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I, Robot, Isaac Asimov

2011/11/23

This collection of short stories was one of the higher-ups on the NPR list which I had not yet read. I had earlier attempted and struggled through the first part of Asimov’s “Foundation,” but had hopes that his short stories would be more managable, and for the most part, I found that to be true. They are, by turns, sad and frightening, a commentary on parenting, on responsibility, on creation and the created, a commentary on society and how we interact in and with a technologically advanced environment. In particular, the story about Herbie, the robot that could read minds, points out how people will hear what they want to hear, and will construct their own fantasies in order to support their delusions.

I really appreciated the fact that the narrator of the stories, one of the most important scientists in the field of “robopsychology,” is a woman named Susan Calvin, highly trained, educated, and a respected expert. Science fiction has tended to appeal and feature more men rather than woman in leading roles, so this is a welcome change, albeit published in the ’50s. Although this was a good read, I am finding that Asimov’s fiction is perhaps not quite my cup of tea.

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