Friday, 4 October 2013

Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov

I borrowed a collection of Isaac Asimov short stories from a friend ("Robot Dreams") and found some of the stories surprisingly dark. I thought I knew Asimov. He's like the grandfather of science fiction, and his early stories are really quite bright and hopeful. There's one I recently heard on Escape Pod ("Rescue Party")of aliens responding to an apparent distress call on Earth. The host noted that it was quite positive because the aliens find no corpses. The whole of Earth had to evacuate, and humanity did so, without destroying each other just for the hell of it. Asimov wrote that when he was 19.

Fast forward to the stories in this collection, and among the first few we already find a human deliberately killing the robot equivalent of Moses and some robot cars that actually murder a man. On purpose. When his previous robot stories were basically all about how the famous Three Laws of Robotics interacted and could cause unusual effects, the later ones seem to hold a lot more unease about robot slavery and a potential uprising. It's just not the Asimov I thought I knew.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I believe there was only one story in the collection I'd read before.
PPS - It was "Little Lost Robot".

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