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Robots must follow the rules...
on July 10, 2004
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.