The biggest and best book of my career is finally out in public where people can see it, read it, and even buy it. Robots in American Popular Culture (by someone named Steve Carper) is the first comprehensive history of robots in media. Despite the academic title (fought 'em for six months and lost) and the academic publisher, McFarland, I guarantee that it contains no academic speak and should be loads of fun to read. (But the name got me in to deliver a paper on robots at the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association conference in November, so it has its uses.)
I believe that robots as we know 'em first entered popular culture on January 8, 1868, when a young inventor unveiled a seven-foot-tall steam man, designed to replace the horse. (Yes, it was a con, just like almost every other supposed robot unveiled over the next century.) There’s a huge amount of lost history predating modern science fiction: I don’t get to Isaac Asimov until midway through Chapter 9. (He was beaten to the three laws of robotics, too.) Then I breeze through robot history right down to Stormy Daniels as a sexbot in 2016. Every entry is backed by massive documentation: 750 footnotes, a thousand-item bibliography (sorted by media type), and a 1500-entry index. If you want to use this as a textbook you’ll find information available nowhere else.
The mods ruled that I couldn’t post where to buy the book in my post in CS, so I get to do so here.
The easiest place to get it is Amazon. Price is $45.00, steep for a trade paperback, but academic publishing is like that. A Kindle edition is available for $9.99.
Barnes and Noble also sells the trade pb for $45.00 but the Nook edition is $18.99
My publisher, McFarland, also has the book for $45.00 but does not have the ebook available.
Since it’s an academic title, most bookstores will not carry it, but they can all order it for you.
Thanks to one and all. If you want to comment you can do so at my companion site, RobotsInAmericanPopularCulture.com. You should stop there in any case. It has over 350 images keyed to the text page, so you can follow along as you read. And there are links to more than 50 other robot articles I’ve done.