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Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket.

—Capt. Malcolm Reynolds
(Nathan Fillion)
[Serenity]
Back to Book ListEdit Title

With Folded Hands

(1947)
Author: Jack Williamson
Publisher: Fantasy Press
Pages: 0
Personal Rating: 0/10
Amazon: 5/5
Goodreads: 4/5
Bindings:Compilation
Found in:The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume II A [1974]
Classifications:SciFi
Synopsis:
Underhill, a seller of "Mechanicals" (unthinking robots that perform menial tasks) in the small town of Two Rivers, is startled to find a competitor's store on his way home. The competitors are not humans but are small black robots who appear more advanced than anything Underhill has encountered before. They describe themselves as "Humanoids."

Disturbed at his encounter, Underhill rushes home to discover that his wife has taken in a new lodger, a mysterious old man named Sledge. In the course of the next day, the new mechanicals have appeared everywhere in town. They state that they only follow the Prime Directive: "to serve and obey and guard men from harm". Offering their services free of charge, they replace humans as police officers, bank tellers, and more, and eventually drive Underhill out of business. Despite the Humanoids' benign appearance and mission, Underhill soon realizes that, in the name of their Prime Directive, the mechanicals have essentially taken over every aspect of human life. No humans may engage in any behavior that might endanger them, and every human action is carefully scrutinized. Suicide is prohibited. Humans who resist the Prime Directive are taken away and lobotomized, so that they may live happily under the direction of the humanoids.