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I, Robot Paperback – April 29, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 339 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The three laws of Robotics:
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 givein to 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.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Isaac Asimov began his Foundation Series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned over 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas, which include the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decades. He died, at the age of seventy-two, in April 1992.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055338256X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553382563
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I, Robot and I, were born in the same year and I suppose I first read the book when I was in my teens and robots were only just a figment of the imagination. Re-reading it again, I find it to be a product of its times. Much as I have always been an admirer of Asimov, I can now see the cultural biases at work; all of his characters are men, even Dr. Susan Calvin. It may have seemed risque to have a female as the lead character, but she was just a man in woman's clothes. For this androgyny, she was punished by having no life outside of work and no real relationships with either men or women.

I suppose we cannot criticise Asimov for his failed vision of the future - some of the events related in the book should be occurring now! We have no robots or space colonies and technology has evolved in a different direction. But remember that the transistor had only just been invented and computers were room-sized behemoths stuffed with relays and vacuum tubes. Who could possibly envisage the PC-driven world of today? However,if we ignore the acual technology, and look at the interplay of man and machine, there are some underlying truths. How many of us have cursed our computers, their ridgid logic and stubborn desire not to do what we want them to ? When your car deploys its airbags in an accident, is it not just following the first law of robotics "...or by inaction allow a human to come to harm"?

Finally, I was amused when Asimov allowed his robots to invent a religion and worship 'the Master'. He was showing how easily religions can distort observable facts and flourish in a non-skeptical population.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a collection of very early short stories about robots. The book is dominated by explorations of the implications and manifestations of Asimov's famous Three Laws of Robotics. For those unfamiliar with Asimov's science fiction about robots, these are absolutely inviolable rules which govern the behavior of all robots in Asimov's fiction. They 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 the 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.
Asimov's explorations are engaging and thought-provoking, and many of his stories take some unexpected twists (although at other times they are painfully predictable). My main complaint is with the characters. It sometimes seems as if the only characters with any personality, or even with a sense of humor, are the robots. When the humans aren't completely emotionless, they are constantly bickering with each other or bemoaning each others' incompetence. While this certainly emphasizes one character's view that robots are "a cleaner, better breed then we are," both the dispassion and the disagreeability of the main characters are painfully overemphasized.
Even so, this is definitely worth a read, especially given its history among the earliest fictional writings about robots.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this. From the start, I was impressed because the book was written in 1950 but the main character, Susan Calvin was born in 1982. She graduated from Columbia in 2003. Essentially, what I'm getting at is that the majority of the novel takes place in years that are a reality to many of us alive now. He may not have accurately predicted the future completely, but living in and seeing the differences is something that I love.

The book really sets in place the laws of robotics and drills them into the reader's mind. It will make you think, however, because laws cannot be broken. Circumstances sometimes force the laws to be broken and that's when problems arise. The end of the novel (no spoilers, don't worry!) will really make you think about a lot of things, particularly the dynamic between human and machine and the dependence upon them.

It's a relatively short book and will keep you entertained the entire time. It's got the feeling of classic science fiction and his writing style reminded me a little bit of Richard Matheson, which made me that much more interested. I would recommend this to anybody who saw the terrible Will Smith movie by the same name and wants it to be redeemed.
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Format: Hardcover
There are some gaps in my classic sci-fi background, and I filled one of them in today. I finished I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. With the upcoming I, Robot movie with Will Smith, I figured it was about time to read the book before I ruined it by seeing the movie first. :-)
Bottom line, this is top-flight classic science fiction by a master. The book is part of the Robot series, and lays the foundation for the three laws of Robotics. 1) They mustn't harm a human being. 2) They must obey human orders. 3) They must protect their own existence, but only if it does not violate rules one and two. The book is made up of a series of vignettes related to the rise of robots, from safe menial labor to all-knowing logic that runs society. The interplay between the three laws and how they are interpreted definitely makes one think.
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