I, Robot by Isaac AsimovI, Robot by Isaac Asimov

I, Robot

byIsaac Asimov

Mass Market Paperback | November 1, 1991

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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.
Isaac Asimov began his Foundation Series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned over 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction saga...
Title:I, RobotFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 6.88 × 4.15 × 0.79 inPublished:November 1, 1991Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553294385

ISBN - 13:9780553294385

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Rated 1 out of 5 by from dont read this fell asleep during the book and the movie
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than the movie This collection of stories is much better than the movie of the same name. Which is why I don't like this particular edition, movie tie-ins are ugly and this book is so vastly different from the movie that it doesn't even make sense to have a tie-in edition. Still, worth a read if you're a fan of sci-fi!
Date published: 2017-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not at all like the movie It was decent though, don't get me wrong, but if it hadn't been for the huge hype of the movie, I never would've read this, nor would I have enjoyed it, even it was the tiniest little bit.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Collection of Stories. This a collection of short stories revolving around Asimov's three laws of robotics. The stories are interesting and thrilling to read. I loved this book! (As a side note: this is nothing like the movie at all, so if you picked this up expecting it to be similar don't be surprised.)
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Robot tales This is a collection of short stories that tells the tale of the development of robots from simple companions and miners to machines that indirectly run the planet. And throughout, the stories that emerge when Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics become entangled with human issues are excellent at illustrating the changing applications of robots and the attitudes towards them. The recurring characters of Powell and Donovan were a surprising find in this collection. They are frequently employed to field test the newest robotic prototypes and, inevitably, are put in precarious & dangerous positions because of this. I feel that this is great introduction to Asimov's robots and their laws. I'm excited to move onto the Robot novels in the future.
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful I remember reading this book when I was first a child. And it opened my world to so many possibilities. I doubt that many parts of my life would have been the same without this book.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A decent story with some flaws The book I, Robot by Isaac Asimov follows the tales of robot testers Greg Powell and Mike Donovan, as told by the viewpoint of the robot psychologist Dr. Susan Calvin. This book discusses a future in which robots play a huge part in the automation of many human tasks, eventually leading to the development of machines capable of running the world. I, Robot was originally published as a series of short stories in the 1940s, in a time period during and after World War II. Though this book can be read as a novel, and I recommend that you do so, when reviewing and judging this book, you will find this book much more enjoyable if you judge it as a collection of short stories. Character development suffers in this novel, and shows this novel’s heritage as originating as a collection of short stories. The characters are mostly flat and two-dimensional, and not much character development occurs in this novel. These flat characters can serve to make the reading rather tedious, and leaves the reader wanting more. The theme of the novel has been fairly well developed, however. The story is told as a sequence of events, following the increasing complexity of technology and the issues that follow. The introduction of a robot capable of feeling emotion brings the issue of the ethics of treating these robots as inferior beings to a head, while the final two chapters of the book discusses how world leaders become obsolete, being replaced by machines. The plot of I, Robot does make the reader think. The reader will see the situations that Donovan and Powell are in, and will try to work out ways to solve these problems, much like a puzzle. If you enjoy puzzles, then you will enjoy the Donovan and Powell plot lines in the middle of the book. Though the writing style of I, Robot can be rather bland at times, there are some areas where Asimov shines. This book is not for everyone, and when judged it should not be judged as a full novel. For those who enjoy science fiction and puzzles, this will be a good read, however, those who are reading only for plot may wish to pass on this novel.
Date published: 2013-04-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Commendable classic but lacking in depth A collection of short stories surrounding the theme of the relationship between humans and robots, I, Robot, is written from the memories of Dr. Susan Calvin, a robot psychologist. Asimov’s stories are centered on the Three Laws of Robotics, used to express his views on humanity’s relationship with robots. Portrayed are moral, intellectual, and authoritative conflict between humans and robots as they try to coexist on earth as well as many philosophical and science fictional concepts. The structure of the novel being short stories put together results in slightly different themes from each chapter, each only briefly developed and with limited relation to each other. The plot also lacks a continuous storyline with suspense building up to a climax. Readers are left with snippets from various themes, feeling very disconnected as a whole. Characters in the novel were all very flat, with no development, a crucial flaw as readers generally relate to stories through character background and emotions. Calvin, the main character of the story, was very wooden and presented as a someone who is fond of robots, yet only the negative view of robots’ harm to humans is clearly expressed in the novel, while the positive aspects are not. Readers will also find Asimov`s writing style simplistic, being very plain and lacking depth. Consequently, the novel feels tedious and boring at times, but thankfully, Asimov expresses humour in a few of his stories, providing comical relief. I, Robot however, deserves recognition as it established the foundation of robotics and science fiction novels of the like. The novel initiated robot series’ and presented new concepts such as the Three Laws of Robotics and interstellar travel. Contrarily however, readers who are looking for more societal views and enjoy plot development may be disappointed. As one of Asimov’s first novels, I, Robot is deficient in style, plot, and character development. Its thematic content is also very scattered, invoking various philosophical ideas, often without plausible conclusions. Nevertheless, the novel is highly commendable for its robotic concepts, especially taking into consideration that it was written at a time when technology had just begun to advance. I recommend it to readers who enjoy short stories as well as to science fiction fans who will understand and appreciate the technological and methodical facets of it
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I was expecting It’s common knowledge that movie adaptations of books often deviate from the original content, and I, Robot by Issac Asimov is no exception. However, the actual book, a collection of short stories surrounding the relationships between robots and humans, differs so much from the movie it is difficult to see why they both share the same name. I, Robot is certainly an interesting book that brings many philosophical questions on morality and humanity to light, but I can’t help but feel that it falls short when trying to appeal to less avid sci-fi fans. As stated before, I, Robot is a collection of short stories on the subject of robots, so there is very little continuity between chapters. However, the general plot of the book details the creation and development of robots from their initial use as menial labour to reaching such a level of intellectual capability that humans now cede most world affairs to machines. I have a mixed opinion of the book. Considering that Asimov wrote all of these stories separately, he has done an admirable job of linking them together. However, when it comes down it, the plot is quite lacking.There is no prevailing goal for humans to work towards; it almost seems that they are advancing technology for technology’s sake. It is this lack of goal that causes a lack of climax, as at no point is it apparent that a significant change has occurred. Characters are well-developed enough for a short story, but are simply too static for a novel. They undergo zero development, and do not initiate events, but merely react to them. The main theme of I, Robot is a little difficult to discern from all of the varied rhetorical questions raised by the individual stories, but it is there. Each individual chapter has its own theme and leads up to a philosophical question on humanity, but these all culminate to the main themes of whether humankind is too over reliant on technology, and if the creation of technological solutions is replacing the need for human innovation. The only problem is that theme is not continually developed by each chapter so much as each chapter’s theme is somewhat related to the overarching one. In terms of conveying the theme, Asimov does an acceptable job. Each chapter does aptly display how humans rely more and more on robots to perform tasks, despite the overarching theme not being as clear as it could be. I couldn’t help but feel that the book could have a better back-story to their society. The need for robots is not explained well, and the driving forces behind robot development needed to be revealed. In the end, I feel that I, Robot is severely wanting in the sense of a novel. Many of the story elements seem more suited for a short story than a full-blown book. The futuristic setting and atmosphere are wonderfully established, as to be expected from Asimov, but it takes determination not to be off-set by the slow pace, weak overall plot, and stale characters. If I, Robot had been left as a collection of short stories, it would be better off, as attempting to build a larger plot around them has only built up disappointment.
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I Robot, Isaac Asimov I Robot by Isaac Asimov is a collection of nine science fiction stories which deal with the relationships between humans and robots. As one of Asimov's earliest novels, it introduced the Three Laws of Robotics that have set the standard for the use of robots in science fiction. The stories are tied together via the reminiscences of Dr. Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist for U. S. Robots and Mechanical Men, the corporation that invented and manufactured intelligent robots and computing machines. She reflects upon the evolution of these robots and discusses how little humanity really understands the artificial intelligence it has created. Each story illuminates a problem encountered when a robot interprets the three fundamental Laws and something goes awry. One robot questions the reason for his existence. Another feels a necessity to lie. Yet another has an ego problem. The later stories introduce the reader to the Machines, powerful computing robots without the typical humanoid personalities of the working robots, that control the economic and industrial processes of the world and that stand between mankind and destruction. I am personally, not very fond of this book. Because after reading the entire book, I found it was very dull and boring. I thought the beginning was very uninteresting, and the book had no real climax to it or any “ooh and aah” moments. In addition, the ending had no real point or message. The start of the book had a very dry beginning. A good introduction should be intriguing and an attention grabber. For example, in the introduction the author gave us a sample of what’s to come in the approaching chapters. By doing that he didn’t allow the reader to have a chance to predict what’s coming up, instead he told everyone what will happen later and ruined the element of surprise. The first chapter talked about this robot that goes by the name of Robbie. Robbie is owned by an ordinary family. The robot is basically their daughter Gloria’s babysitter. The chapter continues by talking about how the mother wants to get rid of Robbie because she believes he is unsafe. This beginning was very uninteresting; a relatively orthodox introduction. The author talked too much about the details and he stretched the story for too long. Some of the pages in the middle of this section felt empty and like they were pointless. The other point I found while reading I felt the absence of a climax. The nine chapters barely related to each other. The only relationship they had was that they contained the same characters. The chapters were just a collection of different experiences that these characters run into. There was no source of excitement or anything to leave you flabbergasted. In each chapter the protagonists face a problem and they always seem to find the solution to it or the reason behind it. Moreover, there was no real action in the book, and nothing to leave you hanging and wanting more. I myself am a fan of science fiction and prior to reading this book I had high expectations for it. Unfortunately after I read it I realized I was wrong. Another reason as to why I dislike this book is the pointless and meaningless ending. The ending could have been a lot better if the author didn’t waste time talking about the different regions. The whole abstract of the last chapter was that robots became very advanced to the point where we started allowing them to govern us and they became superior to us. This ending was so predictable because all the foreshadowing events. My conclusion is that this book was uninteresting and colorless. The beginning was very dull, there was no climax or anything to leave you wanting more, and last but not least the ending felt like it was not thought through and that it could have been better. However this doesn’t mean that Isaac Asimov is a terrible writer. I am confident that others might feel different towards this novel, but for myself I didn’t like it.
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from U.S. Robots and Mechanical Man oh my! I, Robot is a collection of 9 short stories by Isaac Asimov. The stories are all told by Dr. Susan Calvin, the chief robopsychologist at U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. They are told to a reporter who is doing a human interest piece on Dr. Calvin. I really did enjoy this collection of short stories. It's amazing at just how small the world was back in the 1940s. All the stories are very well written, I really enjoyed "Runaround", "Reason", "Little Lost Robot" and "Evidence." All of the stories are great, those 4 just stuck with me a little more. I also found a copy of "I, Robot" by Eando Binder which is a short story that had the name I, Robot first which is a confession by a robot named Adam Link. The short story plays out very much like Frankenstein, so it was just enjoyable.
Date published: 2012-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommended Read This classic tale of the 1950s is a series of vignettes which explore what it means to be human through our interaction with artificial intelligence, both from our and their perspectives.
Date published: 2007-12-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Interesting I found this to be an interesting book, though repeatitive. I lost interest about 2/3 of the way through, though still continued to read it.
Date published: 2006-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A few names... I have to admit, I re-read this due to the massive need to comprehend what - if anything - had come from this collection of short stories and entered the Will Smith movie I saw the other night. Short answer? Some of the character names. This is an at-times quite moving collection of short stories with some interesting ideas tucked between them. Watching the over-all story arc of the evolution of robotics and robotic intelligence - and, sometimes more interestingly, the robotic soul. Mankind's frustrations with their own nervous states (especially through the eyes of Dr. Calvin, who narrates or introduces most of the tales). All in all, this was a solid bit of work for its day - but quite frankly, it's starting to show a bit of wear. For one, grown adults saying, Sizzling Saturn! as a curse just doesn't cut it, contemporarily speaking, and the science is often rather flat.
Date published: 2004-10-29

Read from the Book

ROBBIE"Ninety-eight--ninety-nine--one hundred." Gloria withdrew her chubby little forearm from before her eyes and stood for a moment, wrinkling her nose and blinking in the sunlight. Then, trying to watch in all directions at once, she withdrew a few cautious steps from the tree against which she had been leaning.She craned her neck to investigate the possibilities of a clump of bushes to the right and then withdrew farther to obtain a better angle for viewing its dark recesses. The quiet was profound except for the incessant buzzing of insects and the occasional chirrup of some hardy bird, braving the midday sun.Gloria pouted, "I bet he went inside the house, and I've told him a million times that that's not fair."With tiny lips pressed together tightly and a severe frown crinkling her forehead, she moved determinedly toward the two-story building up past the driveway.Too late she heard the rustling sound behind her, followed by the distinctive and rhythmic clump-clump of Robbie's metal feet. She whirled about to see her triumphing companion emerge from hiding and make for the home-tree at full speed.Gloria shrieked in dismay. "Wait, Robbie! That wasn't fair, Robbie! You promised you wouldn't run until I found you." Her little feet could make no headway at all against Robbie's giant strides. Then, within ten feet of the goal, Robbie's pace slowed suddenly to the merest of crawls, and Gloria, with one final burst of wild speed, dashed pantingly past him to touch the welcome bark of home-tree first.Gleefully, she turned on the faithful Robbie, and with the basest of ingratitude, rewarded him for his sacrifice by taunting him cruelly for a lack of running ability."Robbie can't run," she shouted at the top of her eight-year-old voice. "I can beat him any day. I can beat him any day." She chanted the words in a shrill rhythm.Robbie didn't answer, of course--not in words. He pantomimed running instead, inching away until Gloria found herself running after him as he dodged her narrowly, forcing her to veer in helpless circles, little arms outstretched and fanning at the air."Robbie," she squealed, "stand still!"--And the laughter was forced out of her in breathless jerks.--Until he turned suddenly and caught her up, whirling her round, so that for her the world fell away for a moment with a blue emptiness beneath, and green trees stretching hungrily downward toward the void. Then she was down in the grass again, leaning against Robbie's leg and still holding a hard, metal finger.After a while, her breath returned. She pushed uselessly at her disheveled hair in vague imitation of one of her mother's gestures and twisted to see if her dress were torn.She slapped her hand against Robbie's torso, "Bad boy! I'll spank you!"And Robbie cowered, holding his hands over his face so that she had to add, "No, I won't, Robbie. I won't spank you. But anyway, it's my turn to hide now because you've got longer legs and you promised not to run till I found you."Robbie nodded his head--a small parallelepiped with rounded edges and corners attached to a similar but much larger parallelepiped that served as torso by means of a short, flexible stalk--and obediently faced the tree. A thin, metal film descended over his glowing eyes and from within his body came a steady, resonant ticking."Don't peek now--and don't skip any numbers," warned Gloria, and scurried for cover.With unvarying regularity, seconds were ticked off, and at the hundredth, up went the eyelids, and the glowing red of Robbie's eyes swept the prospect. They rested for a moment on a bit of colorful gingham that protruded from behind a boulder. He advanced a few steps and convinced himself that it was Gloria who squatted behind it.Slowly, remaining always between Gloria and home-tree, he advanced on the hiding place, and when Gloria was plainly in sight and could no longer even theorize to herself that she was not seen, he extended one arm toward her, slapping the other against his leg so that it rang again. Gloria emerged sulkily."You peeked!" she exclaimed, with gross unfairness. "Besides I'm tired of playing hide-and-seek. I want a ride."But Robbie was hurt at the unjust accusation, so he seated himself carefully and shook his head ponderously from side to side.Gloria changed her tone to one of gentle coaxing immediately, "Come on, Robbie. I didn't mean it about the peeking. Give me a ride."Robbie was not to be won over so easily, though. He gazed stubbornly at the sky, and shook his head even more emphatically."Please, Robbie, please give me a ride." She encircled his neck with rosy arms and hugged tightly. Then, changing moods in a moment, she moved away. "If you don't, I'm going to cry," and her face twisted appallingly in preparation.Hard-hearted Robbie paid scant attention to this dreadful possibility, and shook his head a third time. Gloria found it necessary to play her trump card."If you don't," she exclaimed warmly, "I won't tell you any more stories, that's all. Not one--"Robbie gave in immediately and unconditionally before this ultimatum, nodding his head vigorously until the metal of his neck hummed. Carefully, he raised the little girl and placed her on his broad, flat shoulders.Gloria's threatened tears vanished immediately and she crowed with delight. Robbie's metal skin, kept at a constant temperature of seventy by the high resistance coils within, felt nice and comfortable, while the beautifully loud sound her heels made as they bumped rhythmically against his chest was enchanting."You're an air-coaster, Robbie, you're a big, silver air-coaster. Hold out your arms straight. --You got to, Robbie, if you're going to be an air-coaster."The logic was irrefutable. Robbie's arms were wings catching the air currents and he was a silver 'coaster.Gloria twisted the robot's head and leaned to the right. He banked sharply. Gloria equipped the 'coaster with a motor that went "Br-r-r" and then with weapons that went "Powie" and "Sh-sh-shshsh." Pirates were giving chase and the ship's blasters were coming into play. The pirates dropped in a steady rain."Got another one. --Two more," she cried.Then "Faster, men," Gloria said pompously, "we're running out of ammunition." She aimed over her shoulder with undaunted courage and Robbie was a blunt-nosed spaceship zooming through the void at maximum acceleration.Clear across the field he sped, to the patch of tall grass on the other side, where he stopped with a suddenness that evoked a shriek from his flushed rider, and then tumbled her onto the soft, green carpet.Gloria gasped and panted, and gave voice to intermittent whispered exclamations of "That was nice!"Robbie waited until she had caught her breath and then pulled gently at a lock of hair."You want something?" said Gloria, eyes wide in an apparently artless complexity that fooled her huge "nursemaid" not at all. He pulled the curl harder."Oh, I know. You want a story."Robbie nodded rapidly."Which one?"Robbie made a semi-circle in the air with one finger.The little girl protested, "Again? I've told you Cinderella a million times. Aren't you tired of it? --It's for babies."Another semi-circle."Oh, well," Gloria composed herself, ran over the details of the tale in her mind (together with her own elaborations, of which she had several) and began:"Are you ready? Well--once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl whose name was Ella. And she had a terribly cruel step-mother and two very ugly and very cruel step-sisters and--"Gloria was reaching the very climax of the tale--midnight was striking and everything was changing back to the shabby originals lickety-split, while Robbie listened tensely with burning eyes--when the interruption came."Gloria!"It was the high-pitched sound of a woman who has been calling not once, but several times; and had the nervous tone of one in whom anxiety was beginning to overcome impatience."Mamma's calling me," said Gloria, not quite happily. "You'd better carry me back to the house, Robbie."Robbie obeyed with alacrity for somehow there was that in him which judged it best to obey Mrs. Weston, without as much as a scrap of hesitation. Gloria's father was rarely home in the daytime except on Sunday--today, for instance--and when he was, he proved a genial and understanding person. Gloria's mother, however, was a source of uneasiness to Robbie and there was always the impulse to sneak away from her sight.Mrs. Weston caught sight of them the minute they rose above the masking tufts of long grass and retired inside the house to wait."I've shouted myself hoarse, Gloria," she said, severely. "Where were you?""I was with Robbie," quavered Gloria. "I was telling him Cinderella, and I forgot it was dinner-time.""Well, it's a pity Robbie forgot, too." Then, as if that reminded her of the robot's presence, she whirled upon him. "You may go, Robbie. She doesn't need you now." Then, brutally, "And don't come back till I call you."Robbie turned to go, but hesitated as Gloria cried out in his defense, "Wait, Mamma, you got to let him stay. I didn't finish Cinderella for him. I said I would tell him Cinderella and I'm not finished.""Gloria!""Honest and truly, Mamma, he'll stay so quiet, you won't even know he's here. He can sit on the chair in the corner, and he won't say a word,--I mean he won't do anything. Will you, Robbie?"Robbie, appealed to, nodded his massive head up and down once."Gloria, if you don't stop this at once, you shan't see Robbie for a whole week."The girl's eyes fell, "All right! But Cinderella is his favorite story and I didn't finish it. --And he likes it so much."The robot left with a disconsolate step and Gloria choked back a sob.George Weston was comfortable. It was a habit of his to be comfortable on Sunday afternoons. A good, hearty dinner below the hatches; a nice, soft, dilapidated couch on which to sprawl; a copy of the Times; slippered feet and shirtless chest;--how could anyone help but be comfortable?He wasn't pleased, therefore, when his wife walked in. After ten years of married life, he still was so unutterably foolish as to love her, and there was no question that he was always glad to see her--still Sunday afternoons just after dinner were sacred to him and his idea of solid comfort was to be left in utter solitude for two or three hours. Consequently, he fixed his eye firmly upon the latest reports of the Lefebre-Yoshida expedition to Mars (this one was to take off from Lunar Base and might actually succeed) and pretended she wasn't there.Mrs. Weston waited patiently for two minutes, then impatiently for two more, and finally broke the silence."George!""Hmpph?""George, I say! Will you put down that paper and look at me?"The paper rustled to the floor and Weston turned a weary face toward his wife, "What is it, dear?""You know what it is, George. It's Gloria and that terrible machine.""What terrible machine?""Now don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. It's that robot Gloria calls Robbie. He doesn't leave her for a moment.""Well, why should he? He's not supposed to. And he certainly isn't a terrible machine. He's the best darn robot money can buy and I'm damned sure he set me back half a year's income. He's worth it, though--darn sight cleverer than half my office staff."He made a move to pick up the paper again, but his wife was quicker and snatched it away."You listen to me, George. I won't have my daughter entrusted to a machine--and I don't care how clever it is. It has no soul, and no one knows what it may be thinking. A child just isn't made to be guarded by a thing of metal."Weston frowned, "When did you decide this? He's been with Gloria two years now and I haven't seen you worry till now.""It was different at first. It was a novelty; it took a load off me, and--and it was a fashionable thing to do. But now I don't know. The neighbors--""Well, what have the neighbors to do with it. Now, look. A robot is infinitely more to be trusted than a human nursemaid. Robbie was constructed for only one purpose really--to be the companion of a little child. His entire 'mentality' has been created for the purpose. He just can't help being faithful and loving and kind. He's a machine--made so. That's more than you can say for humans.""But something might go wrong. Some--some--" Mrs. Weston was a bit hazy about the insides of a robot, "some little jigger will come loose and the awful thing will go berserk and--and--" She couldn't bring herself to complete the quite obvious thought."Nonsense," Weston denied, with an involuntary nervous shiver. "That's completely ridiculous. We had a long discussion at the time we bought Robbie about the First Law of Robotics. You know that it is impossible for a robot to harm a human being; that long before enough can go wrong to alter that First Law, a robot would be completely inoperable. It's a mathematical impossibility. Besides I have an engineer from U.S. Robots here twice a year to give the poor gadget a complete overhaul. Why, there's no more chance of anything at all going wrong with Robbie than there is of you or I suddenly going looney--considerably less, in fact. Besides, how are you going to take him away from Gloria?"He made another futile stab at the paper and his wife tossed it angrily into the next room."That's just it, George! She won't play with anyone else. There are dozens of little boys and girls that she should make friends with, but she won't. She won't go near them unless I make her. That's no way for a little girl to grow up. You want her to be normal, don't you? You want her to be able to take her part in society.""You're jumping at shadows, Grace. Pretend Robbie's a dog. I've seen hundreds of children who would rather have their dog than their father.""A dog is different, George. We must get rid of that horrible thing. You can sell it back to the company. I've asked, and you can.""You've asked? Now look here, Grace, let's not go off the deep end. We're keeping the robot until Gloria is older and I don't want the subject brought up again." And with that he walked out of the room in a huff.Mrs. Weston met her husband at the door two evenings later. "You'll have to listen to this, George. There's bad feeling in the village."

Bookclub Guide

The three laws of Robotics:1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm2) 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.1. Do Asimov’s now-famous Three Laws of Robotics mirror humanity’s ethics code in any way? Whose orders are human beings required to obey? Do our definitions of “harm” ever lead to the same confounding dilemmas experienced in I, Robot?2. Why was Gloria’s mother unable to accept Robbie as an excellent nursemaid? Was Robbie premonitory on Asimov’s part—a prediction that children in the twenty-first century might form intense emotional attachments to electronics?3. Cutie (QT) questions his origins and finds it impossible to believe that a human created him. In what ways did Powell and Donovan reinforce this belief?4. Does the case of Stephen Byerley indicate that robots might make better politicians? Would this only hold true if, as the novel envisions, nations dissolve into massive world regions?5. What is the ultimate commodity produced by U.S. Robot & Mechanical Men, Inc.? Does our global workforce follow this model in any way? Were humor and compassion inevitable traits in the robots? Do these traits interfere with productivity in the world of I, Robot?6. In the book’s closing lines, Dr. Susan Calvin tells the narrator, “You will see what comes next,” as robots stand between mankind and destruction. How did her career lead up to such a precarious conclusion?7. I, Robot has been turned into a major motion picture starring Will Smith. How does the movie compare with your book-reading experience? What do you think of the adjustments made and liberties taken when converting this collection of stories to one seamless film adaptation?8. Foundation opens with the perspective of Gaal Dornick, “a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.” What is the effect of opening the novel with Gaal’s observations? Why did Hari Seldon extend such an invitation to Gaal?9. In the trial portrayed in chapter 6, the Commission’s Advocate repeatedly rejects Hari’s deductions regarding the future. What has made Hari a target for exile? Why are his projections—supported by seemingly irrefutable logic and mathematics—so easily dismissed by his accusers?10. Part 3 of Foundation begins with an entry from the Encyclopedia Galactica that reads, “Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of the history of the four Kingdoms involves the strange society forced temporarily upon it during the administration of Salvor Hardin.” In what ways does Hardin distinguish himself from the other rulers described in the novel? What conditions fostered his rise to power?11. The Foundation is intended in some ways as a kind of religious center. What are its doctrines? Can a religion of science fail?12. Discuss the novel’s references to energy—in this case, nuclear power—in relation to political and economic supremacy. What other forces drive the novel’s hierarchies of dominance? How does the role of the Traders evolve in the novel’s closing chapters?13. What were the root causes of the Foundation’s fall? Could its demise have been avoided, even after war had begun?14. As Lord of the Universe, is Cleon II naïve or perceptive? In what ways do his sensibilities affect his fate?15. What, ultimately, is the source of the Mule’s power to perform Conversions in Foundation and Empire? What role did psychology play in his own origins?16. Do the Independent Trading Worlds accurately perceive their vulnerabilities? In contrast, what perpetuated Neotrantor’s survival?17. Bayta’s final conversation with the Mule explains his moniker as well as his perceptions of how power is perpetuated. What does this dialogue indicate about gender roles in the realm of the Second Foundation, and about the possibility of democracy?18. Discuss the spectrum of characters affected by the Mule in Second Foundation’s five opening interludes. In what ways do the Mule’s tactics vary?19. In what ways does Bail Channis’s personality reflect a cultural shift from the previous Foundation novels?20. Near the beginning of the fifteenth chapter, Arcadia is described as “dressed in borrowed clothes, standing on a borrowed planet in a borrowed situation of what seemed even to be a borrowed life.” In what ways is she both an unlikely and an ideal savior?21. Scholarship such as the Encyclopedia project represented Hari’s belief in the power of learning (and even the power of the mind itself, in the form of neural microcurrents). To what extent is a civilization’s success measured by the survival of its knowledge?22. The final chapter of Second Foundation offers a thoughtful coda to the novel. What is the “true” question to that chapter’s “answer that was true?”23. If Hari Seldon’s equations were applied to Earth’s societies, what might the results be?24. What connotations and root words were you able to derive from the character names and geographic locations featured in the series?25. How does the series evolve as a whole? What overarching narrative is propelled by the events that occur within the individual books?26. Isaac Asimov wrote these three books very early in his career, during the 1950s—an era marked by the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the early stages of the space race. How might the events of this period have shaped the Foundation storyline?27. In what sense does the trilogy offer a cautionary tale for contemporary leaders in politics, science, and the humanities?