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I, Robot [Mass Market Paperback]

Isaac Asimov
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 1991 The Robot Series
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.

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In this collection, one of the great classics of science fiction, Asimov set out the principles of robot behavior that we know as the Three Laws of Robotics. Here are stories of robots gone mad, mind-reading robots, robots with a sense of humor, robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world, all told with Asimov's trademark dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction.


An exciting science thriller...' New York Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robots must follow the rules... July 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Re-reading "I, Robot" before the movie comes out was a good idea, I'm glad I did. For me, reading Asimov if often a fond trip down memory lane.
But if you have never read Asimov or looking for somewhere to start, I would highly recommend "I, Robot" as a first glimpse into Asimov's world(s). Here is a wonderful and timeless collection of nine short stories that all center around a central theme; The Three Laws Of Robotics.
The three laws 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.
These laws are the central theme to each individual story, and connecting them is a running "Runaround", "Reason", and "Catch That Rabbit". Always under the direst of circumstances, they must figure out the malfunction of the robot before something terrible happens. Very entertaining stories.
Some of the other stories are about Dr. Calvin's personal experiences, such as "Liar" and "Little Lost Robot", but all fall back onto the laws as their basic theme, and whether or not humans will ever accept robots among them.
Once finished with "I, Robot", I very highly recommend the "Foundation" series, one of my favorite Asimov themes, along with the Robot Trilogy and another favorite, "Nightfall". Asimov has the gift of creating lively, likeable characters with a technical backdrop to his all-to-human stories, and always infuses a bit of humor into them.
Truly one of the great masters of Sci-Fi, Asimov is a must-read in my opinion, and "I, Robot" is a wonderful starting point.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Ellis's Review Has It Exactly Backwards July 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
With all due respect to Michael Ellis's review warning people that the book in not like the movie, a noble gesture, no doubt meant to be helpful, and that they will be disappointed if they buy the book thinking that they will be similar, he has it exactly backwards.
The book was published in 1950, so the movie is not like the book. The movie states that it is "suggested by Isaac Asimov's book" and has some similarities. To learn more about this outstanding book of short stories, see a good Isaac Asimov oriented web site at [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering the late, great Isaac Asimov... Oct. 6 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Isaac Asimov was, of course, a mover and shaker not just in the field of science fiction, but as a science educator for the masses. His prodigious output of books and articles was one of the seven wonders of the modern world, yet it's a relatively small number of short stories and novels for which (I predict) he'll be remembered. Stories like "Nightfall," "Bicentennial Man," and of course his robot stories with their "three laws" will still be read and appreciated for years to come. By showing us how the three laws worked (or sometimes didn't) in these stories, he created a practical foundation for the future of robotics, and Carl Capek aside (who wrote one of the first robot stories, RUR, in 1921) Asimov is considered by many as the father of modern robotics. The Japanese in particular seem fascinated with robots and their potential, so it shouldn't be surprising that Honda named their sophisticated humanoid robot Asimo in his honor.

These stories do show the era in which they were written by the language, but the innovative theories behind them and the "why didn't I think of that?" reaction from readers remain.

-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
One must remember while reading this that the book that it was written in the early 1950s. Lots of dated elements along the way (EVERY character smokes, for instance) make it interesting. See how many little ones you can find, like Jakarta referred to by its old name of Batavia, or calculations done on slide rules (!). There are some strikingly prescient elements, though, as when he mentions continuous television coverage of the front door of a politician involved in a controversy with meaningless commentary in the background (how much of THAT kind of thing have we had to put up with from the all-news channels?!).
Putting that aside, this book is a series of short stories about robots as Asimov sees them and how they follow the three "Laws of Robotics" he set up for them. But it's more than that; the stories explore how humans might interact with these machines that can think for themselves--especially when human life is on the line or the robots malfunction or both. Some strain credulity, but this is science fiction so go with it and see where it leads. The ride can be pretty interesting.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I don't understand all the fuss July 3 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was bored stiff reading this book. I've been a fan of Asimov's non-fiction works for a long time, but this is the first fiction of his that I've read. I understand that these stories were written in the 1940's, so they will of course be outdated, but they can still be good stories. These aren't good stories. The characters are boring, and they have no depth. It seems like the only emotion human characters have is pretension or anger. The writing style is too sparse for my taste, and all of the pertinent information to the plot is given as asides, which is a mistake that BAD science fiction writers make, not grand masters like Asimov. Besides, most of the stories seem like they are based around stupid ideas or puns. For example, "What if a robot could be drunk?", and then figure out how that could happen and write a little short story around it. Because the stories are written this way, they all seem to fall short of any real meaningful philosophical or psychological discussion of the Laws of Robotics. I've read some of the Robot City and Robots and Aliens books, and they did a better job at that.
Despite all this, I did like two of the stories: "Little Lost Robot" and "Evidence". They still aren't great stories, but they were the only ones that made me stop and think. I also liked the fact that the human characters were not always right all the time. They usually had to try three or four different things to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it was obvious in some cases what they should have done in the first place, which made the humans seem dumb for not immediately seeing it.
Also, even though one of Asimov's main characters was a woman, there is still a lot of obvious misogyny in the book. It can be a distraction sometimes.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars What's that I smell? It's the garbage that is I, Robot.
OK, for the life of me, I cannot understand how Asimov has come to be revered as a great of science fiction. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT a novel
This is a collection of Asimov short stories written over the ten year period between 1940 & 1950, and then collected together, abridged, and given a thin narrative to tie them... Read more
Published on July 17 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Supposed to be the movie
The stories in this novel are incredible!! The reviews that try to compare it to the movie must be missing the fact that the movie was created 50 years after the book. Read more
Published on July 16 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Like the Movie
I, Robot is an interesting look at the philosphy and psychology of robots, but it is not really a novel. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Michael J. Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic sci-fi by the master...
There are some gaps in my classic sci-fi background, and I filled one of them in today. I finished I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Thomas Duff
4.0 out of 5 stars Robot Review
I,Robot by Isaac Asimov is the first book in the Robot Series.
I have found that this book is almost always labeled as a collection of short stories about robots. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Jacob Gest
3.0 out of 5 stars A quick fun read
First off, allow me to issue three caveats. Written over 50 years ago, I, Robot is somewhat dated at times with its archaic technological references. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Chris Salzer
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it before you see the movie
I, Robot is actually a group on nine short stories that describe the early history of robots, as developed by the great Isaac Asimov via the guise of an interview with Dr. Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by PGMS
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and fascinating book!
But, then again, how could it not be considering it was written by a genius such as Isaac Asimov (who once confessed he was capable of writing TWO books at the same time!). Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Asimov the philosophical predecessor to the Unabomber?
I am struck that Asimov comes to the exact same point as does Ted Kazinski in his Unabomber's Manifesto. Asimov just says it in a more entertaining way.
Published on July 10 2004 by B. Tuttle
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