Customer Reviews


44 Reviews
5 star:
 (25)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still good after all these years
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...
Published on 24 Mar 2002 by P. R. Rustage

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book but wrong cover
This is a fantastic read, you have to love Asimov's work. However Amazon sent me a completely different cover to the one shown! I was instead given the cover used from the movie adaptation with Will Smith on the front. I love you Will Smith, but I still have to say that it looks incredibly tacky, and upon reading I've discovered that the movie doesn't have anything to do...
Published 8 months ago by Manny Pearce


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still good after all these years, 24 Mar 2002
By 
P. R. Rustage - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Robot (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sci-Fi from the "pulp fiction" era--groundbreaking, 8 Aug 2004
By 
Joanna Daneman (USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Robot (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!
Little Lost Robot
Escape!
Evidence
The Evitable Conflict
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 2 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: I, Robot (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rightly considered a classic, 23 July 2004
By 
Joe Sherry (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Robot (Paperback)
"I, Robot" is the classic science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov. It kicks off the best selling Robot/Foundation series, though when "I, Robot" was first published it was not intended to be a part of any larger series, nor were Robot and Foundation originally connected. While the format of "I, Robot" is loosely a novel, it is truly a collection of short stories that is bridged by a common thread and text that connects all stories together.
The tie that connects these stories together is Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist. At the start of the book, Calvin is retiring from her position at U.S. Robotics. A reporter is trying to get her thoughts on the history of robotics, but not the official position, more of her personal impressions. Calvin was at U.S. Robotics when the first truly "thinking" robots were released for sale and was at the forefront of figuring out why some robots were acting the way they were. The format of "I, Robot" is such that Calvin is essentially giving a little bit of background which moves into the short story, giving an episodic feel to the book.
As the stories move in chronological order, the reader is presented with the evolution of robots, starting with "Robbie", which deals with the relationship a little girl has with her robot, Robbie. Robbie was designed as a playmate for a little girl and her parents feel that she has become too attached to the robot and has forsaken real friends. Robbie is an earlier design robot: large, clunky, and without the ability to speak. The subsequent stories show the development of robots and include: a mind reading robot, a robot who does not believe it is possible that a human could create a robot, and one that may even end up ruling the world.
Through these stories, Asimov has set up the Three Laws of Robotics, which are:
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 as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
These Three Laws are the driving force within each of the stories. What is interesting here is that all of the stories are something of a "whodunit". Something is not working exactly right with a robot and it is up to Susan Calvin, or the team of Martin and Donovan to figure out why a robot is not working how it is expected to. Each time, it has something to do with the Three Laws and everything makes sense within the confines of the Three Laws: Calvin, Martin, and Donovan just have to figure out what.
The writing style here is simple, and easy to read. Despite the fact that there is little "action" happening in the stories, they move along quickly. These are stories of humanity and science and the robots seem to fit into both categories at the same time. "I, Robot" is rightly considered a classic of science fiction and these are simple little gems with a depth of complexity that makes everything fit together.
-Joe Sherry
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Isaac Asimov laws down the Three Laws of Robotics, 20 Oct 2004
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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. If you are reading these stories for the second time, which is a fair possibility given that they are Science Fiction classics, then you should pay attention to the subtle differences between the Donovan & Powell stories with those featuring Susan Calvin; it basically comes down to whether Asimov wants to explain things in term of a dialogue or a lecture. Once you have read "I, Robot" be sure to check out the brilliant unproduced screenplay Harlan Ellison wrote from these stories as well as the Asimov robot novels, "The Caves of Steel," "The Naked Sun," and "Robots of Dawn."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff..., 8 Aug 2005
This review is from: I, Robot (Paperback)
I've read Asimov before, but not for, oh at least 12 years. And I've never enjoyed it as much as I did this one.
His characterisations and dialogue are often a little bland and uninspired, but the most important thing about Asimov's work is the ideas and investigations.
When he invented the famous Three Laws of Robotics he really struck literary gold. From then on he was able to carve out a niche of his own, creating stories that are based around them.
This selection describes the development of robotics from it's earliest days to the days when machines run the world, as 'robopsychologists' and mathemiticians attempt to iron out logical problems with robot behaviour.
The result is like science fiction detective stories. Some are disappointing, but on the whole the dilemmas described are fascinating, and not altogether unsolvable by the reader.
If you are interested in exercising your mind while reading, I recommend this stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic with profound insights for our times, 13 Sep 2003
By 
Mr David Clements (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Robot (Paperback)
In this collection of short stories written in the 1940s, Asimov explores the human condition and our changing understanding of it, vis-a-vis the robot. Each is linked by the reminisces of Susan Calvin, robo-psychologist with US Robot and Mechanical Men, Inc.
'Robbie' is the playmate that causes a mother to worry about her child's isolation from her peers. 'Dave', the asteroid mining multi-robot, is troubled by his personal initiative circuit. 'Speedy' is the risk-averse robot collecting selenium on Mercury. 'Nestor 10' is uniquely tweaked with only a qualified recognition of the First Law of robotics, that he may not injure a human being. The other robots would instinctively rush in to protect humans exposed to gamma rays, however improbable the potential harm. 'The Brain' is only able to create a hyper jump craft because Calvin suppresses the law protecting humanity from its supposed folly.
'Cutie' thinks himself a prophet, so unconvinced is he by the notion of his subservience to humankind.
The embrace of risk as a feature of progress is uppermost in what Asimov is doing with these tales. Or perhaps that's what speaks to the modern reader. The 'logic' thing, referred to by other reviewers, is perhaps one for the sci-fi obsessive. For me, 'I, Robot' is a critique of the social pessimism and all pervading anxiety that holds back potentially beneficial advances. A timeless classic, nevertheless with profound insights for our times.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I, Robot., 10 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: I, Robot (Paperback)
This is a must-read for anyone reading science fiction or studying it as Asimov's Three Robotic Laws have been so influential they have inspired later authors in terms of how they choose to depict, robots, androids or other posthuman figures. The writing itself is very literary and is accessible to those who are not hard science fiction readers. It is also interesting to note that it doesn't feel like it was written in the 1920s; it is surprisingly contemporary. Perhaps this is because it is now scientifically possible to create robots, and there are debates about whether computers will acquire consciousnesses in the relatively near, but still distant future. Asimov's I, Robot enables to look at the past and yet still find something relevant to our lives - especially because technology now has a ubiquitous presence in modern society. For those of you who have found I, Robot through the film, you may be in for a bit of a surprise as the original text is very different from the film starring Will Smith. This is by no means a detriment to the film as it is a sterling piece of work but they have changed a lot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & classic, 22 Sep 2012
This review is from: I, Robot (Paperback)
This book is a set of connected short stories, with some characters appearing in several stories, that explore the implications of robots in the future of mankind. Each story is well written and fascinating. I really enjoyed the stories not only at a superficial level, but also for the way they examined the philosophy (if that is the correct word) of robots and the three laws of robotics. This book was a random purchase, but I shall be certainly be buying more by Isaac Asimov.

Incidentally, this book only inspired the film of the same name - the Will Smith movie is a very different story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best science fiction i've ever read, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: I, Robot (Paperback)
I imagine most people have seen the Will Smith movie from 2004 or are, at the very least, aware that a Hollywood adaptation exists. It is a tired cliche now but I feel it is appropriate to say that Isaac Asimov would spin in his grave if he could. Don't get me wrong; as a standalone film I, Robot is very entertaining but as an apaptation of what is clearly one of the greatest science fiction books ever written, it is tripe. I am confident when I say that the only similarities between the film and the book is the title. Even Will Smith's character does not exist in the book.

I, Robot is a collection of short stories, all featuring the same characters, beginning with the first tentative steps of robotics and ending with machines controlling every aspect of everyday life on earth.

Asimov's visions of the future are not only interesting and exciting but, in my view, quite plausible. His depiction of robots is absolutely wonderful and the robots who feature in the book are never in the background nor are they dull. You can see where Asimov influenced future sci-fi writers both in books and the silver screen. The characters are brilliant especially the hapless Powell and Donovan, two US Robots engineers who are assigned the thankless, and often dangerous, task of field testing new robots. The two are always finding themselves in trouble and often had me creasing up with the predicaments they get into.

With the Three Laws in place most readers would think it impossible for anything to go wrong however Asimov has come up with numerous scenarios which prove even the most watertight of laws are not foolproof and soon things are going wrong with the robots as they struggle to come to practical terms with the laws they are programmed to obey. Usually the unfortunate Donovan and Powell are on the receiving end as robots disobey the rules or just go insane because of conflicting information.

The best, and most profound, story of all of the collection in my opinion is 'Robbie' a powerful and emotional story which reminded me in some ways of the childrens book 'The Snowman' by Raymond Briggs.

All in all a fantastic book I intend to re-read in the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

I, Robot (Clothbound Edition) (Voyager Classics)
I, Robot (Clothbound Edition) (Voyager Classics) by Isaac Asimov (Hardcover - 28 Mar 2013)
11.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews