- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Spectra; Media Tie In edition (Nov. 1 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553294385
- ISBN-13: 978-0553294385
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 108 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
I, Robot Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1 1991
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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.
From the Inside Flap
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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Not sure I'm keen on the Will Smith cover art on this edition although that was a good film in its own right.
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.
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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I have found that this book is almost always labeled as a collection of short stories about robots.Read more