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The Golem by Avram Davidson. Gumbeiner, and the titular automaton, the Golem. The tale begins benignly enough, with the retiree couple enjoying the autumn sunshine on their porch. Their reverie is soon ruined when old Mrs. Gumbeiner starts to nag her husband about who will mow their overgrown lawn. The two exchange their musings about the oncoming being. Initially the wife comments that the stranger walks funny like there was something wrong with him. The husband then responds that the fellow walks like a golem; hinting at a popular Hebrew myth-cum-urban legend, and at this point the old pair stops talking about the stranger and begin to trade barbs with each other.
Gumbeiner, obviously an expert at taking jabs at her longsuffering husband, comments that the creature walks like his cousin, a remark that irritates Mr. The creature then strides up to the elderly Jewish and takes a seat in front of the now stunned pair. The eponymous Golem then proceeds to go into a long-winded monologue about his mission of destruction but rather than create terror, hilarity ensues as the geriatric duo just refuse to respond to its threats like normal old folks.
Humorous overtones aside the author does manage to make a bit of social commentary in that he describes the relationship between an AI and a human and in that microcosm, framing the the relationship between technology and humanity as a whole as a meta-theme of the story.
The Golem, despite its appearance, is a machine. Machines by their very nature are neutral as they are typically tools and the golem by virtue of it being a machine nothing more than a complex, humanoid tool, and in that regard supposedly neutral, with the exception of the Golem it seems…. The Golem approaches the Gumbeiners and, lo and behold, it threatens them with wide scale destruction and the possible extinction of the human race. I find this sudden declaration of war on humanity odd for a number of reasons.
First, the Golem is a simulacrum of humanity, a human shaped tool but tool nonetheless, despite all the bells and whistles. Being a machine it has no inherent reason to hate and therefore no reason or real motivation to destroy humanity. Second, Dr. Peoplehumanity as a wholeare still to blame. It sees that humanity responds with cruelty when confronted with innovation and as such must be eradicated. The story is also a very interesting new twist on the golem myth; actually, it is a series of interesting twists on the old golem story.
In the classic story, the golem, possessing superhuman strength and durability eventually turns on its masters after having served them for some time. In this story however that formula is reversed. The golem has never served anyone. It may even be speculated the machine may have never actually known that it was created to serve man.
The golem in this particular story, humorously enough, also seems to have assumed that it was an indestructible humanoid engine of destruction when in truth it is not. Here the Golem makes a couple of lofty but incorrect assumptions about humanity, the relationship of humans and machines, and its own nature and design and ends up fulfilling what it might have been, for all anyone knows, actually built for.
Despite being categorized as a sci-fi a strong theme played out in the story is love. The love and regard that exists between Mr. Gumbeiner is truly heartwarming and Avram Davidson is able to show a love that is a pure, gallant love devoid of the usual hot-blooded passion that or melodramatic pap that one typically finds. He is able to deftly depict a love that has bloomed over the many years and has transcended, presumably, many biological constraints. Unsurprisingly, it is actually love that saves the day in the story and perhaps it was a deliberate move on part of the author.
The Golem makes the grave mistake of disrespecting Mrs. Gumbeiner, an act that gets it a prompt pimp slapping by an enraged Mr.
The ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered: was the Golem actually a death machine that was fortunately laid low by an incensed old man? Will the Golem eventually turn on the Gumbeiners after realizing that it has been turned into yet another mechanical slave? Gumbeiner are alive I guess the Earth can rest easy. I challenge you to try reading it without imagining your old Jewish comedian of choice as the voice of the Gumbeiners. All that legal mumbo jumbo just means you're free to use any part or entirety of this reaction for any non-commercial purpose as long as you cite the author.
The Golem Summary
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. Gumbeiner , and the titular Golem. The tale begins benignly enough, with the retiree couple enjoying the autumn sunshine on their porch. Their reverie is soon ruined when old Mrs. Gumbeiner starts to nag her husband about who will mow their overgrown lawn. Gumbeiner commenting that the creature walks like his cousin, to Mr. The grey hued humanoid continues to plod along and wordlessly strolls up to the senior couple and silently sits down, unbidden, in front of them, which is more that they can take.
“The Golem” by Avram Davidson
Post a Comment. While The Golem is a masterpiece of satirical science fiction, and has the taste of allegory, a science fictional reading of it shows it to be more akin to Ballard's The Drowned Giant than, say, a O. Henry short. This is the curious bit about the science fiction 'megatext' that has always astounded me: not only are new science fiction stories written in tension with the older established classics, the latter ones go back to shed new light on the old.
Avram Davidson April 23, — May 8, was an American writer of fantasy fiction , science fiction, and crime fiction , as well as the author of many stories that do not fit into a genre niche. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says "he is perhaps sf's most explicitly literary author". Davidson was born in in Yonkers, New York to Jewish parents. This made his conversion to Tenrikyo in the s unexpected. Although he had a reputation for being quick to anger, Davidson was known among his friends for his generosity.
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