"Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful."
In the story, the tracer-birds are used to spy upon the novel's main character. It is noteworthy that Zelazny hit upon a useable way for UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) to do solar charging automatically.
The earliest reference that I know of for a robot that can charge itself is from the 1960 short story Callahan and the Wheelies by Stephen Barr. See the article for the self-charging robot.
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Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."
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Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?
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'I know kung-fu.'
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