Clay Forester is a scientist working in a weapons laboratory on a distant planet, when a vast army of robotic "humanoids" land and, as they have done on countless other worlds, take control of every aspect of human society. The official line is to "guard men from harm", but in fact the humanoids deny any meaningful freedom to their human victims. Forester tries to fight back, with the help of a vagabond band of "psychophysical" adepts with amazing transphysical powers. Forester's long fight against the strictures and despotic "protections" offered by the humanoids makes a fascinating tale, which Damon Knight called "without a doubt, one of the most important science-fantasy books of its decade."
Author's self-revealing Afterword, "Me And My Humanoids", also included.
"Without a doubt, one of the most important science-fantasy books of its decade."
- Damon Knight
"On looking back over his long and influential career, I have no hesitation in placing Jack Williamson on a level with the two other American giants, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein."
- Arthur C. Clarke
"A giant in the field of science fiction...When you're the acknowledged Dean of Science Fiction, you're allowed to coast a little. Jack is the only writer around who has demonstrably improved with every passing decade."
- Mike Resnick
"He is a man of extraordinary talent and consummate humility, of penetrating intelligence and great kindness, a scholar and a gentleman. We are unbelievably lucky to have him as one of the forefathers of the field."
- Connie Willis
"Not only is he (Jack Williamson) one of the best-loved figures in the field of science fiction, he has been a pioneering writer, breaking ground in new areas long before most of us had learned how to read."
- Ben Bova
"Like the best of... wines, vintage Williamson travels well."
- David Weber
"For most of a century, Jack Williamson has been exploring the edges of what human destiny might become."
- David Brin
Williamson's sci-fi tale of a battle between human beings and a race of humanoids they have created first appeared in Astounding magazine in the 1940s.