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- ISBN: 978-0553382563
- Title: I, Robot
- Author: Asimov, Isaac
- Publisher: Bantam Spectra, New York
- Year: 1950
- Pages: 256
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I, Robot is a contiguous series of nine short stories, following the memories of Dr. Susan Calvin, chief robopsychologist at U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc., the chief manufacturer of robots on earth.
It is the mid-21st century, Dr. Susan Calvin is retiring from her position at U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, and a journalist is writing a personal interest story about her long lived career.
Dr. Calvin humors the journalist by sharing nine interesting and insightful stories involving remarkable human-robotic interactions, spanning the entirety of her career. Through these stories, the reader learns of the intricacies of the three laws of robotics, how on the face of things, these laws can appear to fail, though detailed investigation indicates an abstract and unexpected interpretation of the laws.
The stories take place from the late 20th to mid-21st century earth and its encompassing solar system. Interstellar travel is just at its beginning, humans have yet to travel beyond their own local system. It is the basis for Asimov’s robot-foundation universe, spanning many novels and short stories.
Although the robot technology is in its infancy in the robot-foundation universe, I find the interactions to be the most intricate and humorous of the series. Robots have more abstract, emotional, more devious and fallible responses, whereas later works outline a more transparent, linear, less emotional robot personality.
Thus far, I find I, Robot to be the best Asimov work involving the three laws of robotics and robot behavior. I especially enjoy the emotionally charged interactions between Powell and Donovan, who are thrown in a series of impossible problems, from which they must succeed or lose life and livelihood. It is a distinctly fun read, one of the funnest of Asimov’s works.