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I, Robot (Voyager Classics) Hardcover – Special Edition, 28 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Clothbound edition edition (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007491514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007491513
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.4 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

An exciting science thriller…’ New York Times

From the Back Cover

Isaac Asimov ushered in the Robot Age with these stories. Far removed from the metal monsters of pulp sf, his positronic robots gave him the scope to examine the minefield of human psychology by exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence.

When Earth is ruled by master-machines, when robots often seem more human than mankind, the Three Laws of Robotics ensure that humans remain superior and the robots are kept in their rightful place. But an insane telepathic robot results from a production error; a robot assembled in space logically deduces its superiority to non-rational humanity; and when machines serve mankind rather than individual humans, the machine's idea of what is good for society may itself contravene the sacred Three Laws.

These timeless stories from the Grand Master of science fiction provide a fascinating insight into how robot and humans might coexist. Asimov's questioning of definitions of humanity and human behaviour continues to capture the imagination in these brilliantly inventive and thought-provoking tales.

'Asimov displayed one of the most dynamic imaginations in science fiction'
DAILY TELEGRAPH

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman VINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is groundbreaking science fiction, introducing a concept or philosophy that spread past the work of Asimov and penetrated the consciousness of the genre in general. The short stories in "I, Robot" introduce the idea of the non-Frankensteinian robot, one who cannot harm his creator by virtue of the Three Laws of Robotics:
1 - A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2 - A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3 - A robot must protect its own existence
We almost take these laws for granted, but their structure is brilliant, and they give rise to some great robot science fiction from the hand of one of sci-fi's most beloved authors.
Sad to say, despite creating a brilliant character in Susan Calvin, the iron-minded scientist who is central to the invention of the robot, Asimov's characters are typically cartoonish and cliche. Worse yet, he breaks the law of fiction whereby he uses the slang of the Fifties, thus dating the book immeasurably. If you grew up in the Fifties, reading this is a breath of nostalgia--not the best thing for futuristic fiction. If you are a Generation X'er, the style has the campiness of a comic book. Which is not helpful to the smart plots of the stories.
I have to say that "I, Robot" was one of my adolescent favorites and I still enjoy the stories. "Robbie" pits the big metal beast, beloved by a child, against the fears of the adults. Perfect showcase for the Laws. And the ideas in "Liar"--a mind-reading robot, are the nucleus for later novels by Asimov. These are worth reading, even though sadly dated.
Contents:
Robbie
Runaround
Reason
Catch That Rabbit
Liar!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By P. R. Rustage on 24 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is THE robot classic. With that though come lots of problems for the contemporary reader.
Pretty well every robot in science fiction is somehow related to this book - either by being just like Asimov's robots (Star Treks's "Data" was openly acknowledged to be an Asimov robot) or by being deliberately unlike them. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of this novel - it created a precedent that could either be used or abused by subsequent writers.
Having said all that what is it like reading this ground breaking novel today 40 years later?
OK the style may be very 50's, the techno babble may no longer be credible but the stories are still good. Having set up the famous "3 laws of Robotics", Asimov then goes on to create a series of puzzles - each one is a mystery that can only be solved by understanding the rules he has created. The stories have the same appeal as whodunnits except the question is sometimes howdunnit, whydunnit, where or when dunnit. In general each of his stories poses the question " Considering the rules under which robots have to work how is it possible that ....?" Finding the answer is the fun.
It is a testament to Asimov that although the sci-fi, social, and stylistic elements of this book may now seem outdated, the stories are so good they still provide enjoyable reading.
Those seeking nano technology, alternative universes, worm holes etc may be dissapointed but those seeking a series of intriguing mysteries only solvable through logic will get a real kick out of this. Additionally, if you found Data's difficulties in coming to terms with the human view of the universe intriguing and entertaining, you will find lots to enjoy here.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
Assimov's classic and masterful collection of short stories really needs no introduction. If you haven't read it or heard of it I urge you to buy it immediately especially if you're a fan of proper science fiction. Anyone with a logical and open minded dispostion with an interest in science, even cursory, will find this book enthralling. Many of the stories involve some problem that needs to be solved through logic, but psycology (both human and robot) also plays a large part. Don't expect the robots in this novel to be walking tin cans. Many of them display more human traits than their human researchers and their personalities are intricately complex and often play centre stage in the stories with the humans playing a second best. If ever their was a book to change your way of how you look at computer intelligence, then it's probably this one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
The word "robot" comes from Karel Capek's play "R.U.R.," where it refers to automatic laborers of organic origin (i.e., androids). However, the notion of "robot" that exists in the popular consciousness today is due in large part to the writings of Isaac Asimov. Before the short stories that were eventually collected as in this "I, Robot" volume robot stories in Science Fiction pulp magazines in the Frankenstein mode or as ways of delineating the differences between humans and machines. But Asimov reset the genre with his Three Laws of Robotics. The stories that followed explored the logical and narrative possibilities inherent in the apparent contradiction of those laws. The ethical question of whether robots are "human" is not central to these stories; they are clearly machines, but they are so inherently ethical that it is hard not to see some sort of superiority to their existence. After all, their prime directive of preserving of human life and limb in ingrained in their positronic brains; most human beings do not have that stricture any where near being firmly entrenched in their cognitive structures.
The "I, Robot" stories are arranged in a "chronological" order that traces the development of these robots from their primitive origins to their evolutionary destiny, where human beings may well end up being rendered obsolete. Asimov explores the possibilities of his three laws to present us robots that have gone insane, robots that can read minds, and robots that save humanity by taking over to run the world.
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