Saturday, 10 April 2021

Book review: I, Robot

1618063057809-52f06e0b-47c8-4655-a192-c6bca885ca50_ Early robot stories by Asimov, featuring the "positronic brain" and the famous "three laws". But these have aged far worse than Foundation. They are clunky, dated, and not well served by the thin "fixup" linking; they'd be better as just unlinked short stories.

Most or perhaps all of them are really puzzle stories or mysteries. But generally the puzzles are uninteresting or over-contrived (example: in one, the puzzle is to tell one robot apart from a pile of others, all identical, none of which have serial numbers. The idea that they would be physically identical with no serial numbers on any of their internal components is not plausible; but it shows perhaps how far away Asimov was from any kind of robot reality).

Politically the stories are objectionable too, but I don't think Asimov was thinking especially clearly so I don't think that aspect is worth analysing.

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