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 group of rebels can stem the humanoid tide....if it's not already too late.
First published in Astounding Science Fiction during the magazine's heyday, The Humanoids, has endured for fifty years as a classic on the theme of natural versus artificial life.
Also included in this edition is With Folded Hands, a continuation of the story begun in The Humanoids.
The Humanoids ©1948, 1949, 1975 Jack Williamson; With Folded Hands ©1947 Street and Smith; ©1975 Jack Williamson; (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks
A good, old fashioned, Sci Fi work.
The characters are varied in scope, and believable in nature. The science, although not expressed in contemporary terms, is based enough in what is accepted today. The future advances in these sciences are on the whole plausible.
The two stories, the shorter one first, are logical progressions in the overall story line. In the first story, you meet the antagonists, a "race" of robots whose prime directive is to serve and protect mankind. They arrive unannounced, and take their prime directive seriously. The plot deals with one man's reaction to this event, and how it affects his life.
The second part takes place on a different planet, at an unspecified future time. This story is more flush with characters, and more detail is given to their personalities. The plot line is similarly fleshed out. This story deals more with the science of the events without being too off the wall. There is no Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon feel to this story.
For an older work, it still holds interest and is believable. In addition it is an excellent combination of believable science and more importantly good fiction.
This is science fiction from the late 40's and is replete with slide rules, vacuum tubes and typewriters. It started out quaint and I thought it was kind of fun. By the time I got to it's conclusion I hated this book. The utopia the authors presents makes my skin crawl. The Humanoids are utterly creepy.
This is an older sci-fi novel, and it consequently feels a little dated. For example, even though the story supposedly takes place far in the future when humans have colonized other planets, they are still using teletype machines. The women are portrayed as child-like, often petulant creatures who mostly serve to get in the way while the men are attempting to save mankind.
That being said, I did find the story thought-provoking. Would it be a good thing if a machine could be invented that would "heal" people's minds so that they no longer had aggressive or destructive tendencies? If the machine made you feel happy, would you truly BE happy? The ending leaves the question somewhat open to interpretation - were we betting on the wrong horse all along? I don't think so, but you be the judge.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
"With Folded Hands" is now easily one of my all-time favorite short stories. It takes up the first two hours of this audiobook and is absolutely astounding. I had never heard of Jack Williamson before coming across this book, but after experiencing this read, I will be buying everything I can find that he has published.
"The Humanoids" is also great, but falls a LITTLE bit short of "With Folded Hands" simply because of how complex it gets. It is still very easy to follow, but I have to admit that there is a lot to keep track of. It is one of the few unique stories I have ever read that leaves the reader questioning who the enemy REALLY was by the end of the book. A really neat feeling.
I also must make mention of how amazing the narration performance is. Not only is the reader's voice easy to listen to, but his voices for each character (ESPECIALLY the Humanoids) are almost TOO perfect. Bravo, good sir.
9.18 / 10.00
This book is more like two novellas stuffed in a single book with a common theme between them. There are two distinct stories here that do get tied together towards the end, but not to any great satisfaction.
I enjoyed the stories and Stefan Rudnicki does his usual outstanding job narrating them. There are a couple of major plot holes that seem to get glossed over and the main characters seem to be insistent on taking the more difficult course of action when there appears to be an easier, more effective way to accomplish their task. Overall, a very good book with a couple of major problems that keep it from being a 5-star listen for me.
This book is apparently a series of short stories written over the course of several years cobbled together to become a whole. It is a recipe that frequently works. What you lose in continuity and focus you often make up for in freshness and variety.
Here it joins a great story in the first part of the book to a progressively lame (or to borrow the author's favorite term 'laborious') pseudo rationalization for the wrong side of an arguement. The holes in the ratinale for this story made me hungry for a little swiss cheese. At times I wondered if the author took the course simply as an exercise to see if his readers would swallow such a bizzarely contradictory story/philosophy. Sadly, he probably took the whole thing seriously.
If you read this story and find yourself agreeing with anything in the final unfolding of it's 'laborious' conclusion...I've got some prime real estate on Alpha Centauri Prime I'd like to sell you. Of course if you agree with this story's key messages, you've probably already put down a payment on that property with someone else. Oh well, such is capitalism...till the humanoids arrive.
"An intense sci-fi terror"
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of sci-fright fiction. For those who seriously don't trust robots, this is the book for you. The novel plays on our fears of surrendering our independence and our right to be human--i.e. screw things up and hurt ourselves doing it. The hero is out maneuvered at every turn, raising the fear and anger with ever passing moment. Brilliant suspense.
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