Stories set in the universe begun by Isaac Asimov in "I, Robot".

Michael P. Kube-McDowell and Mike McQuay, "Robot City"

2004-06-18 · in Books, "I, Robot" Universe · 303 words

You are attempting to commit suicide. I am not required to comply with your orders under these circumstances.

I'm trying to save myself, Derec said. If you really want me to live, you'll step aside and give me a chance.

I will take you to a safe place within the community—

There are no safe places here! Derec shouted. Don't you understand?

Two stories set in Asimov's "I, Robot" universe, written by different authors. There's actually a complete series of these books continuing the storyline, which — very loosely — is that an unknown intelligence has enabled the construction of a society consisting entirely of robots, and the robots are thus at somewhat of a loss as to what they should be doing. (One of the things, apparently, is trying to figure out what the "Laws of Humanics" should be.)

Neither author is anything like as good as Asimov is — McQuay a little better than Kube-McDowell — but they both manage to find a few interesting corner cases in the Laws of Robotics, and to invent some cool new technologies (I particularly liked the entire-city-as-robot idea). The first story is fairly random space opera, where the protagonist — Derec — wakes up with no idea who he is inside a mysterious robot-constructed complex and tries to figure out what's going on. The second continues where the first left off (in immediate plot terms, although it leaves many of the interesting plot lines from the first book hanging in mid-air), and is a mystery story in which Derec attempts to solve the murder of the first man to visit Robot City.

This isn't remarkable SF by any stretch of the imagination, but if you've read Asimov's earlier work in the same universe then it'll probably be of some interest.

Isaac Asimov, "I, Robot" (reread)

2004-03-20 · in Books, "I, Robot" Universe · 138 words

From my Dad's SF collection; a book I'd read several times when I was younger, but not for several years.

Reread for the obvious reason that there's a film very loosely (and, having read the book again, let me underline that "very" a few times) based on some of the plot coming out.

It's still a good collection of interesting SF stories. What I'd forgotten was that it is an thinly-disguised anthology rather than a single cohesive story: there are connecting parts to put the stories in the context of anecdotes being told by Susan Calvin to an interviewer, but the changes in Asimov's style over the period in which the stories were written are quite obvious.

Recommended, but you probably didn't need me to tell you that.

Categories