Thursday, December 27, 2012

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

I, Robot is a collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov originally published in magazines between 1940 and 1950. No, it is nothing like the movie.

The stories all take place in our present time or the future, and are all linked together through their connection to Susan Calvin, born in 1982. She is a "Robopsychologist" and sees that through the years robots are actually evolving into Cylons. Well, I call them Cylons. Everyone around her sees them only as machines.

The Three Laws of Robotics are programmed into each robot. They 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 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.

Almost every story deals with how The Three Laws of Robotics are misinterpreted by robots or cause robots to malfunction. One of my favorites is when a scientist tells a robot, "Get lost," and how the robot deals with that command while also following The Three Laws of Robotics.

I liked this book but it won't make it on my Favorites list this year. I think I prefer watching Sci-Fi to reading it because movie makers often have a better imagination than I do when it comes to dreaming up space stations and things. However, I got a kick out of reading what Mr. Asimov envisioned 2012 would look like, and I still plan to read Foundation. I also got a lot of enjoyment out of reading this after Curiosity first landed. I pretended the two scientists found in most of the stories, Michael Donovan and Gregory Powell, were Bobak Ferdowsi and Steve Collins.

As a side note, I also loved it when one of my favorite Louis Armstrong songs made a cameo appearance in Escape! Please ignore the slide show that has nothing to do with the song:

This book fulfills my Science Fiction requirement for the Eclectic Reader Challenge. It is also on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list.


Megan Anderson said...

Sounds like I'll love this! I'll have to look out for it.

Also, don't you hate it when movies call themselves after a book they are nothing like? They could always say something like, "Inspired by blah blah blah." But don't get me excited about a movie adaptation if you're just running with the general idea!

Cheaper by the Dozen is another good example.

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

Yes the non-connection between book and movie can be annoying. In this case I knew they wouldn't be the same because it was a bunch of short stories, but I thought at least one of them would tie into the movie.

I never even knew Cheaper by the Dozen was a book. Is it good?