Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Why Do You Humans Prey on One Another, in This and So Many Other Phases of Life?"

"Adam Link, Robot Detective."
By "Eando Binder" (Otto Binder, 1911-74).
First appearance: Amazing Stories, May 1940.
Collected in Adam Link — Robot (1965) (available on Kindle; for sale HERE).
TV appearances (2): The Outer Limits ("I, Robot"), November 14, 1964 and (remake) July 23, 1995.
Novelette (24 pages).
Online at Archive.org HERE (if necessary scroll to page 42).
A few pages from the comics version scripted by Binder HERE.
"Adam Link, the strangest character ever to gain the status of a human being, finds a new field for his talents and dons human guise to become a detective."
More human than most humans, Adam Link, the ethical robot, gets himself into a peck of trouble when Eve, his soulmate, is framed for several murders and he must go incognito into a twilight world of human dregs and criminals to ferret out the gang (straight from Central Casting) that set her up. While he's doing that, we'll also learn why, for reasons that should be obvious, Adam makes a superb poker player.

Chapter I:
   "It had begun to rain. Kneeling beside her, I removed my top skull-plate. The rain, pouring into my sensitive iridium-sponge brain, would short-circuit my life current. I would join Eve in blessed non-existence."
Chapter II - My Disguise:
   "Most humans unconsciously glance at someone passing. Their glances at me showed nothing of surprise or suspicion. Only at times, a slight repugnance. A wholly natural reaction, in that I was no debonair fashion-plate, but a seedy, degenerate looking individual."
Chapter III - My First Clue:
   "'You play a mean game, Pete. You sit there like a mummy. You don't even move your eyes. You really concentrate!' I laughed within myself. If they had only known that little more than one-tenth of my brain was on this trivial game. All the while my full mental powers were concentrated on scanning the room and tuning in methodically from conversation to conver-sation."
Chapter IV - I Am "Taken for a Ride":
   "Suddenly two ugly automatics were pointing at me, from both sides at once. The men had come around the boxes. I could have leaped away, easily, even then. But again something warned me not to risk exposure of my identity. Better to act the part of a human, caught like a rat in a trap."
Chapter V - The Crime Ring:
   "As the minutes slipped by, I was amazed at the ramifications of his ring. I began to doubt he could be a human being. He must be a frightful monster, human in name only."
Chapter VI - I Go to the Rescue:
   "Now was the moment. Within me, my distributor clicked over little automatic relays that released a flood of electricity through my steely frame. With one blow of my fist I splintered the door in half. I sprang into the room. Five startled men jerked around."
Chapter VII - I Face a "Monster":
   "But they weren't fools. I had underestimated them. I didn't notice till too late what one held in his hand—a bomb grenade. He pulled the pin and tossed it at my feet. It exploded with a dull thunder. I swayed, then toppled."
Chapter VIII - The Final Hour:
   "Adam Link, detective! This is your first and last case. Goodbye!"
Here are the ten Adam Link stories:
~ "I, Robot," Amazing Stories, January 1939
~ "The Trial of Adam Link, Robot," Amazing Stories, July 1939
~ "Adam Link in Business," Amazing Stories, January 1940
~ "Adam Link's Vengeance," Amazing Stories, February 1940
~ "Adam Link, Robot Detective," Amazing Stories, May 1940
~ "Adam Link, Champion Athlete," Amazing Stories, July 1940
~ "Adam Link Fights a War," Amazing Stories, December 1940
~ "Adam Link in the Past," Amazing Stories, February 1941
~ "Adam Link Faces a Revolt," Amazing Stories, May 1941
~ "Adam Link Saves the World," Amazing Stories, April 1942.
(Note: Four Amazing Stories covers featuring Adam Link on one page are HERE.)
Resources:
- A good short account about Adam Link is on Allreaders.com:
Adam Link is one sadly misunderstood robot. Humans treat him like a monster, but he really is a robot with real human emotions. He has television cameras for eyes, and microphones for ears, with the strength of a machine, but the sensitiv-ity of a man. He saves humans from a burning building, and fights off alien invaders from a distant star, but humans still fear and hate him. They bring him to trial for the alleged murder of his creator, the brilliant but reclusive scientist, Dr. Charles Link. 
After Adam Link is exonerated for the alleged murder, he then seeks United States citizenship and fights for the same rights as humans. 
He tells this story in his own words, telling it matter of factly, without anger or resentment to the humans that hate him. He absolutely refuses to hurt a human being. — Allreaders.com (HERE)
And TV Tropes sums up the character nicely:
Adam comes across as a very sympathetic character, the story being essentially an analysis of what the Frankenstein monster might have become if his creator had acted as a loving and responsible father instead of a jerk. — "Adam Link," TV Tropes (HERE)
- Our last contact with Eando Binder (both of him) was (HERE), while an encounter with another robot private eye was (HERE); and of course we should never forget Commander Data (HERE).

The bottom line: "Robots do not hold on to life. They can't. They have nothing to hold on with — no soul, no instinct. Grass has more will to live than they do."
Karel Čapek

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