It's hard to review a book that I had so many misconceptions about when I picked it up. I knew it is considered a great piece of sci-fi, but was really shocked by the huge departure that the filmmakers took from Asimov's original vision.
Forget all the action sequences. Forget everything you've seen in contemporary science fiction, because I, Robot is not it. Perhaps that story gets told in later books in the series, but I don't know. But what we have in this book is definitely the beginnings of that modern sci-fi. We don't get gigantic space battles or epic conflicts between man and machine. What we do get is mining on asteroids and Mercury. We get the progression of technology. We get a lot of the basic ideas that later SF authors capitalized on. The saying is that "If I see far, it's because I stand on the shoulders of giants." Well, Asimov is certainly a giant, and it's easy to see why. This book was published in 1950, and the technological ideas in it are incredible. I don't doubt that a lot of scientists and modern roboticists have taken at least some inspiration from this novel. The writing is good, and keeps you moving along despite the fact that there is relatively little conflict within the book.
A few of the characters kind of fell flat for me. A lot of them were smart, but one seemed like he was belligerent the entire time, while another balanced him as the voice of reason. The robo-psychologist got thrown into the middle of it, and she seemed to have next to no emotion at all, except for a certain point. So...yeah. Characters feel a little two-dimensional. But hey, it was the '50s.
This two-dimensionality isn't helped at all by the narration. The performance was so wooden, the narrator could be nicknamed "oak." I'm sure he's not a bad narrator--I enjoyed the book, after all. But there was a distinct lack of emotional range whenever anything happened in the book. Granted, the book doesn't have much emotional dynamism either, but I feel that Scott Brick really missed a chance to help the text feel even more interesting.
Another thing that pulled me out was the date. Apparently, we have the option to study robo-psychology in universities, but I never knew about it. In 1950, the great leaps that technology was taking probably made it seem like a positronic brain was attainable in the late 1970s, but, well... I'm just going to stick to waiting for the flying cars.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
FIRST OFF - This audiobook is NOT a re-telling of the storyline for the movie "I, Robot".
It is actually an amazing collection of robot-related short stories by Asimov.
Some might be disappointed by this fact, but I found this series to be as good as it gets (as far as ANY sci-fi goes). My favorite of the short stories by FAR was "Reason", in which a robot does not believe that he had been constructed by humans and goes on to start his own robo-religion of sorts. BUY THIS BOOK!
I have been married to the same wonderful wife for over 27 years and have two adult children, out of the house, that are married, working, and doing well.
Yes, for me personally, even though the ideas about robots are old, I found it interesting to think about.
Yes, if they like thinking about different ideas.
The part that I like the best is when the robots became independent of man and why and how.
Yes, gave me something to think about.
I actually saw the movie before I listened to the book, and while there are some intersections between the movie and the book, they are basically completely different. That said, I like both. The book basically a series of vignettes that show technological progress and its societal implications, through the eyes of a robo-psychologist who watched their development. It comes together a bit in the end.
It's definitely not a thriller like the movie, but it was very interesting and also very thought provoking about technology and human nature.
I loved this audiobook and here is why. First the content itself is remarkable. The themes chosen by Asimov are right on target and are more relevant today than at anytime since the publication of this novel.
As a roboticist myself, my impression of Asimov's 3 laws has radically changed over the last 2 decades. When I first studied robots, I thought anything like the 3 laws and the idea of positronic brains where a far fetched fantasy. Now, the study of robot ethics, emotions, and personality are very serious topics as we learn to build robots that interact closely with humans.
Asimo builds his book using the 3 laws as axioms or postulates and then explores the ramification of those postulates. This is exactly what mathematicians do. In essence Asimov has translated the mathematical thought process into a wonderful novel. But he also uses these postulates to probe the basic nature of human beings.
Now, after 20 years of working with robots, I can state that that Asimov's vision was breathtaking.
Second, I loved the narration. I admit that it took a couple of stories to have my ear tuned to the speakers voice, but by the end of this audiobook, I found myself craving for more.
This audiobook is a "must have" for anyone who loves humanity or robots.
I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".
Great book, nothing to do with the movie except for the fact that they are both about robot/human relations. The language is very 50's. You quite often here things like, "That robot's gone crazy I tell ya! He's gone lulu!" Written like a series of short stories, the same heros in several stories seem to tie the whole book together.
rage against the machine
Unlike some of his other novels, this one is fast paced and enjoyable. As usual the novel far outstripped the movie. I enjoyed the several different short stories that are contained within. If you even some what liked the movie you will be blown away by this.... enjoy!
If your into technology and science, you will love this book. It is amazingly written and well researched. I think of Isaac Asimov as one of the greatest minds in history. He has such a thorough understanding of robotics and psychology, and that is what makes this book such a great read. This book has almost nothing to do with the movie, just so everyone knows. The only things taken from the book to the movie, was one or two of the characters and the robots.
Many people miss entirely the point of this book, which is not "Man-vs-Machine" nor "This is what the future is going to be like". It's about the moral implications of creating conscious beings, of playing god, of becoming evolution's second favorite child. So what if Asimov guesses the population wrong 60 years ahead of his time! The book is not about guessing the future or predicting advances in technology, and if you read it in that mindset you will be disappointed. "I, Robot" is more "1984" than "Star Wars", and it is a true science fiction classic.