I, Robot Paperback – 2 Aug 2004
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An exciting science thriller…’ New York Times--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
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 orders givein to 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.
With this, Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.
Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact & science fiction that became Asmiov's trademark. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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It is a testament to Asimov that although the sci-fi, social, and stylistic elements of this book may now seem outdated, the stories are so good they still provide enjoyable reading.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.
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.
Catch That Rabbit
Liar!Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was Isaac Asimov's first collection of robot short stories, first published in magazines during the 1940s and collected into book form in the early 1950s. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Hopper
Wish this was available in the U.S. Really nice edition for a collection.Published 6 months ago by Rebecca Froberg
I received the version of the book with will smith on the cover! Not what I was hoping for.Published 6 months ago by Sd WADHAM
The cover is a bit crumbled, but otherwise the book's in good conditionPublished 14 months ago by Sandor Enckell
While rereading this book, I was struck at how prescient Asimov was concerning computers and the mysteries of their apparent anomalous behavior. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Charles Ashbacher