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"There's no point in making a mistake unless you understand the mistake so that you donít make it again."
- Alfred Bester

Construct  
  An artificial being, a pastiche of living and robotic pieces.  

As far as I know, this is the first use of this expression in science fiction.

There was a sharp click! a whirring and clattering, a stir of massive forms all across the gloomy chamber. Magnan yipped and leaped back as a construct the size of a fork-lift stirred into motion, turned, creaking, and surveyed him with a pair of what were indisputably glowing amber eyes.

"We're surrounded," Magna chirped faintly. "And they told us the planet was uninhabited'!"

"It is," Retief said, as more giant shapes moved forward, accompanied by the squeak of unlubricated metal.


(Construct from 'Retief, the Long-Awaited Master' by Keith Laumer)

"Then what are these?" Magnan came back sharply. "Oversized spooks?"

"Close, but not kewpie doll," Retief said. "This. is the city garage, and these are maintenance robots."

"R-r-robots?"

"Our coming in must have triggered them to come to alert status."

They moved along the row of giant machines, each equipped with a variety of limbs, organs, and sensors.

Technovelgy from Retief, the Long-Awaited Master, by Keith Laumer.
Published by Worlds of IF in 1969
Additional resources -

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  More Ideas and Technology from Retief, the Long-Awaited Master
  More Ideas and Technology by Keith Laumer
  Tech news articles related to Retief, the Long-Awaited Master
  Tech news articles related to works by Keith Laumer

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