Friday, February 11, 2011


The first science fiction televsion program aired on the BBC on this day, 1938. I happened to stumble upon this little piece of trivia while browsing Wikipedia and it stood out to me for two reasons: robots and Karel Capek. A coworker's daughter actually just drew me (and everyone in our department) a picture of a robot - she's only 3 and, when asked why she chose to draw everyone robots, APL blog contributor Evelyn Carnahan replied that for some mysterious reason this is her new favorite thing to draw. Apart from finding that truly adorable, I have also been listening to a lot of Daft Punk lately, particularly Alive 2007, for no other reason than a recurring mood to dance around my apartment while getting dressed in the morning ("Robot Rock" at 7AM? Yes, please!). So, I've had robots on the brain this week...

But really, what got me going about finding out about the first sci-fi television program was the fact that it was based on Karel Capek's play, R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots. Capek is credited with coining the term robot, which was first introduced in R.U.R. Capek wrote novels, plays, and short stories and was considered to be Czechoslovakia's most prominent literary figure in the 1920s and 1930s; indeed, he is one of Czechoslovakia's most renowned literary figures of all time. I actually knew his name from the one novel I've read by him, War With the Newts. I absolutely loved that book - it's a science fiction story about a race of creatures, the Newts, that live below the sea and are discovered and exploited by humans. I've actually never met anyone, other than the person that introduced me to Capek, who has even heard of him. But, if you're a lover of sci-fi, I'd say he's an author you shouldn't miss (I mean, come on, he invented the term and concept of robots!) and we have tons of his work at the library:

The Absolute at Large

Apocryphal Tales: With a Selection of Fables and Would-be Tales

Cross Roads

The Gardener's Year
This is actually a nonfiction book about gardening - it's beautifully written and can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their level of affection (or lack thereof) for the subject.


Nine Fairy Tales: And One More Thrown in For Good Measure

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