Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Monday, June 20, 2016

The Humanoid Touch

The Humanoid Touch, Jack Williamson, Holt Rhinehart & Winston, 1980

This novel, sequel to Williamson's justifiably classic novel The Humanoids, takes place about one thousand years from now. A small remnant of humanity has fled to a pair of planets orbiting a binary star, in order to get away from robotic servants called humanoids.

What's so awful about robotic servants whose only purpose is to serve Man, and protect him from harm? Aside from the fact that they number in the trillions and are spreading throughout the galaxy, they gently, but firmly, insist on doing everything for mankind. They haven't just taken over dangerous jobs like coal mining or crab fishing, they will not let mankind even drive a car or go to the grocery store. Earth is an enslaved planet.

In this book, most of what's left of mankind don't believe that the humanoids are real; they are nothing more than something for parents to mention to misbehaving children. Keth Kyrone and his discredited father are among the few who still fear the humanoids. Keth inadvertently finds something that may be mankind's only weapon against them.

The humanoids arrive, and start manipulating people's beliefs. Even hard-nosed military types suddenly disappear for several days; when they re-appear, they are practically singing hosannas about the humanoids to anyone who will listen. Is it real, or have they been brainwashed? Keth has to undertake a dangerous mission, mostly on his own. to open humanity's eyes to the benevolent slavery of the humanoids. Does he succeed? Are the humanoids stopped?

By itself, this is a really good story from a master of science fiction. When compared to The Humanoids, the older novel is better. This is still a fine piece of writing that looks at the downside of robots and artificial intelligence.

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