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I, Robot (The Robot Series) Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1991

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Editorial Reviews Review

In this collection, one of the great classics of science fiction, Asimov set out the principles of robot behavior that we know as the Three Laws of Robotics. Here are stories of robots gone mad, mind-reading robots, robots with a sense of humor, robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world, all told with Asimov's trademark dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction.


An exciting science thriller...' New York Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Robot Series (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Mti edition (November 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553294385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553294385
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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128 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Eileen on August 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Isaac Asimov, the grand master of modern science fiction, wrote this classic collection of stories as the first in his Robot novel series. It deals with the relationships between human and robot. As one of Asimov's earliest novels, it introduced the Three Laws of Robotics that have set the standard for the use of robots in science fiction. In fact, Asimov was the acknowledged creator of the term "robotics."

The stories are tied together via the reminiscences of Dr. Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist for U. S. Robot and Mechanical Men, the corporation that invented and manufactured intelligent robots and computing machines. She reflects upon the evolution of these robots and discusses how little humanity really understands about the artificial intelligence it has created. Each story illuminates a problem encountered when a robot interprets the three fundamental Laws and something goes awry. One robot questions the reason for his existence. Another feels a necessity to lie. Yet another has an ego problem. The later stories introduce the reader to the Machines, powerful computing robots without the typical humanoid personalities of the working robots, that control the economic and industrial processes of the world and that stand between mankind and destruction. These stories introduce some fascinating and sometimes unsettling ideas: where does one draw the fine line between intelligent robot and human? Can man and robot form a balanced relationship? Can a robot's creator reliably predict its behavior based upon its programming? Can logic alone be used to determine what is best for humanity?

"I, Robot" was published in 1950 and includes stories written in the 1940's, when general-purpose electronic digital computers were still in their infancy.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison ( on May 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a collection of nine classic short stories about robots, each of which appeared previously in a pulp SF magazine. The stories contain Asimov's famous three "laws" of robotics as well as the positronic brain (consisting of a platinum/iridium sponge), now quite familiar with "Star Trek" fans. All of these have been great influences in both science and science fiction: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and 3) A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Laws. It should also be noted that Asimov coined the word "robotics" in these stories, a term very common today. I really enjoyed these when I first read them as a teenager (my father had introduced me to Asimov's works). And, now rereading them many years later, I can understand why I enjoyed them. They are straight-forward science fiction in which a problem is presented and a solution posed. The first story, "Robbie," first appeared in 1940 (when Asimov 20 years old) in a slightly different form as "Strange Playfellow." Robbie is a companion robot for a child and the child's mother is apprehensive in allowing her daughter to play with it. "Runaround" (1942) is a story concerning a problem encountered by two trouble-shooters on a mining operation on the surface of Mercury. A robot has been given orders to retrieve some ore yet keeps walking in circles, to the detriment of the two human workers. They come to the conclusion that the problem lies with the three Laws and they have to find a solution.Read more ›
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88 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on July 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Re-reading "I, Robot" before the movie comes out was a good idea, I'm glad I did. For me, reading Asimov if often a fond trip down memory lane.
But if you have never read Asimov or looking for somewhere to start, I would highly recommend "I, Robot" as a first glimpse into Asimov's world(s). Here is a wonderful and timeless collection of nine short stories that all center around a central theme; The Three Laws Of Robotics.
The three laws are: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
These laws are the central theme to each individual story, and connecting them is a running "Runaround", "Reason", and "Catch That Rabbit". Always under the direst of circumstances, they must figure out the malfunction of the robot before something terrible happens. Very entertaining stories.
Some of the other stories are about Dr. Calvin's personal experiences, such as "Liar" and "Little Lost Robot", but all fall back onto the laws as their basic theme, and whether or not humans will ever accept robots among them.
Once finished with "I, Robot", I very highly recommend the "Foundation" series, one of my favorite Asimov themes, along with the Robot Trilogy and another favorite, "Nightfall". Asimov has the gift of creating lively, likeable characters with a technical backdrop to his all-to-human stories, and always infuses a bit of humor into them.
Truly one of the great masters of Sci-Fi, Asimov is a must-read in my opinion, and "I, Robot" is a wonderful starting point.
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