Don't look now, but you're surrounded by robots. Big ones, little ones, and medium sized ones. They're all around you."" So opens Julian May's delightfully palatable discussion of machines of all kinds that can make decisions with only a minimum of human help. Telephones, toasters, gasoline pumps, farm and industrial machinery, that great bulk of automatic equipment so essential to modern life can all be classified as robots or robot-operated. Separate chapters are devoted to robots in industry, business and research; space robots and computers are dealt with in more detail. Within this unique framework, the secrets of complicated machinery are revealed and painlessly administered. Formerly, the subject of robots has had a place only within the realm of science fiction. It is both enlightening and frightening to follow its transition into the realm of science fact in the final chapter here on Automata.