Friday, September 14, 2012
Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey
Two robotics experts create a perfect artificial woman, complete with human emotions. Through an innocent mistake one of the creators of Helen needs to go to work and leaves her with instructions to clean the house and prepare dinner. In her free time she was allowed to watch "stereo casts". This story was published in 1938 and television was still very much in the experimental/start-up phase of the industry. del Rey took what he knew about broadcast radio and blended it with the cutting edge technology of the day, television. At the time television, as a term, wasn't coined yet.
In any case Helen spent a lot of time watching - get this - soap operas! Helen learns how to be a doting wife to one of her creators.
The story is a good one and still stands the test of time. Maybe not in the preconceived notions of what a woman should be like but in the field of robotics.
Keep in mind that this was a time of aggressive German expansionism; WWII is not far away.
Helen O'Loy was first published in Astounding magazine, December 1938.
Information on Lester del Rey can be found HERE and HERE