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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robots must follow the rules...
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...
Published on July 10 2004 by Schtinky

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Some kinks present, but still a good collection
Throughout the 1940s, Isaac Asimov, then a professor of biochemistry, spent significant time theorizing about artificial intelligence. Interrelated short stories presenting the author's vision of a future that humanity would share with a mechanical brethren, often involving Mr. Asimov's engineering corporation, U.S. Robots, were published in various magazines and...
Published on March 11 2002 by P. Nicholas Keppler


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robots must follow the rules..., July 10 2004
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This review is from: I, Robot (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.
Enjoy!
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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
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MICHAEL DARRISH (Acworth, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Robot (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
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Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Robot (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating take on future with fun dated elements, July 7 2004
By 
John A. Dodds (Ann Arbor, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Robot (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
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This review is from: I, Robot (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Really the very definition of medium-good book, June 29 2004
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This review is from: I, Robot (Mass Market Paperback)
Why You Should Read This

Have you ever read something your parents wrote in their youth and suddenly realized that half of the things you say and do are unconsciously derivative of their behavior? That's what it's like for a sci-fi fan in Generation X+ to read I, Robot for the first time. The whole history, etymology, and evolution of androids in science fiction is, in some sense derivative, of this book. If this appeals to you-that is, if learning about the heritage of science fiction appeals to you-then this book will be a delightful read.
Why You Should Pass

The movie... well, the movie is shaping up to look like something between A.I. and The Terminator with a little bit of Tom Cruise from The Minority Report thrown in. The movie could be great. However, good or bad, all of these kinds of things are terrifically absent from Asimov's I, Robot. If you're looking for action and adventure, sex and vengeance, humanity on the edge of extinction, well you couldn't go more wrong than reading this book. This is a very calm and cerebral look at some problems that might crop up with programming robots and set in situations that really aren't staged terribly well. Sort of like showing a music video of The Beatles in concert to a group of teenagers more used to MTV.
READ MORE AT INCHOATUS.COM
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5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking but now dated, June 25 2004
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This review is from: I, Robot (Mass Market Paperback)
Asimov's greatest strength as a writer was his ability to take a concept and cascade its effect throught out the culture he wrote about. I, Robot shows the evolution of the simple robot from an mute entity similar to a loyal, very smart, pet dog to a creature more than capable of dominating its master.
Many of the assumptions in Asimov's book are now somewhat funny in hindsight (Robot's cost $30,000, the population of the earth is 3 Billion) but the science fiction is still cutting edge. Indeed the premise behind the such great movies as the Matrix, Terminator, and AI are due to this book and let's not forget Bishop the android in Alien's.
This book is a quick and easy read but in the world we live in now with intelligent, unmanned military hardware apparently just around the corner, this book should be a required part of any modern philosophy class. Indeed, what is the next step for Global Hawks and Predator Drones? It seems that removing the need for a human operator can only be days not years away.
I, Robot indeed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars NOT THE MOVIE VERSION, June 10 2004
By 
Jeff Howard (South Dakota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I, Robot (Mass Market Paperback)
Though Will Smith graces the cover to promote his movie, supposedly based on this work, the text here has nothing to do with the movie. There is no story among the short stories it contains, even hinting at a robot being accused of murder. Nor is there a story to correspond with the OUTER LIMITS episode of the 1960's, in which a robot is put on trial for murdering his creator.
After that disappointment, its time to get on with some good SCI FI yarns that deal with the evolution of the robots, beginning in the far future, about 1998. Very interesting reading surrounding the three laws that are quoted numerous times in the other reviews of this section. My favorite story was EVIDENCE, the second to last story, in which a man is accused of being a robot during an election.
This is my first Asimov book and it will not be my last. It is easy to see why Asimov was so revered from these simple stories. Very thought provoking and inoffensive. Anyone from grade school on up would enjoy these stories. I read the whole book in less than two days.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Seminal and misunderstood, May 23 2004
This review is from: I, Robot (Mass Market Paperback)
This collection of short stories by Asimov seems to generate a huge variety of responses, from those who take it as a masterpiece to those who wouldn't use it for toilet paper. I think both sides are wrong.
The book is a collection of some of Asimov's short stories involving robots. They're arranged in "chronological" order with a wrapper story to make this volume an outline of the rise of robots and robotics in the Asimov universe. As such, he explores the ideas of what it means to be human versus being a robot. This is done largely through the application of the three laws of robotics (quoted by many a review of this book) to real-life situations - in other words when things get complicated.
The result is a bunch of stories which are a bit like logical puzzles, often with a philosophical basis. I enjoyed them and despite their limitations they made me think. My favourite is Reason with the philosophical rantings of Cutie - the first robot to question his/her existence.
The limitations are that Asimov was writing this many a decade ago and our current conceptions of what machines can and can't do (yet) are dramatically different - his robots will seem much too human to someone looking at the field today.
To counteract the criticism, no this work is not character driven and yes the characters are one-dimensional because that's what they're meant to be. This isn't an emotional/psychological drama, it's a good piece of science fiction exploring notions of technology and humanity with all the other elements of fiction used as tools. No-one would criticise a textbook for its lack of lack of believable characters of flowery prose and I don't see how this is different - both are genres which focus on other things.
The only thing that matters is whether the book is enjoyable and has some good ideas which I think it does and I hope that people will agree after they read I Robot with an attitude that doesn't expect exhuberant literary style and realise that this is Asimov's first stab at the application of formal things like robotics to human situations. And I think it's a pretty good one at that!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, thoughtful, but a little dated, May 17 2004
This review is from: I, Robot (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a fun read, people should remember that Asimov wrote this in the 1940s. And, it wasn't written as a book, "I, Robot" is a collection of short stories about robots that he published in various pulps in the 1940s, which he then loosely connects. I read it because I wanted to compare it to the upcoming Will Smith movie, which I've heard isn't really based on the book at all, the movie just uses the famous Three Laws of Robotics, but the story in the movie is not one of the ones from the book.
Asimov is justifiably praised in other reviews for his vision of the future. However, there are some things he simply couldn't foresee in the 1940s about the future. For example, there are scientists still using slide rules and graph paper for their calculations. There is no "Internet" or mention of personal computers. There are the "Machines" which span the world and plan out a lot of economic activity, but this isn't the internet as you or I know it. Still, this is a thoughtful and entertaining book, and of course a science fiction classic, but like all of the pulp sci-fi from the 1940s it's a little out of date, to say the least.
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I, Robot
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 1 1991)
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