Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Robot Visions

Front Cover

Robot Visions
by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isaac Asimov thinks robots are cool, and I'm with him. The technology he writes about is very retro-future, but the ideas are still interesting. I am always fascinated by the logical puzzles he sets up to revolve around the Three Laws of Robotics, which are Asimov's most important innovation.

My favorite stories star robopsychologist Susan Calvin, who I love because she's usually right. Unfortunately Asimov sometimes paints her as a stereotypical sexless career woman (the story "Liar" is particularly annoying). Her fierce intelligence and overbearing personality make the sexist men she works with class her as something other than a normal female. Still, she's a woman who excels in a male-dominated career field. Pretty badass for a character originally created in the 1940s.

Calvin is also a misanthrope who prefers the company of robots. According to her, robots are not at all like human beings, since "Robots are essentially decent." It is true that robots gain the moral high ground in these stories, where the biggest stinkers are usually human.

For great Golden Age science fiction, you simply can't beat Asimov.

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