And here's the post I wanted to make last night.
Today in 1938 (now yesterday here, but there's ten or so hours of it left in more westerly portions of the globe), the BBC broadcast a live excerpt from Karel Čapek's play R.U.R.. For those who care about such things, this was the first, as far as is known, televised science fiction show.
Obviously, this being before the invention of videotape, no recordings exist, but here's an audio-reading of the play. It's not particularly mind-blowing, and struggles, I think, to decide what issues it wants to address. The perennial Playing God, slavery, workers' rights, capitalism and Luddism; they're all kinda muddled together so that the listener—or at least this listener—is never sure what point, if any, is being made. And feminism? Forget it! The 'marriage proposal' scene is creepy beyond words, and even the fact that I think the original intent was for it to be more, erm, cajoling in tone, doesn't de-creepify it much. (Possibly I'm taking the scene too literally? I suppose an argument could be made that it was intended to be a short-hand representation of a longer wooing, and would be understood as such by a contemporary audience. But I doubt it.)
And I don't get the ending. Without wishing to indulge in spoilers, it's kind of unsatisfying. It sounds as if the couple referred to at the end as Adam and Eve are supposed to have, by virtue of romantic feeling, solved the problem being worked on. But well, massive plot-hole: they haven't!
Still an' all, this is SF history, both by dint of the age of the play (any serious attempt at non-magazine or non-novelised SF from 1920 has a certain rarity value, after all) and by dint of the BBC's groundbreaking TV presentation.
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