Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pratchett's golems emphasise the similarity between golems and robots, especially Asimovian robots. Their "Chem" (the magic writing in their heads) restricts their behaviour, and is described in similar terms to the Three Laws of Robotics, except that the Chem is what powers the golem, as well as programming it.
Like Hex, they are not alive, but act as though they are, to a certain extent. They see themselves as posessions, and, while they desire freedom, think they must get this freedom by buying each other. (A previous attempt to get freedom by creating a king proved unsuccessful and dangerous). Recently the Golem Trust has been established to facilitate this. Technically it's a charity, but it refuses to accept donations from any other than the freed golems, because the golems are clear they must be freed by their own work.
Older golems have names, often somewhat Yiddish sounding, such as Dorfl, Menshugah and Klutz. More recently built golems simply have descriptions such as Pump or Hammer, often with an associated number detailing their location in the workplace they were created for.
The creation of new golems is illegal due to the ethical questions it raises. Many still exist, however, and destroying them is also ethically tricky. Golems are distrusted by many on the Discworld, particularly the undead, who dislike the fact they are (generally) more accepted, despite being less human. Traditionally they get "all the messy jobs". Free golems have, apparently spontaneously, formed the Ankh-Morpork volunteer fire brigade.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details