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I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
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I, Robot (original 1950; edition 1968)

by Isaac Asimov

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9,579170301 (3.97)255
Member:xeophin
Title:I, Robot
Authors:Isaac Asimov
Info:Grafton (1968), Edition: reprint, Paperback, 206 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)

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Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
I neither strongly disliked nor strongly liked anything in this book. It was certainly an easy read with the author moving the reader along the plot line via various short stories regarding the evolving relationship of man to robot. But I never found myself enraptured by the story; I was just reading to read. That's not to say Asimov is a poor writer. I just wasn't compelled by the overarching narrative of I, Robot.

If you're looking for an enjoyable weekend read, this is not a bad one to consider. It's a solid 3-3.5 stars. ( )
  codyacunningham | May 9, 2016 |
Interesting little book, if out of date. And apparently the movie (hyped on my edition's cover) is nothing like the book. My dad had seen the movie but never read the book (I was shocked!), and we were talking about two different stories.

So this is neat in that it is a set of short stories (or incidents) revolving around Susan Calvin, robopsychologist at US Robotics, around the turn of the 21st century. She is talking to a reporter after her retirement, and explaining incidents where the robots' interpretations of the laws of robotics caused them to do things no one predicted or understood. She was often brought in to figure out and solve the problems.

Interesting, but odd to weird about AI/robots that are not at all like what we ended up with.

Now, back to the cover of my edition. Will Smith, from the movie, and the line "One Man Saw It Coming". That has absolutely nothing to do with the book. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
Don't remember much about it. Although a story with robots riding excercize machine seems to ring a bell. Or was that some other story? ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
[I Robot], Isaac Asimov
Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are as well known to many people as the opening lines to William Blake’s poem The Tyger: they have become part of our popular culture and so just as people who claim not to like poetry (and you know who you are) can trot out the first line to Tyger then those who don’t read science fiction (and you also know who you are) are familiar with Asimov’s Robotic Laws.

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 the 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.


The three laws appear as a frontispiece to Asimov’s [I, Robot] published in 1950, which consists of nine short stories written between 1940 and 1950 which were linked by a framing device for the books publication. Actually the stories fit together quite well and describe the history of Robotics as envisioned by the young author from 1950. The first story Robbie; features a nursemaid robot whose duties consist of looking after a child and he is one of the first prototypes; the last story takes place 56 years later when Robots are in control/running the earth for their masters, but are still functioning in accordance with the Three Laws.

Apart from the first story most of the others are themed around a challenge to the robotic laws, both by the robots and by the company and governments that make them. Robots used in mining operations on other planets are found to be more of a hindrance than a help: continually preventing their human colleagues from taking necessary risks. Robots used to design a new space ship make calculations that are beyond human understanding. Their “positronic" manufactured brains which allow them to reason and think are imprinted with the the three laws; but what happens when the imprinted laws are adjusted or when their own thoughts override their usefulness? Asimov does not get overly philosophical but in relating the issues back to his robotic laws he gives the stories a sense of cohesion and even of history.

The framing device is Susan Calvin who at the end of the book is the worlds foremost expert on robot psychology. She is being interviewed by a young journalist writing a feature on U. S. Robot and Mechanical Men Inc. the company that became the world leader in its field and is celebrating its seventy fifth year. It is Susan’s stories that are recorded and although related in the third person many of them feature her point of view. Her character develops as the stories unfold and Asimov does a reasonable job here, however the male characters are pretty much stock characters with the robots outshining them in personality and thoughtfulness.

Asimovs own predictions of future technology are wildly optimistic (as were many science fiction writers at that time). Robbie the first robot in the book is fully operational in 1996 and by 2050 man has developed space ships with warp drive and has colonised the stars. He is more accurate in predicting the rise of large industrial corporations that hold real power and who strive to break free of governments or work in partnership in the pursuit of profit. This isn’t great literature, but it is a landmark in science fiction and Asimov writes well enough to spin his thought provoking stories and to provide them with a framework that serves its purpose beautifully.

I have served my debt to popular culture; I have listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, I have sat through The Sound of Music and I have even read The DaVinci Code and so I would urge you to do likewise and read I, Robot. (have to confess to quite liking The Sound of Music, and Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t too bad, but Dan Brown …ugh). In my opinion it is up their with the best in its field and so it is a five star read. ( )
6 vote baswood | Mar 18, 2016 |
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ♥

I, Robot is an anthology of short stories written by Isaac Asimov between 1940 and 1950. Each story is told by robopsychologist, Susan Calvin, and links the history of robotics.

Even though this book is now over 60 years old, I found it to still be quite relevant. Some sci-fi books lose their touch as time and technology occur but this book does not.

I originally read this book because 1) I liked the movie (note: it turns out the movie is almost nothing like the book, with just snippets from the book found in the movie) and 2) my husband that never reads insisted that I must read this book (and has been insisting for years). I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed this book and all of it's individual stories and characters. It is a fun, easy, yet thoughtful read on robotics and human nature. For those that don't like science fiction – this book may be a good one to try anyway. It is well written and short.

This may be my first Asimov book but it will not be my last. ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isaac Asimovprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berkey, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cartier, EddCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serra, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To John W. Campbell, Jr., who godfathered the robots
First words
Robbie:
"Ninety-eight — ninety-nine — one hundred."
Runaround:
It was one of Gregory Powell's favorite platitudes that nothing was to be gained from excitement, so when Mike Donovan came leaping down the stairs toward him, red hair matted with perspiration, Powell frowned.
Reason:
Half a year later, the boys had changed their minds.
Catch That Rabbit:
The vacation was longer than two weeks.
Liar!
Alfred Lanning lit his cigar carefully, but the tips of his fingers were trembling slightly.
Quotations
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 the 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553294385, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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