52 Books a Year: #29 - Robot Visions

Posted by Brian Wed, 09 Dec 2009 17:56:30 GMT

Robot Visions
By Isaac Asimov


Isaac Asimov is one of my favorite authors. His science fiction was less about future technology (no useless techno-babble) and more about how that technology would effect humanity. I regard him as as science fiction philosopher. Robot Visions is a collection of thirty-six of his robot stories and essays. It was in these stories that he developed the Three Laws of Robotics and explored the consequences of these laws. Not all of his best known stories are in this collection because they had previously been collected elsewhere. The title story was written specifically for this collection. Previous collections had also edited the stories some to fit into a more coherent whole. Here they are presented exactly as originally published.

The highlight for me was Reason, in which a robot reasons that the machine it was built to maintain is its god. The consequences that emerge from this are quite amusing. The Bicentennial Man also serves as a reminder of how good the original short story was before Hollywood butchered it. There is not a bad story to be found here though.

Asimov was a prolific writer of non-fiction as well, publishing numerous philosophical and science books. Some of his essays are collected here as well and are well worth reading. Some highlight how he came up with positronic brains (positrons had just been discovered) and the word “robotics”, which he was the first to use in 1942.

Overall, this is a fantastic read. Asimov is a science fiction legend for good reason. If you haven’t read any of his works before this collection would be a wonderful place to start.


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