Somewhere around the year 1988 to 1989 one of my teachers gave me a book to read. I cannot remember the name at all.

I feel like it was probably science fiction and literally the only detail I remember about it was it had some sort of maybe tall walking robots or something? I know that's very little information but does anyone have a clue?

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SciFi.SE! If you need some help in remembering extra details this handy checklist might jog your memory
    – fez
    Commented May 14 at 11:01
  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you remember the cover at all? How old the protagonist(s) is/are?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 14 at 11:01
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    Do the robots have a bipedal shape like mecha, or a mechanical form like the walkers from War of the Worlds? They wouldn't have been called "tripods" would they?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 14 at 11:10
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    How tall were the robots? 6 feet? 10 feet? 40 feet?
    – user14111
    Commented May 14 at 11:20
  • To answer your question, yes, we have lots of clues. I can name lots of books. Were the robots referred to as Walkers?
    – Mr Lister
    Commented May 14 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


There is obviously very little to go on here, but I will hazard the most obvious guess. A science fiction novel appropriate for a child, which features "tall walking robots," could be The White Mountains by John Christopher, the first of his Tripods trilogy. It's one of the most popular hard science fiction series in children's literature and an excellent adventure story.

The beginning of the Wikipedia plot summary gives a taste of what the books are about.

The story of The Tripods is a variation on post-apocalyptic literature, wherein humanity has been enslaved by "Tripods"—gigantic three-legged walking machines, piloted by unseen alien entities (later identified as "Masters"). Human society is largely pastoral, with few habitations larger than villages, and what little industry exists is conducted under the watchful presence of the Tripods. Lifestyle is reminiscent of the Middle Ages, but small artifacts from the Modern Age are still used as status symbols, such as the protagonist's father owning a watch.

The cover you would be most likely to see in the 1980s would be this one.

The White Mountains

  • FWIW, that came to my mind too — even though the tall entities are aliens and not robots.  The first two books were televised as The Tripods in 1984–5, so they were fairly well-known.
    – gidds
    Commented May 15 at 11:35

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