Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anthony Boucher's "Q.U.R." (as by H H Holmes) (novelette): How the world moved from androids to function-specific robots

I found it a silly story, though readable enough. But it must have been well regarded once, given that I found it in "Adventures in Time & Space".

Title stands for "Quinby's Usuform Robots". Dugglesmarther H Quinby is the inventor.

Story summary.

In a world where androids are common place, some sort of a disease is sweeping through this android population - limbs refuse to work, random babbling, ... Quinby, a young engineer, has an idea: since androids are normally deployed for special purposes, their unused parts atrophy, as they would in humans! So we get a great business idea: making special purpose robots, instead of all-purpose androids.

See also.

  1. Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "The Proud Robot" (download): This hilarious story features perhaps science fiction's most famous beer bottle opener. The Boucher story features a cocktail mixer in somewhat similar spirit.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, March 1943.
Rating: B.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Anthony Boucher.