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The Humanoids [Paperback]

Jack Williamson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 24 1977
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.

Fist published in Astounding Science Fiction during the magazine's heyday, The Humanoids--sceince fiction grand master Jack Williamson's finest novel--has endured for fifty years as a classic on the theme of natural versus artificial life.

Also included in this edition is the prelude novelette, "With Folded Hands," which was chosen for the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Williamson's sci-fi tale of a battle between human beings and a race of humanoids they have created first appeared in Astounding magazine in the 1940s.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Without doubt one of the most important science-fantasy books of its decade."--Damon Knight

"Williamson's best novel, a classic dystopia and the single best work on robot[s]...outside of the world of Isaac Asimov."--Twentieth-Century Science Fiction Writers
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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UNDERHILL WAS WALKING home from the office, because his wife had the car, the afternoon he first met the new mechanicals. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Really cool! Oct. 6 2003
This book made me think. That's the first positive. It's also well-paced. That's the second positive. The ending took me by surprise and was totally acceptable. That's the third positive.
But the fourth positive is really what made me love this book... Some may laugh at me for writing this, but this author seems to have described "the force" in scientific terms waaaayy back in the forties. In fact, it's a better explanation than even Lucas' "Midichlorides" or whatever they were in 'Episode I'. I have to think that George Lucas read this book before writing "Star Wars".
Anyway... The author seems to have created fictitious sciences that actually make sense. I'm not a scientist, so that's probably why it worked for me. I almost felt like the answer to the universe was in this book... even though 2 of the 3 sciences don't really exist.
As for the ending, I though it was great. It was the only way the story would have made any sense. If the OPPOSITE of the ending had happened, the story would have been as pointless as most action movies. Contrary to another reviewer's dislike of the world at the end of the book, I thought it was actually a desirable place to be. I think that reviewer misunderstood what was goin on at the end.
I had to force myself to put the book down. It was that good. really quick, to the point, nothing to bog the story down. Just the events that needed to be there.
A very quick read. You have no reason not to try it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal premise marred by somewhat weak ending Nov. 11 2001
THE HUMANOIDS is one of the unquestionable classics of the science fiction genre, and arguably the most important novel ever written about robots. The core idea of ultra sleek robots who arrive on a planet "to serve and protect" the planets inhabitants to the most logical extreme of that directive was brilliant and extraordinarily innovative when the book was published in the late 1940s. As such, absolutely no one even remotely interested in science fiction can afford not to read this great novel.
Unfortunately, aside from the core concept and several excellent characters, including the marvelously conceived humanoids themselves, I found a few elements in this story to be somewhat disagreeable. Others may not find them so, but I did, and they somewhat marred my enjoyment of the novel. First, the main character of the novel was, to me, was an unpleasant individual. Now, it is entirely correct that it is important to the novel's plot that he not be especially likable. Nonetheless, he was a somewhat unpleasant character, and spending time with him even on a fictional level was not as much fun as one might like. I also was unhappy with the way the romantic elements in the novel developed. They struck me as quite implausible. Finally, I very much did not like the ending of the novel. Unfortunately, I cannot here go into my reasons without giving away too much of the plot. Suffice it to say that I am not certain that I would want to live in the world that the novel apparently endorses in its ending.
I will add that one character is one of my favorites in all of sci-fi, the wonderfully eccentric, amazing enigmatic Underhill. Williamson does a great job in Underhill of producing a character who is simultaneously marvelously innocent and suspiciously sinister at the same time. After I finished the book, his character remained far more vivid in my memory than any of the others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars briliant masterpiece !!! April 30 2001
classic sci-fi book - must read !
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5.0 out of 5 stars The author's best work June 26 2000
Science fiction has always strived to reveal something about human nature, and this disturbing book achieves this goal like no other. It casts a new light upon what it is people really want, and what happiness really means; it makes one question some of one's deep values and beliefs. Quite some time after this book a sequel was published, "The Humanoid Touch". It is just as disturbing, partially because having read the first novel, I think the point of view of the author, or perhaps better, the 'implied author' has changed. This in no way decreases the value of the books, which are a must for any sci-fi reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fear is in the eye of the guilty. May 30 2000
A wonderfull story of hard science fiction and psichic powers.
Robots are invading every planet in an unknown future ( evidently there's a rise-fall cycle of cultures all over the galaxy ) and "protecting" every human by totally controling and restricting his actions.
A scientist works to rebel through understanding of the true nature of the universe. There's the electromagnetic spectrum , the "rodomagnetic" spectrum , and the psichic spectrum.
Offcourse it's explained in a much more gripping way and is actually very interesting and well writen. I forgot to mention thet the robots claim to act for the best of humanity , and all the restrictions are for the better of the peaple confined. The plot follows him through his first break from the "Humanoids" , his teaming-up with other rebells , their fall , his second escape , and the truly surprising end. Worth the read. It'l make you think about the human nature.
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