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R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  3,241 ratings  ·  182 reviews
""It is time to read Capek again for his insouciant laughter, and the anguish of human blindness that lies beneath it"" ?Arthur Miller R.U.R.?written in 1920, premiered in Prague in 1921, and first performed in New York in 1922?garnered worldwide acclaim for its author and popularized the word robot. Mass-produced as efficient laborers to serve man, Capek's Robots are an a ...more
ebook, 112 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 1920)
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Scoobs


"People with ideas should not be allowed to have an influence on affairs of this world."
Stephen
People who pick this up to read probably know already that this is the first time that the word 'robots' was ever used, and that's only interesting, I think, because all of the thematic explorations found in robot literature and art such as in Asimov and Kubrick and all those little 'Terminator' movies were already there in the play! There's the 'what does it mean to be human', the war on the humans, religious implications (did mankind kill god?), all that stuff. There was an interesting forward ...more
Chazzbot
This short play is primarily of historical interest, since the story is (now) very familiar and the characterization is quite meager. The play is additionally hampered by a poor translation. I read two different editions of the play, both crediting the same translator, but found stark differences between them. The version pictured here seems more complete, but I found several passages truncated or entirely removed from the Dover Thrift Edition (go figure).

If you are at all interested in the hist
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Penelope
Hovering somewhere between 3 and 4 stars...
I loved the humor in this play. Also, something about "organic" robots is just really cool. I generally think of robots as being metal human-shaped computers, but the robots of "Rossum's Universal Robots" are made of flesh and bone. They're like us, but minus all that extra stuff, like souls and reproductive organs.

That said, I was disappointed by Helena's role in the whole story. When I stumbled across this book at the library, I was excited to read a
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Brendan
RUR stands out for that third R, the first place robot was used to describe mechanical golems. In Capek's play, the robots are more like the modern cylons in BSG, indistinguishable from humans. The play tells the tale of the island factory where the robots are made, the worldwide demand for robot labor fast bottoming out the world work economy. The people who make the robots want to use them to introduce utopia, but the people who run nations use them to fight wars. Only instead of following the ...more
Riona
I don't read that many plays, but I should probably read more considering that I work in theatre. I picked this one up primarily because it's famous for coining the term "robot". The creatures in Čapek's work aren't really what we typically consider robots today, though--they're more biological than mechanical.

Written in 1920 and first performed in 1921, this was way ahead of its time. The machines-rebelling-against-their-masters trope is ubiquitous in contemporary science fiction, and R.U.R. i
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Alistair Sewell
This play captivated me, I have had a fascination of the obsession Man has with the "self." I hope I to have the pleasure of seeing this one day.
The comparison between Young and Old Rossum was especially interesting to me, it seemed Old Rossum recognized God by shaking his fist and saying "I can create just like you, I have made a flawless 'human being,' unlike you!" Young Rossum denied God completely by just exploiting Rossum's Robots, and not recognizing that what he is doing is "Godlike."
RUR
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Czarny Pies
Oct 14, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Go to it, if you hear of a theatrical production in your city that has garnered good reviews,
Recommended to Czarny by: Dominik Hasek
Shelves: czech-lit
Theatre directors must absolutely love R.U.R. that licenses them to do absolutely anything with it. R.U.R. which is about everything also belongs to all known twentieth century literary movements: theatre de l'absurde, Dadaism, surrealism, symbolism and modernism. I agree with the critic who described it as the great masterpiece of the Czech avant-garde.
The basic plot line is simple. A mad scientist invents a Robot which is more like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in that it is built with plasma t
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laurdes
Jsem naprosto fascinována tím, jak perfektně dokázal Karel Čapek postihnout chování lidstva. Už před téměř sto let viděl to, co my dnes téměř nevidíme, to, co bude vidět dejme tomu za dalších sto let. Velice se mi líbí, že si ohlídal všechny detaily a kniha neobsahuje jedinou nelogičnost nebo něco "co by nefungovalo". Ráda bych se podívala i na nějaké klasické divadelní zpracování.
Matthew
This was a very good play! I picked it up because it was the first occurence in literature that had the word 'robot.' Not really a deep reason, but I figured that it would be worth a read.



I was definitely right. I found great criticism of Marxism and of aspiring for the 'easy life' within Capek's R.U.R.. As such, I believe that Capek's work should be a piece of literature more greatly studied in classes around the country, since it offers a great rebuttle against writers like Franz Kafka and oth
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Brent
I was hoping for so much more from this. Unfortunately it it so poorly written. Maybe it was the translation. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural. The scenes poorly laid out. Something a middle-schooler could do.

But, it is most definitely of historical significance. Written in 1920, it coined the word "robot." And that alone makes it worth reading. Clearly Capek was ahead of his time.

The Rossums (elder and younger) invent and grow artificial people, and call them robots. They start a company
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Tony
R. U. R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). (1920). Karel Capek. ****.
Capek (1890-1938) was a Czech writer and playwright. This is probably his most famous play. Why? Because it’s where we get the word ‘robot.’ There is some argument as to who really invented the word; some scholars say that it was his brother, but what’s the difference. The play is set in some country in some period of time in the future. We first meet Mr. Domin, the General Manager of R.U.R. It is announced that he has a visitor. I
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Robert Sheppard

WORLD CLASSICS OF SCIENCE FICTION---THE WAR WITH THE NEWTS & R.U.R.-(ROSSUMS UNIVERSAL ROBOTS) BY KAREL CAPEK----FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Czech author Karel Čapek,(pronounced CHOUW-pek) the author of "The War of the Newts" and "R.U.R.-(Rossum's Universal Robots)" did one thing that made him world-famous and remembered for the last hundred years: he invented the word "Robot." The word first appe
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Realini
RUR by Karel Capek
The first work to mention robots- 8 out of 10

- Will the robots rule the world
- Do they have rights
- Would they revolt
These are some of the questions posed by this interesting, if at times naïve work by a rather unknown author.
R.U.R. stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots and the reason why I thought this a bit rudimentary in parts is its age.
It was written in 1920 and introduced the term robots to the English language and science fiction – roboti…
The robots in this play are exact
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Brandon
Nietschze: God is dead.

A lot of symbolism in this. Helena (Mother Nature) wants to give souls to the robots. Dominance wants to control them as he controls knowledge (thus: dominance). Roles reverse. God is killed by man when he creates the robots. Man kills God by creating robots and, in the same breath, becomes God, but is destroyed by the robots; therefore, God is dead.

Mother Nature (Helena) destroys man's knowledge (Rossum's manuscript) by introducing new things that humans have no control o
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Metaphorosis

reviews.metaphorosis.com

3 stars

Helena, daughter of an industrialist, meets Harry, the manager of Rossum's Unversal Robots (which might better be translated as Rezin's Universal Robots). He tells her all the secrets of robot production, and they grow close. Eventually, the robot situation turns sour.

I think I first heard of RUR from Isaac Asimov's story notes in The Early Asimov. I thought it of historical interest, but for some reason never bothered to try to find the play itself in school libra
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Kathryn
If you have ever liked science fiction, this play was really the start of it all. Capek invented the word "robot." I feel like half of all science fiction I have read or seen rips off this book directly. Really easy to read with a really compelling plot. Everything that makes science fiction cool is in this play.
Suhrob
Surprisingly good humor!

The story line is not super great and I definitely don't buy the philosophy, but it is a historically important play and generally enjoyable.

I'd even like to see this staged somewhere!

(Mini-musing: There is a missed chance on a mini-surprise in the second act - with a small amount of rewriting Helen in second act could have been a robot. Between scenes she could have decided that the island is too creepy and return to Europe (probably getting killed in the uprising). The
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Rachael Eyre
Decidedly odd. The play didn't seem to know what it wanted to be - a drama, a satire? The translation was patchy and almost childish at times; Domin's proposal is obviously played for laughs, but the clunky writing made it seem more like a kid playing Barbies.

So much wasted potential - the sections about the two Rossums, Miss Glory's reactions to Sulla and some of the robots (lovers Primus and Helena, power hungry Radius) provided glimpses of what it could have been. Also found the servant's re
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Rob Mason
My thoughts on R.U.R. are not well organized. In fact, I think I'll resort to bullet list form. My general impression was that I really enjoyed reading it.

-- I cannot remember the last time I read a stage play. Highly enjoyable. I manged to resist the urge to skip figuring out the stage settings and go straight to the story. In the end, I'm not sure it mattered.

-- The whole, hey there's a woman let's all hit on her scene was strange. Then the idea that she was with Domin but really she was part
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Fabulantes
Reseña: http://www.fabulantes.com/2013/02/rur...
"Y, sin embargo, sería injusto recordar la obra tan sólo por innovar con el término Robot; los checos nos han dejado palabras que desgraciadamente se usan mucho más todos los días, como dólar o pistola y nadie ha estigmatizado a sus inventores. R.U.R. tiene su puesto en el Olimpo de la ciencia-ficción por ser una obra que en una línea parece alineada con las tesis marxistas y la lucha de clases y en la siguiente hace una reivindicación del Génesis,
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N
''HELENA: Harry, what is this? [She shows him the Robots' proclamation, which she had hidden behind her back.] Some Robots had it in the kitchen.
DOMIN: There too? Where are they now?
HELENA: They left. There are so many of them around the house! [The factory whistles and sirens sound.]
FABRY: The factories are whistling.
BUSMAN: Noon.
HELENA: Harry, do you remember? Now it's exactly ten years#
DOMIN[looking at his watch]: It's not noon yet. That's probably...it must be...
HELENA: What?
DOMIN: The signa
...more
Merany Eldridge
One of the best Robot Taking Over the World stories I have ever read.
Juan
This is classic!

what a sci-fi treat!

it's dark and apocalyptic, but it's totally entertaining and also have social commentary and witty satire.


I noticed that the "robots" here was more like of an Android or a Clone and far more advanced than in what we have today's robots that are computer driven electro mechanical machines (i'm thinking of Ironman and Astroboy), or maybe that's how Capek imagined his robots, a completely resemblance of human's physical appearance, intelligence and subsequently
...more
Steven
I read this mainly because it gave us the word robot and because I wanted to read something by a Czech author. I found it short and good--my cup of tea!

Čapek does some things very well. He makes good use of meaningful names and dramatic irony. He writes the dialogue of educated men well in both delivery and concepts. He is able to establish a setting very different from our own without too much awkwardness (and avoiding the As You Know trope), which is particularly impressive later in the play w
...more
Valerie
I'm pretty sure this is not the edition I read, so I can't comment on the adequacy of the translation in this edition. The one I read was pretty bad.

I sought it out because I knew that the play was the origin of the word 'robot'. The common translation of this word is somewhat like 'drudge' or 'uncaring worker', but one also could make a case for 'slave'.

This play makes some subtle arguments, but it can't escape its frame. The notion that humans only become human by doing drudgery (and can't co
...more
Chelsi
SPOILERS BELOW!

From the beginning of R.U.R, Hallemeier assures us that the robots have “no will of their own. No passion. No soul”. However, they sometimes they break down and she thinks it is their soul showing through.

Domin assures the readers, and Helena, that they have no emotions and that they are “completely indifferent to each other”. These robots reminded me of Data, an android from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as they appear humanoid and have anthropomorphic characteristics. Howeve
...more
Jeremy Kozdon
This play contains the first use of the word robot, from the Czech word for forced work or enslave (I think). The robots in the play would today actually be term androids as they are supposed to be almost indistinguishable from humans in apperance.

The play is certainly dated in its language (to be expected) and is meant to be seen rather than read. It is also quite interesting that many of the themes seen here can be seen in many of the science fiction movies of our day (terminator, i robot, etc
...more
Jani
Short classics, how could one resist them? Well to be honest, I did not buy R.U.R. just because it was short, there were actually quite many reasons of which oldest reach as far as fifteen years in to my past when I read War with the Newts and loved it. It was only years and years later when I learned that this same person "invented" the term 'robot' and inspired the name of the evil company in Whedon's Dollhouse! What more does one need! Ok, the fact that it was short and cost only 5 euros dire ...more
Mel
I can't believe I'd never read this before. I love Robots, I love robot revolts and the end of man. This is the book where we get the word robot from and I'd still not gotten around to reading it! But I am SOOOO glad I did. It was brilliant. Everything that modern scifi has been trying to say about robots since is all here!!! It's the perfect continuation on from Frankenstein. It's depressing and sees the destruction of the human race, yet it has a happy ending. I would love to see it performed ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Add cover: R.U.R. (1920) 1 8 Jan 11, 2015 09:03AM  
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Karel Čapek is one of the the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Čapek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. His play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) first popularized the word "robot".
More about Karel Čapek...
War with the Newts The White Disease Dášeňka, čili život štěněte Tales from Two Pockets Krakatit

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“La historia no se hace con grandes sueños sino con las insignificantes necesidades de todas las gentes honradas, moderadamente maliciosas y que se buscan a sí mismas.” 2 likes
“Dr Gall: Hoši, je to zločin staré Evropy, že naučila Roboty válčit! Nemohli už dát, u čerta, pokoj s tou svou politikou? To byl zločin, udělat z živé práce vojáky!
Alquist: Zločin byl vyrábět Roboty!
Domin: Cože?
Alquist: Zločin byl vyrábět Roboty!
Domin: Ne. Alquiste, ani dnes toho nelituju.
Alquist: Ani dnes?
Domin: Ani dnes, v poslední den civilizace. Byla to veliká věc.”
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