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M E L . H U N T E R


The Robot Series 1955 -1971


The Cold War was the inescapable mind set during the late 1950's and the 1960's. It produced an anguished fear in virtually everyone at that time. Amorphous panic lay just under the surface of one's daily life.

I realized, early on, that we could all do with a little relief to offset the jittery pessimism which beset everyone's life. So I conceived of this spindly, insatiably curious proto-human who tries to make sense of the blasted world in which he finds himself. He tries to find ways to obey his programming­to assist, protect and amuse his makers, if only he could find one.

I made no attempt to make him seem real. His peculiar anatomy is completely illogical and his programming, as it is gradually exposed over some fifteen episodes, is either incomplete or scrambled by the tides of radiation he must endure. He finds things buried or exposed in the endless sands of the incinerated world desert. In the backgrounds are the twisted skeletons of what were once thriving cities. Vicious flickerings of radiation bathe every horizon. But he was well-made, we pretend, so the chronicle he is piecing together can make its point.

But usually, there is a little wry humor of a silly title, or in his all-too-evident body language. These images were intended to be self-contained. They were originally commissioned by Joe and Ed Ferman and were used on 15 covers of Fantasy and Science Fiction from October 1955 through December 1971. None of the images were made with any connection to a story appearing in the magazine. They each became a brief chapter in their developing saga.

If enough of you show interest, it is my intention to make these images available as full size art print reproductions. ­Mel Hunter 2001

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