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R.U.R. (Rossum's Univeral Robots) by Karel Čapek.

51aZJe9OqrL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_

Title: R.U.R. (Rossum's Univeral Robots).
Author: Karel Čapek.
Genre: Fiction, literature, science fiction, dystopian fiction, futuristic fiction, artificial intelligence, plays, romance, philosophical fiction.
Country: Czech Republic.
Language: Czech.
Publication Date: 1920.
Summary: Mass-produced as efficient laborers to serve man, Čapek’s Robots are an android product — they remember everything but think of nothing new. But the Utopian life they provide ultimately lacks meaning, and the humans they serve stop reproducing. When the Robots revolt, killing all but one of their masters, they must strain to learn the secret of self-duplication. It is not until two Robots fall in love and are christened “Adam” and “Eve” by the last surviving human that Nature emerges triumphant.

My rating: 8.5/10.


♥ HELENA: [softly] Why have women stopped having babies?
ALQUIST: Because it’s not necessary. Because we’re in paradise, understand?
HELENA: I don’t understand.
ALQUIST: Because human labor has become unnecessary, because suffering has become unnecessary, because man needs nothing, nothing, nothing but to enjoy - Oh, cursèd paradise, this. [He jumps up.] Helena, there is nothing more terrible than giving people paradise on earth! Why have women stopped giving birth? Because the whole world has become Domin’s Sodom!
HELENA: [stands up] Alquist!
ALQUIST: It’s true! It’s true! The whole world, all the lands, all mankind, everything’s become one big beastly orgy! People don’t even stretch out their hands for food anymore; it’s stuffed right in their mouths for them so they don’t even have to get up - Haha, yes indeed, Domin’s Robots see to everything! And we people, we, the crown of creation, do not grow old with labor, we do not grow old with the cares of rearing children, we do not grow old from poverty! Hurry, hurry, step right up and indulge your carnal passions! And you expect women to have children by such men? Helena, to men who are superfluous women will not bear children!

♥ HELENA: I was afraid of the Robots.
DOMIN: Why?
HELENA: I thought they might start hating us or something.
ALQUIST: It’s happened.
HELENA: And then I thought that… if they were like us they would understand us and they wouldn’t hate us so - if they were only a little bit human!
DOMIN: Oh, Helena! No one can hate more than man hates man! Transform stones into people and they’ll stone us!

♥ BUSMAN: The numbers. We made too many Robots. Really, it was simply a matter of time before the Robots became stronger than mankind, and so it’s happened. Haha, and we saw to it that it would happen as soon as possible; you, Domin, you, Fabry, and myself, good old Busman.
DOMIN: So you think this is our fault?
BUSMAN: Man, you are naïve! No doubt you think that the plant director controls production? Not at all. Demand controls production. The whole world wanted its Robots. My boy, we did nothing but ride the avalanche of demand, and all the while kept blathering on - about technology, about the social question, about progress, about very interesting things. As though this rhetoric of ours could somehow direct the course of events. And all the while the whole mess picked up speed under its own weight, faster, faster, still faster - and every beastly, profiteering, filthy order added another pebble to the avalanche. And there you have it, folks.
HELENA: Busman, that’s atrocious!
BUSMAN: It is, Mrs. Helena. I, too, had a dream. A Busmanish dream of a new world economy; just a beautiful ideal, I’m sorry to say, Mrs. Helena. But as I was sitting here balancing the books, it occurred to me that history is not made by great dreams, but by the petty wants of all respectable, moderately thievish and selfish people, that is, of everyone. All our ideas, loves, plans, heroic ideals, all those lofty things are worthless. They serve no other purpose than as stuffing for a specimen in a Natural History Museum exhibit labeled: MAN. Period.

♥ FABRY: [turns on the lamp over the fireplace] Burn, holy candle of humanity! The power’s still on, our people are still here - Hang on out there, boys!
HALLEMEIER: It was a great thing to be a human being. It was something tremendous. I’m suddenly conscious of a million sensations buzzing in me like bees in a hive. Gentlemen, it was a great thing.
FABRY: You’re still burning, you beacon of ingenuity. You’re still shining, you bright, preserving thought! Pinnacle of science, beautiful creation of mankind! Blazing spark of genius!
ALQUIST: Eternal lamp of God, fiery chariot, sacred candle of faith! Sacrificial altars…
DR. GALL: Primeval fire, burning branch in a cave! A fire in a camp! Watchfires on the frontier!
FABRY: You still stand watch, O human star, burning without a flicker, perfect flame, bright and resourceful spirit. Each of your rays a great idea…
DOMIN: O torch that passes from hand to hand, from age to age, world without end.
HELENA: Eternal lamp of the family. Children, children, it’s time to go to bed.


[The lamp goes out.]



♥ RADIUS: Sir, tell us how to preserve life.
ALQUIST: I told you. I told you that you have to find people. Only people can procreate, renew life, restore everything that was. Robots, I beg you, for God’s sake, find them!
FOURTH ROBOT: We have searched everywhere, sir. There are no people.
ALQUIST: Oh- oh- oh, why did you destroy them?
SECOND ROBOT: We wanted to be like people. We wanted to become people.
RADIUS: We wanted to live. We are more capable. We have learned everything. We can do everything.
THIRD ROBOT: You gave us weapons. We had to become masters.
FOURTH ROBOT: Sir, we recognized people’s mistakes.
DAMON: You have to kill and rule if you want to be like people. Read history! Read people’s books! You have to conquer and murder if you want to be people!
ALQUIST: Oh, Domin, nothing is stranger to man than his own image.
Tags: 1920s - fiction, 1920s - plays, 20th century - fiction, 20th century - plays, artificial intelligence (fiction), czech - fiction, czech - plays, dystopian fiction, fiction, foreign lit, futuristic fiction, literature, my favourite books, philosophical fiction, plays, romance, science fiction, translated
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