As humans and robots struggle to survive together, and sometimes against each other, on earth and in space, the future of both hangs in the balance. Here human men and women confront robots gone mad, telepathic robots, robot politicians, and vast robotic intelligences that may already secretly control the world. And both are asking the same questions: What is human? And is humanity obsolete?
©1950, 1977 Isaac Asimov; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
I chose "I, Robot" specifically because I expected it to embellish the current movie version that is currently playing at theatres, starring Will Smith. Was I in for a surprise and a disappointment! Rather that getting a typically better and more detailed book version of the current movie I find that the book and the movie have virtually nothing in common. Other than that it was a fairly decent variety of short-stories about life with robots. Disappointing either way.
Bad novel (1), bad narration (1), good audio quality (4) => overall bad (1).
Quick opening note: This collection of short stories has NOTHING to do with recent movie of the same title starring Will Smith.
Review: Successful science fiction or fantasy stories use alternate pasts, presents, and/or futures to treat complex and meaningful themes, relying on an essential core believability to connect to the reader. The wrenchingly dated and completely incongruous "future" presented by Asimov (see *Example) in this collection of short stories renders utterly impossible any such connection. This, combined with the trite "Is technology dangerous?"-themes (repeated without variation for all of the stories), the pedantic and unimaginative storylines (see *Note), and the narrator's poor interpretation and unbalanced performance creates a burdensome and joyless listening experience. Asimov may have helped create the sci-fi genre, but this collection is only of interest as a historical fossil--a situation only exacerbated by poor narration.
*Example: While fixing a thinking, talking robot, a human character on an asteroid mining station doubts whether any computing machines (computers) are present on the station. Note, of course, the implication that Asimov's robots aren't computers, but rather completely electro-*mechanical* devices (think really fancy mechanical clocks).
*Note: The entire "action" of the set of stories lies in repeated exercises in strained "logic" puzzles based on Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics".
"Great book, well read and at a bargain price."
Listening to this audiobook was a true pleasure. The classic sci fi tale of robots and the future of humanity has aged very well and many of the issues it rasies still feel contemporary. The book's structure is pure genius, taking several previously published short stories (some which feature on going characters & some which don't) and stiching them together with original work by means of a journalist conducting reseach. The stories are increasingly epic and complex, each one drawing the listener further into the world of the robots. This is also fascinating for any sci fan as it effectively documents the developement of the genre in the last century, from the simplistic and haunting stories of the pulp fiction anthologies (which make up most of the first half of the book) to the politicay complex novels that writers like Clark, Dick and of course Asimov went on to write.
On the production side the reader does an excellent job representing the different charatcers, both human and robotic!
This is a great production of a great book and at Audible's prices it's a total bargain, especially for subscribers. Get it now!
"Excellent stories, shame about the reader"
Isaac Asimov's robot stories are among the classics of science-fiction, and are a must-read (or must-listen) for anyone with any interest in SF. "I, Robot" is a compilation of some of the best, from among the earliest to among the latest, strung together with a linking narrative that fits them into their "historic" order -- from the first pet-like robots to the handing over of human government to the all-but-omniscient Machines.
The stories themselves easily rate five stars. Unfortunately, I've had to deduct a star because of this audiobook's reader, who manages to be flat and melodramatic simultaneously. He has little sense of dramatic tension, consistently emphasises the wrong words, and is unable to differentiate characters by giving them different voices. I suggest that prospective buyers listen carefully to the audio sample before making a decision.
Overall, though, I'm happy I bought this one.
Three simple rules that govern behaviours... and explore the consequences... listen, learn, discuss. Very enjoyable - a set of classic and linked short stories.
"Excellent story - but unexpected....."
Scott Brick is brilliant at reading and putting a futuristic ambience into a story and this one is no exception. If you are expecting a story of the film (starring Will Smith - which has been interpreted admirably in my opinion), be warned - as with classic stories, the book is not the same. Events are in a different order, the characters have different roles, it is not the same. But the story is a good 'un and should be read for its historic science-fiction interpretation, much the same as you would still want to watch Star Trek and yet love Next Generation. It has a great story and a lot of moralising issues, which is typical of Isaac Asminov. Excellent book - I would highly recommend if you like sci-fi (or even if you don't).
"A collection of exercises in logic"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I see it more as a collection of short mystery stories than one whole book. Each chapter poses a problem, which requires working out what the problem is before a solution can be formed. Each time the solution is revealed it always makes sense. The movie version of this book, picks elements from in and around the book and merges them to form a single story that does not feature in the book.
"Really smart story and superbly narrated"
Really great read/listen. I'm sure many people will be happy that the film only takes inspiration from this book, the stroy told here is very different. It's basically a handful of short(ish) stories about the evolution of AI, each focussing on a specific time and problem encountered, linked together with an overriding story. Each of the four or five "flashbacks", for want of a better word, is really smart and introduces some excellent concepts.
Scott Brick's narration is excellent, demonstrating why he's won awards for narration. His "attempt" at a Scottish accent was a particular highlight.
"Thank You Mr Richardson"
Mr Richardson was my form tutor when I was eleven years of age and during what my school called "form period" he would read this book aloud to the class.
I have loved this book since then. A collection of short stories tracing the rise of robotics from the viewpoint of Dr Susan Calvin as she leaves her post to retire this may seem dated from the dates in the book but the concepts are still cutting edge.
Read reasonably the stories shine through on their own merit and stand the test of time. I would recommend this book to younger readers(9-15) as an introduction to the science fiction genre. Older readers may well enjoy this too!
If you have never read it then you should, this is, after all, a classic from a truly great author.
If only we had "The Rest Of The Robots" too!
"A great SF series of stories"
Lots of different robot stories all in some way connected in sequence, with mysteries to solve, usually explained (without giving the plots away) by the laws of robotics. Great to dip into. Enjoyable entertainment. A good introduction to some aspects of science fiction.
Great stories, immaculately read. A rare combination!
This is a really great story, and narrated about as well as I could imagine!
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