Last week, I talked about a book I picked up at C2E2, shown above. It's a vintage Star Wars kid's book that's "all about robots", supposedly written by C3PO. (Though, anyone over five understands this pretext because they understand that Star Wars isn't real.) (It's real in my heart, of course.)
We left off talking about a super special "office mail sorter" robot that apparently exists in businesses EVERYWHERE! It runs along the floor on special chemicals and everyone uses them because THIS IS THE FUTURE!
Page 9 moves us along to the more exciting robots, not just talking ketchup bottles and magicians. First up, the "Flying Eyeball!" The Flying Eyeball can "go in to places that are far too dangerous for human divers." Once again, making our robot friends do all the jobs we don't like to do. Soon we'll be building a giant fence to keep out unwanted robo-workers who keep taking all our crappy deep-sea diving jobs. You get the feeling the Flying Eyeball page is what gave James Cameron the obsession with IMAX movies. I do seem to recall him saying once that he saw Star Wars and realized he could give up truck driving for making movies.
The next page talks about other explorer robots -- ROBOTS IN SPACE! This section re-asserts its robo-authority by pointing out that robots were first in space, not dirty humans. It talks about Lunar Orbiters, Voyager 1 and 2, and the NASA Surveyors, which went to the moon before any of the manned missions. (Probably in order to wheel around by itself and jump on all the beds before Neil Armstrong could tell it to stop that right now.) In fact, the Surveyor III is so awesome that Apollo 12's crew had to go out and fetch it to bring it back to Earth, like when you first got that remote controlled airplane from Radio Shack and couldn't figure out how to land it in the back yard instead of crashing it in to your neighbor's azaleas.
Next, we speculate that some day in the future, NASA might be able to build a complicated rover-bot that can wheel around on distant planets like Mars! Won't that be neat?! I can't wait for that! (Okay, so this book was written in 1983, I should give it a break. It was an accurate guess.) In '76, a mere year before Star Wars, NASA sent the Viking Landers to Mars. The Viking Landers took pictures and scooped up soil, but couldn't move around like Spirit and Opportunity later on. I like how they drew C3PO adjusting stuff on the Viking Lander. From that angle, it looks like a mini Millennium Falcon. Of course, from any angle, Spirit and Opportunity look like WALL-E.
"Have you ever wished for a robot to do your chores? Some robot experts believe that domestic robots of the future will make your wish come true." These experts are generally unemployed and enjoy smoking their glaucoma medicine while watching reruns of The Jetsons. "Dude. Rosie. I'd hit it. Then I'd have her do the laundry." Roombas aside, I want to know what experts think maidbots are going to happen in the near future. So now robots are taking jobs we don't want from the humans we don't want to have them? OUTRAGEOUS! Also, the Protocol Droid is washing dishes, I don't know if you noticed. What the hell.
Some day soon, like in 1990, there may be hundreds of thousands of robots working in factories. There may be robot factories built by robots and run by robots and full of robot unions striving for robo-equality, robots. IT COULD HAPPEN. Just like this robot of the future, which has no discernible purpose, but that C3PO is gonna ride like a rodeo bull.
That. Is. ...what.
This is seriously how the book ends. "Someday you may be working with an advanced robot that looks a great deal like C3PO." Remember how C3PO is the one writing this book? Or maybe he was just our "guide" in a few of the illustrations. At any rate, apparently even robots need sexbots to service their needs.
Saddle up, Goldenrod!