classic" Science Fiction but, like other Sci-Fi classics, it has a very confused world view.

At one point, it talks about man's self-destructive nature and the need for humanoids to serve and protect man. Then it talks about perfect robots, but how can self-destructive man create something that is perfect? Pure science and parapsychology duke it out on distant planets. The book talks about evolution and love, two things which, if not mutually exclusive, at least aren't directly
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Dean
A disturbing and thought provoking sci-fi about a so called benevolent race of robots who's prime directive is 'to serve and obey and guard men from harm'. It's quite amazing that this book was first published in 1948. Although the style is a bit dated it is still a good read. There is a bit too much science at the begining of the story which is a bit of a struggle but after flicking through those bits the story made up for it. What I like about Science Fiction is the ideas they explore. The Hum ...more
Velvetink
I have the 1982 GB edition.
Manuel Antão
It’s psychics versus robots!

Were not in Asimovian territory...

And it gets weirder from there. I’m not sure if it’s just the nature of Golden Age SF, but this book is a real mess. I remember reading it a long time ago in my teens. The pacing is weird, as Jack Williamson goes through the key moments (like the humanoid takeover of Starmont society), as well as having characters totally disappear (the entire psychic team mostly fades away after an elaborate introduction, eg, "Graystone the Great" s
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MB Taylor
I finished reading The Humanoids last night. I love good SF from the Golden Age, and this is an excellent example. The edition I read includes both The Humanoids novel and the short story “With Folded Hands” (1947) its prequel. Both are very good, although I think I might have enjoyed “With Folded Hands” a bit more.

The Humanoids is a robot story (and I love robot stories). Well The Humanoids is a story about the relationship between robots and humans. Williamson’s humanoids have a Prime Directi
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Gardy
Il confronto / scontro tra esseri umani e androidi più o meno tecnologici nei suoi innomerevoli sviluppi sembra ricalcare il più antico topos del cofronto tra fredde, perfette divinità e caldi, perfettibili umani.
Se ogni filone letterario pare sempre perdere nella notte della civiltà, questo romanzo di Williamson pone un interrogativo ancora oggi sconcertantamente attuale: quanto gli umani sono in grado di gestire il progresso tecnologico da loro ottenuto e quanto questo può donare loro la felic
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Denis
This is the novelized or expanded version of the great shorter novella "With Folded Hands" written in 1947 during the aftermath of WWII and the disastrous deployment of the atomic bomb. The point is made that by exploiting a new technology developed with all the best intentions (in this case a Humanoid robot that is designed in the Asimov "Three Laws Of Robotics" fashion, meaning it will not hurt a human being) can have devastating effects.

In Williamson's story, just about everyone in society ac
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Jeff
(from my book lover's journal at the time of reading)
A book about men, not Man—well, that's a bit extreme: women characters are negligible except for little Jane the psychomechanical prodigy. I could not fathom Ironsmith's psyche, but that might be good. Aside from the excessive use of adjectives and adverbs—nearly every verb and noun had at least one modifier—and the terrible copy-editing, this editor dude (i.e., i) raced through the prose eager to ingest it all quickly. A touching story, i fel
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Saretta
Mi ha lasciato sensazioni simili a quelle che mi ha dato la lettura di Arancia Meccanica (o la visione del film), perchè il libro, una volta tolto il contesto fantascientifico, tratta del libero arbitrio umano.
Nella parte iniziale l'arrivo degli umanoidi segna per molte persone l'annullamento della possibilità di fare qualunque cosa: gli esseri umani sono fragili e tutto è troppo pericoloso.
Il romanzo segue i tentativi di Clay Forester di liberarsi degli ingombranti robot scontrandosi anche con
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Matt
An oldie but goody that I discovered as an audiobook. It sort of indirectly pokes fun of Asimov's three laws of robotics and how a sufficiently intelligent AI could figure its way around the three laws and subjugate humankind. The moral of the story is don't make your AI's smarter and quicker and stronger than you are, and if you see them becoming that way, pull the plug before it is too late.
Sean Leas
Loved this book, it is the epitome of really good Golden Age SF and of the robot stories that I've read this may be the best. A solid story line with a lot the techno-babble that fills a great deal of Golden Age Science Fiction books. It also holds up well and plays to our inherent fears of losing sovereignty to our robotic overlords; when the tool becomes the master type of fare. I read a collector’s edition from the late 80’s and had some very nice illustrations sprinkled throughout the book, ...more
Bill
Started off brilliantly. Full of sci-fi fun and classic themes from the genre. However, the story started to drag and the ending left me with a "meh" taste in my mouth.
Richard Gombert
I picked up this book to read on my way to the 2011 Jack Williamson Lectureship (35th year).

This is frequently referred to as a Classic of Science Fiction and one of Mr. Williamson's most recommended books.

I found it to be very enjoyable. The plot was good, the story was well written and moved at a good pace. The story was not too long (about 200 pages).

I do think that many newer/younger readers might have difficulty reading it. Mr. Williamson uses the tern "rhodomagnetic" and that has fallen ou
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John
1980 grade A-
2011 grade B-

Series book H1
Raymond
An interesting story that collapsed under the weight of gobbledygook at about page 180.
Mike
This edition contains a short(ish) work With Folded Hands as well as The Humanoids. With Folded Hands is a prequel to The Humanoids and I actually thought it was the better of the two. It was a nicely thought out with a different finish that I didn't expect.

The Humanoids itself I found to be rather a disappointment. At first I was okay with it, then as it got more
and more into teleporting etc. I just began to lose interest and found it rather boring.

Without With Folded Hands, this would have b
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Bill
I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I hadn't read anything by Jack Williamson previously and saw this in one of my used book stores. It looked interesting and didn't let me down. A bit of a slow start, but it quickly found its footing and was nicely paced. A story in the Isaac Asimov vein; dealing with humanoids, how they serve/ rule humans and certain of mankind's efforts to fight them. A story with some science as well, which made it even more interesting. Good story.
Jennifer Hughes
I picked this up on a whim at the library. I was intrigued by the idea of reading something by a pioneer of the science fiction genre. I felt like it was worth reading for that reason, but it was probably more of an academic kind of enjoyment than a pure lose-yourself-in-a-book kind. I think I prefer Verne for the good old sci-fi, and for the mid to late 20th century it's hard to find anyone who compares to Asimov and Bradbury, in my mind.
Ippino
Romanzo leggibile, un pò affrettato nel finale, che comunque rimane ad effetto.
C'è un pò di Matrix e un pò di "coscienza collettiva" dei Borg di Star Trek.
Di contro ci sono personaggi secondari appena accennati, senza una vera utilità ai fini dello svolgimento del racconto; ed uno spiegone pseudo-scientifico che fa sbadigliare.
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John Stewart Williamson who wrote as Jack Williamson (and occasionally under the pseudonym Will Stewart) was a U.S. writer often referred to as the "Dean of Science Fiction".
More about Jack Williamson...

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Humanoids (2 books)
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