Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review Tuesday: I, ROBOT by Isaac Asimov

On a recent trip I decided to read some classic science fiction. I can't believe I never read this one before!

by Isaac Asimov 
An interview with Dr. Susan Calvin, robo-psychologist, reveals the genesis of robots and how they became crucial for human development.
Years ago when the movie I, ROBOT came out a friend recommended reading the book. He said the only thing the movie and the book had in common were 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 given 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.
Okay, you have my interest! 

As you read this book you can tell that it was a collection of short stories cleverly bound together in one volume under the guise of an interview with a robot psychologist by the name of Dr. Susan Calvin who recounts the evolution of robots during her long life span. The stories she tells are as follows:
  • "Robbie"
  • "Runaround"
  • "Reason"
  • "Catch that Rabbit"
  • "Liar!"
  • "Little Lost Robot"
  • "Escape!"
  • "Evidence"
  • "The Evitable Conflict"
Published in 1950, this book takes a hard look at the way the world in general was headed at that point. As usual, it makes reference to a final world war, which every science fiction author of his time found inevitable. However, rather than feeding on the dread that most other authors of the time felt regarding what role robots will play in human lives, Asimov saw the possibilities of all the good they might bring. Basically, robots being programmed with their basic three laws will be able to take better came of mankind than we can. 

The stories are clever, thoughtful, sometimes funny and other times provocative. Asimov skillfully builds the tale going from lighthearted to very philosophical by the final page.   

I, now, wonder what took me so long to get to this? A delightful, quick read. You can find it in all sorts of formats.