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Publisher's Summary

They mustn't harm a human being, they must obey human orders, and they must protect their own existence...but only so long as that doesn't violate rules one and two. With these Three Laws of Robotics, humanity embarked on a bold new era of evolution that would open up enormous possibilities, and unforeseen risks. For the scientists who invented the earliest robots weren't content that their creations should remain programmed helpers, companions, and semisentient worker-machines. And soon the robots themselves, aware of their own intelligence, power, and humanity, aren't either.

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Herb
  • Ferderal Way, WA, USA
  • 02-19-05

Forget the violence - Read this one for the humor

I listened to this before I saw the movie. It's too bad that Will Smith is on the cover. Don't get it wrong, I love Will Smith and never miss any of his movies. He did a great job in the Movie. The problem is giving the movie the title of a great book and then turning the story up-side-down is an injustice.

I have to admit, until I heard a review of the movie on NPR I had never read any of Asimov's Fiction. Yes, he wrote GREAT Non-Fiction. Being a programmer I enjoyed the book. In fact I liked it so much I have listened to it three times and suspect there will be a fourth.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes technical detail with their SciFi Fiction. I am sure you will want to listen to it more than once. Oh, and I would rate this book G for Great for General Audiences.

44 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • C
  • 07-02-05

Classic Book, Excellent Narration

The book is a classic and if you haven't read it -- you won't be dissapointed with the picture of the future it paints.

The narration is excellent along with the audio quality.

The only minus -- it bears the image of Will Smith from the movie "I, Robot." The movie has 0.0% to do with the book, is the opposite of it in many ways with its hordes of killer robots. Dr. Asimov must be rolling in his grave.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Fredrik
  • yucaipa, CA, USA
  • 06-11-04

Thank you

Thank you so much for publishing this classic, I Robot! I have been waiting the five years of my membership for this to happen! This is the first book I read as a child in elementary school.At that age I naively wrote Asimov a letter offering him $7 for the plans for the robot character. The mench he was, Azimov wrote me back appologizing for the plans not being his to sell. I Robot is the foudation of all science fiction robot behavior published in written or film form. I reccommend this audio rendition highly.

84 of 87 people found this review helpful

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  • Ken
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 07-17-04

Great story, but it's NOT the movie

Get this book if you're wanting a great story that explores the concepts of integrating robots into human society. If you're getting this book thinking that you'll get what you see on the silver screen, then pass it by because it has absolutely nothing to do with the movie...well, unless of course you count the robots. Otherwise, this book is written by Isaac Asimov and the movie is written by someone else.

This book takes you through the the concepts of how we could trust robots and how, through their obedience of the three laws, we could rely on them too much. It offers quite a few twists and turns.

I'm glad I finally got to read this book after so many years of just hearing about it.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Absolute Must Hear

The Godfather of modern Science Fiction writes the Grandfather of all robot stories. Everything before was lacking in depth and everything after "borrowed" from this series. Asimov sets up rules of behavior for robots and a universe with a nearly unbreakable internal logic (only Asimov himself "bends" them with anything like impunity"). Other writers who have ignored the need for the Three Laws of Robotics have given us the Berserkers and the Borg and the like. Also good fiction; thus highlighting Asimov's genius in the first place! Enjoy!

91 of 97 people found this review helpful

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  • Gerry
  • Prairie Grove, AR, United States
  • 06-13-04

Great read.

The story starts out in the simplest of terms with the basic laws for robots, but quickly turns into complex thought provoking mind teaser. I loved the stories told by the lives of the characters and was sad for the book to end. The story starts simply but spirals up. Must read!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Pleasure to listen to

I had never read any of Asimov's books, despite having heard him as my college commencement speaker in the 70's. This book is really a collection of great short stories that is no less current now than when it was written. THis really is a pleasure to listent to. I wholeheartly agree with the other glowing reviews here.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 03-12-13

Some of Asimov's best stories

Originally posted at FanLit.

“..all conflicts are finally evitable. Only the Machines, from now on, are inevitable”

Most science fiction fans know Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:

Robots must not hurt human beings or allow them to come to harm.
Robots must obey human beings so far as it doesn’t violate Law 1.
Robots must not harm themselves as long as this doesn’t violate Laws 1 and 2.
In I, Robot, Asimov presents nine stories within a frame story that explore the implications of these Three Laws of Robotics. The introduction presents the frame story, which introduces Dr. Susan Calvin, who has recently retired from a 50-year career as the world’s first robopsychologist. A reporter is attempting to interview the somewhat reclusive Dr. Calvin, who is reluctant to share her experiences. Through clever flattery, questions and prompts, he finally gets her talking, which gives Asimov a chance to reprint these nine stories which were originally published between 1940 and 1950 in the pulp magazines Astounding Science Fiction and Super Science Stories:

“Robbie” — (revised version of “Strange Playfellow,” Super Science Stories, 1940) A little girl named Gloria is given one of the world’s first robotic companions, but her mother worries about Gloria being raised by a machine, so she takes Robbie away. “Robbie” is Isaac Asimov’s first robot story. It’s sweet and simple, dealing with Law 1 in the most obvious way and portraying robots as tools made by man to help him with his work. Dr. Susan Calvin makes a cameo appearance in this story. She’s sitting in a museum studying the first talking robot when Gloria comes to ask the robot a question.

“Runaround” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1942) Engineers Gregory Powell and Mike Donovan, a couple of Asimov’s recurring characters, have been sent to Mercury to work on a mining station. When they send Speedy the robot out to fetch some selenium, he doesn’t come back and they have to go looking for him. When they find Speedy, he seems confused and Powell and Donovan discover that there’s a delicate balance between the three Laws of Robotics. They must figure out how to use the laws to get the robot back on track. This is Asimov’s first story that specifically explains the Three Laws and shows that they are not as clear as they seem.

“Reason” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1941) Powell and Donovan are working on a space station with a robot named QT1 (“Cutie”). When Cutie decides that humans do not exist and that he’s a prophet of The Master, the engineers, thinking that the Three Laws are in jeopardy, try to reason with him.

“Catch That Rabbit” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1944) Powell and Donovan are overseeing a mining operation on an asteroid and are accompanied by Dave, a new kind of robot that is still under development. Dave is in an overseer position over six subservient (“finger”) robots. Powell and Donovan notice that when humans are not around, Dave and his “fingers” sometimes quit working and begin marching aimlessly. When the engineers try to figure out what’s wrong, they end up in a dangerous position and need to figure out how to get Dave and his team working correctly so the robots can save them.

“Liar!” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1941) A robot named Herbie misapplies the First Law of Robotics (never hurt a human being) by telling people what he thinks they want to hear. However, Herbie’s lies end up embarrassing and hurting humans, including Dr. Susan Calvin. According to Wikipedia, which cites the Oxford English Dictionary, “Liar” contains the first published use of the word “robotics.”

“Little Lost Robot” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1947) When a human tells the robot named Nestor to “get lost,” he does, by hiding himself in a room full of identical robots. This is a problem for Dr. Susan Calvin and the other scientists because Nestor is an experimental robot that (for a good reason) was produced with a slightly different version of the First Law. While it can’t harm humans, it is not compelled to step in to stop them from being hurt. Dr. Calvin realizes that this programming could logically lead to a situation in which a robot could actually harm someone. They must find Nestor.

“Escape!” — (originally “Paradoxical Escape” in Astounding Science Fiction, 1945) In this weird story, an artificial intelligence called “The Brain” becomes a practical joker, using humor to deal with its cognitive dissonance. Gregory Powell and Mike Donovan are the unfortunate victims and robopsychologist Susan Calvin must discover what’s gone wrong.

“Evidence” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1946) Stephen Byerley is running for mayor but his opponent claims Byerley is a robot because nobody sees him eat or sleep. Byerley, running on a civil rights platform, refuses to let his opponents examine him. When Dr. Susan Calvin tries to use the Three Laws to determine whether he’s human, she can’t tell if he’s a robot, or just a “very good man.” This makes her wonder if a robot might actually be a better leader than a man.

“The Evitable Conflict” — (Astounding Science Fiction, 1950) The world is now efficiently run by artificial intelligence. Supply and demand are perfectly balanced and humans thrive. When some of the machines start to make mistakes, Stephen Byerley and Susan Calvin want to know why. What they discover is an entirely new extension of the First Law and it might mean doom (or liberation) for the human race.

I, Robot is an excellent collection of some of Isaac Asimov’s best stories. Here we meet friendly robots, religious robots, prankster robots, robots with superiority complexes, robots that are confused by moral or logical dilemmas, and robots with cognitive dissonance. Asimov explores the implications and the limits of his Three Laws and leaves us with a lot to think about.

The order of the stories in I, Robot makes the collection especially effective; with “Robbie” we start with a simple and obvious application of the Three Laws and with “The Evitable Conflict” we end with a head-spinning potential interpretation of these very same laws. Though Isaac Asimov was optimistic about our future with artificial intelligence, he shows us that even though humans are programming robots, it may be difficult for us to understand and predict some of their behaviors because of the way they use logic to interpret the laws we give them.

I listened to Scott Brick narrate Random House Audio’s version of I, Robot. Scott Brick is always a great narrator and I highly recommend the audiobook.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Ruskin, FL, USA
  • 07-26-04

So many writers stand on Asimov's shoulders!!!

That's right! I'm not saying you'll like it, just that if other writers have written more detailed stories, more exciting in your opinion... then I promise you one thing. Before they started WRITING, they READ Asimov. I love every word of this story, I read them first when I was a boy and they had an impact of how I saw the world. For the "bad" reviewers, I suggest you read a few hundred of the books that Asimov wrote and you'll have a better idea what this man was capable of. Great science fiction of course, great mysteries too, and yes! Great non-fiction, like the book that got me through Organic Chemistry. If you have not read Asimov, just pick one. Give it a whirl. I will bet you will glad that you did.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Peace.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Classic Old School Science Fiction

This is a collection of short stories revolving around a central character, a robot psychologist who is about to retire. She reminisces to a reporter and the stories represent the events she is telling the reporter about, although as told by a narrator other than the psychologist. All of the stories turn on the Three Rules of Robotics, which I’m sure another review or two have spelled out elsewhere.

This book in the first in the series and although I have not read the others (yet), I can tell you the story in the Will Smith movie is not found in this book or any of the others. Characters, situations, and ideas from this book do appear in that movie, but the idea of a violent robot uprising runs contrary to the theme in this book of robots not generally being able to harm humans. Though, the final story in this book suggests robots may be able to subtly manipulate mankind to their mutual benefit.

The stories are mostly clever and fun. The dialogue, the ways the characters interact, and the underlying “science”, now seem quaint of course. But younger readers will still enjoy this sci-fi classic if they suspend the part of their mind struggling with that and just enjoy the stories themselves.

I recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of vintage sci fi.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Robbie
  • 03-01-09

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-20-07

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!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Alina
  • 02-09-17

Sad is finished. I enjoyed it so much!

It is a fantastic book and very well narated. lt made me laugh and everything. I very much enjoyed it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Eliza
  • 01-13-17

Interesting study of robotic behavior.

Ok. So. Before reviewing the audiobook I decided to watch the movie. Which, as it turns out has has absolutely nothing to do with the book. It keeps the basic rules of the book but the plot is constructed out of thin air.

I enjoyed the book very much. But is less of a plot driven book then a collection of stories and examples of robotic behavior. This makes for interesting reading as a study but not so much if you are looking for something action packed and super exciting.

Having said that I did listen to the whole thing which, for me, if I get bored, is absolutely impossible.

So I enjoyed it and do recommend it if you love robots and want to learn more about how they can possibly function in and with society.

But if you're looking for a written version of the movie- this is not it at all.

I love the Scott Brick and have listened to a few books that he has narrated. He is, as always, exceptional.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr D G Key
  • 12-20-17

exceptional and thought provoking

a definition of the three laws of robotics the definition of their history and the testing of their durability

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  • James
  • 04-21-17

a book way ahead of its time

if all you've seen is the film you are missing out on most of the main themes, present in this story

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  • redfeend
  • 03-21-17

A classic, well narrated.

Scott Brick does the business once again! A well chosen narrator.
I haven't watched the film so can't compare, but based on other adaptations feel the book will surely be superior.
The Three Rules of Robotics create interesting conundrums and as the story unfolds, using the biographical backdrop of robot psychologist Susan, I found myself trying to solve each intellectual puzzle as it arose.

The end of the book is not dramatic, but does leave one wondering, even in 2017, if the computer's tail is wagging the human dog. Robots have not yet taken over the world, but could they?

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  • Janet
  • 01-31-17

Wrong Cover

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not if they thought they were getting the book of the film. This is absolutely the wrong cover.
This is a series of stories which outline the development of the Robot laws. The story of the film is NOT in it.
The breaks between the stories are short. Unless you are paying close attension you may not notice that you have moved on to the next story.

Would you be willing to try another book from Isaac Asimov? Why or why not?


If this book were a film would you go see it?

The cover denotes that it IS the book of the film. It is NOT.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • isaac
  • 10-25-16

Phenomenal sci fi

A collection of short stories with recurring characters based around Asimov's three laws of robotics. Very thought provoking and enjoyable.

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  • The Trog Father
  • 10-21-16

Really Enjoyable with a side of disappointment

Really enjoyed listening to this book. I'd read an 80s ish printing of a book with the title I robot before and couldn't wait to listen to this. I enjoyed the reading. some voices could be similar at times but they were still different. it's lost a star for me though because this is not by any means a complete collection of I Isaac Asimov's robot stories as I'd been expecting. the 80s ish printing if read was and is just thought this cover was a reprint. I was more than a little disappointed when the book ended and I realised i was wrong. don't get me wrong it has most of my favourites and all the stories in this book have aspects that were taken to create the film, and I'm just about to start listening to it again.... it's just a shame it's not a complete collection.

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  • Becca
  • 02-16-17


Scott is wonderful and the book is fantasti
I wish audible had the full ollection of Asimov's work

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  • Michael
  • 01-09-17

One of the best books ever written!

I have listened to this book again and again. it's in my top three books of all time. The narrator and the author are masters at what they do...frankly you just have to listen...its brilliant!!

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  • DDD
  • 11-01-16

Audio a little scratchy

Great story, the only complaint being the audio is a little scratchy. Throw away the movie and read the book.

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  • Adam
  • 09-22-16

Interesting combination of stories

Not like the I, Robot movie with Will Smith but none the lest some interesting concepts.

It was written in 1950 so expect a fast pace Dan Brown novel but more of a thinkers novel.

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  • Hercules
  • 05-18-16

Massive Logic Puzzles

Where does I, Robot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very highly. Near the top for sure.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Susan Calvin - Her mind is fantastic

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Scott Brick is one of my favourite narrators. I purchase books because of him!! In this book he is at his usual awesome standard. He brings the characters to life without over-doing it or under-doing it. You can discern the subtle differences between all of his characters and his female voice isn't ridiculously whispy/airy like most male narrators.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could have, but by its very nature the book is compartmentalised so it is perfect for self-contained bursts of listening pleasure.

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. It is one massive collection of logic problems that you are trying to solve as you listen. The robots are governed by the 3 laws as we what logical reason could there be in each scenario for the robots to be acting the way they do. It's fascinating, intriguing and captivating.
I was worried that the book, being over 60 years old, would be dated, but the science fiction is projected ahead of our time still, and is also within the realm of believe-ability.
One other thing, even though Isaac Asimov was obsessed with Robots, he has an innate understanding of human nature too...the book isn't a mechanical exercise. It is as much about people as it is about robots.