| || The 20,000 A.D. Stories|
by Nat Schachner and Arthur Leo Zagat
First story: Wonder Stories, Sep 1930
Tom Jenkins heads into the “Vanishing Woods” to prove that there’s nothing dangerous about them, but he doesn’ return until six months later, and he refuses to talk about where he’s been and what he’ seen—but fortunately for us, the titles of the two Wonder Story stories (“In 20,000 A.D.” in Sep 1930 and “Back to 20,000 A.D.” in Mar 1931) gives us a big clue, although it doesn’t tell us that the world he visits is divided into cold-hearted Masters and their four-armed, giant human Robots.
The use of the word “robot” had not yet evolved from Čapek’s meaning of a humanoid laborer to the modern usage as a purely mechanical being.
True, he says, the Masters are far advanced, an’ able to do lots o’ thingsas a result. They’ve learnt everything there was to be learnt, they can live on the earth, in the air, in the water, or underground; they can travel to the other stars; they know how the world come about an’ when it’s ending, they think great thoughts an’things I couldn’t even understand, but, he says, what about the Robots?