In a future time a man and wife enjoy breakfast as their robot servant clears the dishes. Aurora can’t get the hang of the robot, and though the mechanical man makes mistakes, Harry is a little more ttolerant of the machine. Sort of. Harry is a salesman of the mechanical helpers, but bad news comes his way when he learns of a newer model that causes him to lose sales. Just how life like are the new mechanicals? Why is Harry Underhill being given the grand tour of the rival manufacturing plant?
Showing her lack of trust in Harry’s business, Mrs Underhill takes in a boarder, Mr Sledge. Tensions at the dinner table reveal the strange reason why Mr Sledge is a refugee. What does that have to do with the new humanoids that now threaten Harry’s business? Will the nagging Mrs Underhill be won over by the flawless work of the humanoids, and be a fan of the new technology? Now it’s Harry who is resistent to technology, and the changes the humanoids are bringing.
Shades of imperfections begin to appear. Will Sledge hold the secret of getting rid of the humanoids? In a world where all work is taken out of the hands of men, and performed by machines, will it assure happiness? With the prime directive to protect human life, why will humans want to destroy that protective safety net? Will machines rise up to rule over humans?
PS: When Sledge first hears the humanoids are on earth, Harry wants to call Dr Withers. Hmm.. certainly not Dr Benjamin Franklin Withers of Lum and Abner fame!
Sledge claims to have the machine that will wipe out the humanoids, but if they’re as prolific as indicated, and they all die at once, won’t that cause problems? All their work at service will come to a halt at once, possibly endangering people through the universe.
Not saying it ends that way. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. It’s just a thought that seems to not be considered.
The title, With Folded Hands, can be thought of a figure of speech for a couple things. To fold your hands as you stand idly by, or it could refer to being laid to rest as in a coffin. Which is it? The ending represents an old fear of machines by those in the generation of the early 20th century.