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I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Hello!  Sorry for the long silence-I have been busy moving to a new apartment!  Now that I’m (a little) settled in, it’s time to catch up on what I’ve been reading!

My book club’s book for April was I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.  It’s a collection of short stories, which feature the fictional company U.S. Robots and Dr. Susan Calvin, preeminent robopsychologist.  It chronicles the rise of robots, from their beginnings as household servants through a period where they were banned on earth and predominantly used to work at mines in space, and concludes with a world where much of the work and decision-making is entrusted to robots.

A main theme running through all of the stories is the Three Laws of Robotics.  These laws are designed to protect humans from robots, and they are arranged in a hierarchy, so that the second law overrides the third and the first overrides the second.  The laws are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human or allow a human to be harmed.
  2. A robot must obey orders (unless they conflict with the first law.)
  3. A robot must protect it’s own existence (unless to do so would violate either of the first two laws.)

These laws figured in each of the stories.  For me, they really set this book apart from other science fiction I have read, which tended to be much more negative and pessimistic about technology.  I can see why Asimov is such a highly respected author-this concept was extremely well thought out.

I would probably give this book four stars.  The book held my interest and I would definitely consider reading it again someday.  It is also an interesting book to discuss, so I was glad to have some friends that I could talk about it with.  ★★★★

I took a turn hosting the book club for April, and to be honest, I had a little trouble coming up with any ideas that would fit a robot theme.  I considered making this craft, but I could not find the small candy sizes at my grocery store.  (I guess they’re easier to find around Valentine’s day.)  I kept an eye out for references to food in the book, but they were scarce, and not terribly appetizing.  I did have a bowl of apples, as a reference to “Evidence,” the first story featuring the character Stephen Byerly.  Beyond that, a friend suggested wearing metallics to the book club meeting, and I decided to use the same idea in choosing our food.  I grilled sausage and vegetables in foil packets, to go with the metallic theme, using this recipe as a starting point.

-Elizabeth

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