Clay Forester is a research scientist in a society poised for apocalyptic war with a totalitarian neighbor. Once he learned for the sake of learning, now defense work is his lifeblood, the essence of a society with a single-minded focus on war. Then the Humanoids show up.
In this tale of ‘50s America transported to outer-space Jack Williamson spins one of his most dystopian of utopias. The Humanoids are graceful, indestructible, black-plastic coated robots. Their single imperative is to serve and protect mankind, and especially to protect him from himself. The result is a surrealist tale of war between a galactic empire of robots and a tiny band of refugees waged on a level far beyond the merely physical.
Williamson’s mastery of pace and characterization match his grasp of the philosophical and moral complexities of his cybernetic proposition. The direst consequences proceed from a will to do what is best for mankind. Good and evil are sharply defined only to become confused again in an instant. The Humanoids is one of SF’s most challenging and rewarding novels.