Robots in Popular Culture
Androids and Cyborgs in the American Imagination
by Richard A. Hall
July 2021, 325pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7384-3
$97, £72, 84€, A132
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7385-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

For the last 200 years, fictional narratives have warned of the dangers of playing God. For the last century, those narratives have included, specifically, robots.

Robots in Popular Culture: Androids and Cyborgs in the American Imagination seeks to provide one go-to reference for the study of the most popular and iconic robots in American popular culture.

In the last 10 years, technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have become not only a daily but a minute-by-minute part of American life—more integrated into our lives than anyone would have believed even a generation before. Americans have long known the adorable and helpful R2-D2 and the terrible possibilities of Skynet and its army of Terminators. Throughout, we have seen machines as valuable allies and horrifying enemies. Today, Americans cling to their mobile phones with the same affection that Luke Skywalker felt for the squat R2-D2. Meanwhile, our phones, personal computers, and cars have attained the ability to know and learn everything about us.

This volume opens with essays about robots in popular culture, followed by 100 A–Z entries on the most famous AIs in film, comics, and more. Sidebars highlight ancillary points of interest, such as authors, creators, and tropes that illuminate the motives of various robots. The volume closes with a glossary of key terms and a bibliography providing students with resources to continue their study of what robots tell us about ourselves.

Features

  • Provides readers with detailed information on popular examples of robots/AI in American popular culture
  • Provides readers with considerable Further Reading suggestions, including scholarly, pop culture, and scientific readings on each topic
  • Places popular examples of robots/AI in pop culture in proper historical perspective
  • Provides scholarly material that gives readers additional important historical context in five essays
  • Gives equal coverage to a diverse array of robots, from the well-known to the obscure
Richard A. Hall, PhD, is author of The American Superhero: Encyclopedia of Caped Crusaders in History; Pop Goes the Decade: The Seventies; The American Villain: Encyclopedia of Bad Guys in Comics, Film, and Television; and Pop Goes the Decade: The 2000s. He lives in Laredo, TX.

Awards

LJ Best Reference of 2021—Library Journal, March 1, 2022

Reviews

"Fun, thought-provoking examination of contemporary society’s use of robots and the continual evolution of AI and robotics."—Library Journal, October 1, 2021
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