Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's Forgotten (or Overlooked) Books:THE ROBOT BOOK by Robert Malone

THE ROBOT BOOK by Robert Malone was published in 1978, created and produced by PUSH PIN PRESS under the design direction of famed design maven, illustrator and co-founder of Push Pin Studios, Seymour Chwast. The book's designer was Richard Mantel, but the Chwast imprint is self-evident.

I've owned this wonderfully designed thing for years, it's part of my research library. The robot image on the cover has dye-cut eyes and when you flip the cover open, you get a whole page (in simple colors against black) of computer guts. Well, that's what I call the circuit boards for want of a better description.

Inside THE ROBOT BOOK are many robot-related figures, drawings, photos of actual robots - some very primitive, scenes from films, sci-fi magazine covers, assorted artwork and interesting bits of robotics history.

The following three spreads from the book were photographed and first appeared on the Arquelogia del Futuro blog.

The following magazine covers (among several others) are also featured in THE ROBOT BOOK:

Not a comprehensive look at the science - real or imagined - of robotics by any means, but still a welcome addition to a library. It has just enough information to intrigue, but not to overwhelm with esoteric scientific jargon. In other words: a fun book..

Forgotten Book Friday, is a weekly meme hosted by Patti Abbott at her blog, PATTINASE, but Patti is traveling, so Todd Mason at SWEET FREEDOM has taken over Link Central this week. Please check his site to see what other 'forgotten or overlooked' books other bloggers are talking about today. There is an especially good list this week.


  1. Very unusual, Yvette. So many of the robot illustrations are more like androids, aren't they? And look at what real robots are like these days. Nothing at all like the ones in Forbidden Planet of Lost in Space. Spot welding, one armed machines used for the more dangerous tasks in manufacturing is what I see first when someone mentions robots.

  2. Those are usuform robots, as opposed to android (human-shaped) robots...both were present in sf, but androids, of course, usually allow for more dramatic potential.

    I certainly remember this book, Yvette, though I've never owned a copy, I think. Some notable covers, even if the FUTURE issue is for a story by Robert Sheckley, a major writer, while looking rather post-THE DAY EARTH STOOD STILL generic...Chwast and Chast are just ripe for confusion.

  3. John: I always think of the films when someone mentions robots. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and STAR WARS and of course, Data from Star Trek The Next Generation who was, I suppose, an android. It'a all robotics to me.

    The first time I ever thought of robots NOT shaped in human form was when I saw my first Star Wars film.

    There were many robots in that first film and later that did not take basic 'human' form. Though the gold one, C3P0-? is my very favorite.

    Gort had a lot going for him too. :)

  4. Todd: I love that 'Future' Cover of the robot walking up the steps. It always makes me smile.

    This is a terrific book, worth looking for. LOVE the cover.

    Chwast and Chast - bound to cause trouble. Ha.

  5. BTW, the GALAXY cover with the "female" android being repaired is another example of the Ed Emshwiller paintings using his wife Carol Emshwiller and himself as models...I FFB'd Carol Emshwiller's retrospective collection as one of my books two weeks ago.

  6. Interesting book, Yvette. I have always been intrigued by robots and androids.

    I also had a thing for Gort ;)

    My nomination for a forgotten book would be the poet ee cummings autobiographical novel entitled "The Enormous Room," which was about his temporary imprisonment in France during World War I.

  7. Todd: Small world. I'll take a good long look when I have a moment. It's all interconnected, isn't it? One thing leads to another. That's one of many things I love about blogging.

    Plus, you 'meet' so many interesting people. :)

    Remember when they used to 'open' up Data on Star Trek Next Generation and even, when they used to work on the arms or whatever of the Six Million Dollar Man once upon a time?

    I bet they got their ideas from this cover and maybe the story.

    Anything's possible.

  8. Pat: Why don't you join in on Friday's meme? I admit I've never heard of the book you mention.

    But then, I'm learning that there are tons of books I've never of.

    Very intimidating. :)


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