(Click the book cover to see on Goodreads)
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction
Title: I, Robot
Author: Isaac Asimov
Length: 192 pages
Publication: 1970 by Fawcett
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.
‘I, ROBOT, is written in third person past with omniscient point of view, wherein the story follows a multitude of characters. Even so, the characters don’t remain consistent. Despite the constant jump between characters, the third person voice remains the same.
Pacing: The pacing was rather slow because there are multiple stories within the book. What’s more, is some of the stories seem to lack any real connection, which forces to reader to pause and think about what’s going on and its relevance.
World: Only the vaguest of detail is offered for the world, giving more a framework than an actual picture. The real reason is the book focuses more on the events than their scenery.
Writing: The writing is an old style with little descriptive detail. The book lacks flourish, intrigue, and focuses far too much on telling the story. Such a tactic results in a very dry writing style. It causes the story to feel less fictional and more like something out of a textbook, which is only enhanced by the high-level of scientific terminology.
Character: The characters all seem to have the same personality. There is little variety in the voice or motives and there is no background given for any of the characters, which causes all of them to seem that much more similar to the others.
Non-Spoilered Plot: In a world where robots are common and everyone is accustomed to them, it’s only a matter of advancing the robots with new technology for newer purposes. This story depicts a menagerie of stories involving new robots and the scientists who interact with them.
Plot: To be entirely honest, I can’t decide what the plot of this novel is. There is no hero. There is no antagonist. There is not even an MC really. Rather, this is more just a collection of stories that almost feel like a warning against robots, which I can understand. Robots, even with their added benefits, have many consequences, as well. But that’s another topic.
While the main book didn’t have a distinct plot, the multitude of stories within the book each had their own plots. More often than not it was ‘overcoming the monster’, which may sound silly at first. However, if you think about it, each of the obstacles within the robots make-up that caused the scientists so much trouble was indeed the ‘monster’ they needed to ‘overcome’ or really just decipher and solve.
Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about this book because it was interesting, but maddeningly confusing. Each of the experiences with robots was unique and offered a new look on robotic technology and how they would be important and how they would evolve in future society. At the same time, there was so much technological terminology that I just felt like I was fumbling around in the dark most of the time.
When it comes right down to it, I guess I’m leaving my rating of this book, ‘I, ROBOT’, at 2-stars because I was hoping for more world-building in such an advanced scientific society. I was also utterly bored with the lack of variation in the character voices(they all sound exactly the same). Finally, the lack of plot throughout the book left me befuddled.