Inder's Reviews > I, Robot

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
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's review
Jul 02, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 20th-century, fiction, science, 1001-books, read-2009, other-reading-2009
Read in August, 2009

I spent the first half of this book noting the similarities between I, Robot and Foundation. Short vignettes that build on each other - check. Clever but gruff lead male characters - check. A central philosophical conundrum presented in puzzle form - check. Pointed references to religious belief as a lower form of intelligence - check.

These are the only two Asimov novels I have read, but based on what I know so far, I would venture to guess that Asimov used this "formula" in other novels as well. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Once I recovered from my initial "This is Foundation, but with robots!" reaction, I really started to enjoy I, Robot, for the same reasons I enjoyed Foundation: It is really smart and also really fun. A geeky good time. Asimov is no Vonnegut, but neither is anyone else (besides Vonnegut).

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Reading Progress

08/11/2009 page 95
34.8% "I'm recovering from the fact that this is a robot version of Foundation and beginning to enjoy myself anyway."
08/12/2009 page 150
54.95% "Definitely turning the pages quickly now."

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Rebecca Can't wait to read "I, Robot, but without robots!" Aka Foundation.

message 2: by Howard (new)

Howard Uliss The two series are tied together. I read the 3 robot books and all the foundation books-great stuff. The last three foundation books were written by authors other than Asimov. He died and they were written by 3 famous disciples and are good in their own right.

message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth M and I joke about the 3 laws all the time. When I taught it, of course, I had to point out the sexism/racism of it. The leaders of the different regions of the world cracked me up--Europe was repp'd by an old woman. I think Africa was repp'd by a lazy dude or something, don't quite recall. And of course the woman scientist had to be almost robotic herself--a chick can't be good at science AND have feelings/femininity. The robot/woman link is always fascinating in the old timey/canonical SF. The word "robot" came from czeck for laborer, and a playright wrote a socialist play about machine workers--class/labor issues built into the premise from the start. So interesting! (Sorry if i got too academic/pedantic there.)

Rebecca Ah yes, the random world politics symbolism at the end is so hilariously, eye-rollingly unsubtle. As was the whole episode wherein frigid scientist lady is outsmarted by the robot because actually she just wants to be loved. Barf. But as I said in my review, at least she wasn't an evil sexbot.

Inder I completely agree but I figured everyone was bored by my rants about sexism in mid-20th-century sci-fi (see my review of Foundation for a starting point).

message 6: by Inder (last edited Aug 30, 2009 10:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Inder Actually, the African was a real go-getter - the opposite of lazy. The tropics region was set to take over the world. But still, pretty unsubtle.

message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I think I was madder about it at the time because I was TAing for a real piece of work who didn't make a single comment in lecture on the at-least-she's-not-a-sexbot. I think if I read it now I'd roll with it a bit more. And then read more Octavia Butler.

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