Jump to content

Recommended Posts

R.U.R. is a stage play that debuted in 1921 and introduced the world to the word "robot."  The acronym stands for Rossum's Universal Robots.  Author Karel Copek's idea of a robot resembles our notions of androids or Blade Runner style replicants.  Rossum's creations are artificial human beings whose synthetic organs and tissues are grown in vats and assembled like car parts.  In the far future of A.D. 2000 robots are essential to the global economy.  They initially don't mind working with their hands to serve mankind, thwarting the efforts of civil rights groups to free them.  Eventually, however, they decide they've had enough and revolt.  So that trope has been present from the beginning.

So what does all this have to do with Cthulhu, you ask?  Well, Rossum invented his artificial protoplasm in 1932, still within the usual CoC era.  He was interested in creating artificial pets and animals; it was his business saavy nephew who conceived of using the process to mass produce cheap labor.  In summary, you've got a mad scientist with a monster-making technique that works quite well, thank you.  You've got his greedy, unscrupulous nephew with dreams of making big money.  You've got artificial people who can't easily be distinguished from normal humans and who may have agendas of their own.  You've got an isolated lab filled with vats of living body parts and God only knows what sort of creatures penned up; If you can't assemble something out of that for your Halloween gaming session, I don't know what to tell you.

Edited by seneschal
Correct spelling
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidentally, c.f. Capek’s War with the Newts (Válka s mloky) (1936) with HPL’s Deep Ones.  Capek’s Newts are aquatic, intelligent giant salamander-like creatures living in the Malay archipelago.  Like his robots, they’re enslaved by humanity but successfully rebel, ultimately displacing humans as the planet’s dominant species.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, seneschal said:

Rossum's Universal Robots

robot comes from the word for "slave labor"; Čapek was a ferocious antifascist and the Nazis, after invading, listed him as their second-most-wanted individual in the Occupied Territories for his political and intellectual work against totalitarianism. He died of pneumonia in 1938 while still in hiding.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 1d8+DB said:

So, what if Rossum's artificial protoplasm came from those Ur-slaves: the shoggoths. 

I think we can assume that's a given

Čapek has shown us the Deep Ones are not monstrous, but the shoggoths are definitely living tissue Grey Goo

Today I learned the term "ecophage"

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, 1d8+DB said:

So, what if Rossum's artificial protoplasm came from those Ur-slaves: the shoggoths. 

The protoplasm becomes an important plot point in the play.  The robots win their freedom only to discover that the closely guarded secret of creating artificial life has been destroyed.  Even though they are "fully functional" like Star Trek's Commander Data, they can't immediately find a way to replenish their population.

If that secret is somehow borrowed from the makers of shoggoths, I can conceive of all sorts of things that could go nastily wrong both during and after robot manufacture.  Especially since Rossum's animal things are created by the same ptocess.  A factory error could give us John Carpenter's The Thing.

"But I'm still ME, Anna, even if I do now have pseudopods and sharp, pointy teeth!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my brain chewing on the idea of  'Shoggroids'. 

 

So the 'robots' individually are only marginally stronger and more durable than humans. 

But they have a ritual, Communion, by which they can merge, to become protean engines of destruction: true Shoggoths.  Only the merging, which is both physical and mental,  takes a terrible toll on their sanity, and many are left psychically destroyed by the experience.

The more individuals that partake in the  Communion, the more powerful  the  resulting  Shoggoth;  but the more  taxing the  process.

Certain fanatical, and unscrupulous robots have been trying  exotic narcotics in their Communion rites;  the idea is that the un-narcotized  leader/magus will be able to guide/control the other minds created in the resulting gestalt/organism,  resulting  in less psychic fragmentation. 

A side result of this is that the followers of such a leader/magus become  psychologically dependent upon the leader/magus.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...