The Humanoids

Jack Williamson
The Humanoids Cover

The Humanoids


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 effort.

- The science is dated - use of slide rules, teleprinters, binary systems etc - despite the fact that this is set in the far future.

This is a "robot" story in which the Prime Directive goes horribly wrong. Among other things, the book raises the issue of how should we achieve safety. Should one wise man make decisions for the so-called greater good or should people make their own, although dangerous, choices? There is good character development as our reluctant protaganist chooses his position and gets to the point where he can act on it, although even that required an equation!! The counter-arguments by the other side are quite persuasive at times, which makes for good tension.


The ending was as heartbreaking as that of George Orwell's 1984. However there was sequelt which makes me wonder where Williamson went with the story.