• I, Robot

  • By: Isaac Asimov
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (7,329 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world - all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov’s trademark.

The three laws of Robotics: 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 given 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.

©1950, 1977 Isaac Asimov (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What listeners say about I, Robot

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

134 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

120 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

100 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

54 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

50's point a view

The story is too simple and some what naive. With the 3 robotic laws everything just seem so black and white. The 3 laws some what reminded me of how the repressions that they try to promote in the media back in the 50s. It makes the overall story very stiff and dull. The charactors in each chapters don't really seem to have much interaction with each other. It just feels like the author just thrugh a bunch of short stories together. The ending of the story, with the numbers and figures of the politic was just tooo boring for me to follow. Basicly they are just saying one simple thing. I wish people didn't just give it 5 stars just because it is a classic. i think the story and the technologies in the story are just too out dated.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bibliomaniac
  • 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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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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?

Yes

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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • tiecreg
  • 07-24-20

fantastic

the master of science fiction

amazing how by creating cresting something not quite human can be used to say so much about human nature.

great narrative and great narration

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David Anand Rajapakse
  • 06-02-19

a classic

Scott Brick delivers an incredible performance yet again and truly brings this classic work to life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SocialBookshelves.com
  • 10-09-18

Isaac Asimov – I, Robot | Review

The Three Laws of Robotics:

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 the orders given 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.

Yes, it’s that book, and despite the fact that my copy has a photo of Will Smith on the cover, it bears little in common with the Hollywood film of the same name. Asimov’s short story collection, set in the not too distant future, shows how humanity harnesses the power of robotics to explore the solar system.

Unfortunately, rules can always be broken, and Asimov explores some of the different scenarios in which robots can break the rules, putting human lives in danger. The scenarios are all too real, too – if you can suspend your disbelief to believe in the narrative, you’ll begin to see how these foolproof laws might actually not be so foolproof.

Asimov’s writing is easy-to-read and believable, and strong enough to make me want to read another of his books, of which there are many to choose from. You’ll probably see another Isaac Asimov review on SocialBookshelves.com in the future – in the meantime, grab yourself a copy of I, Robot.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Peacock
  • 07-13-18

Disappointing

Having never read much science fiction - Brave New World is the only piece I can remember having read - I had high expectations for this collection of short stories as it is lauded as one of the great pieces of science fiction writing. Well if this is the great stuff I hate to imagine what the bad stuff is like.

Stereotypical, one dimensional characters, an almost identical plot line to every story, predictable characters, plots and behaviours, really quite poorly written. Some of the ideas are interesting and well ahead of their time but most are rooted squarely in the 1950s and 1960s that the stories were mainly written in; this isn't in itself a fault as a writer can only write in the context of his own time but it doesn't help the stories be any more interesting or entertaining.

The stories center around 6 characters, 5 of whom run or work for a global monopoly manufacturer of robots, but who appear to have neither the character, temperament, skills or knowledge to run an egg and spoon race let alone a global corporation. The plot of every story is that a robot has apparently gone wrong and it is up to one of the 6 main characters to understand why; like detective fiction with robots only much less interesting than detective fiction.

I can't say the narrator helps either, every character has an almost identical voice except for a single laughable attempt he makes at a Scots accent for one of them.

I managed to listen all the way to the end, but won't be buying any more Asimov books and had I paid full price for this one I would certainly be returning it for refund.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • rasmus
  • 05-30-18

Reads like a H.P Lovecraft novel

And I don't like Lovecraft. I didn't care for any of the characters in the stories, they were dim and naive. I just wanted to get to the end of each novel where they explain what went wrong with the robot and why.

The narrator did almost nothing to separate the different characters during dialog which made it hard to know who says what.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-18

bit boring to be honest

offers some interesting views on humanity and it's ever evolving relationship with technology,but overall the story was quite slow and tedious. very little in the way of plot and character development,just a series of political arguments of for and against the existence and use of robots

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adriana
  • 06-27-18

Entertaining and surprisingly still relevant!

This book was not what I was expecting, I really did enjoy reading it! It felt like an easy read. I thought the way the book was laid out was interesting and enjoyed the dilemmas in each chapter. I was surprised how it did not seem dated at all and still could be relevant nowadays.
If you like sci fi, I recommend this one!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Becca
  • 02-16-17

wonderful

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 01-09-17

Easily the best scifi book ever written

An astonishingly beautiful book written by a true sci-fi master and storyteller. l recommend it to everyone. I've listened to it again and again. The narrator is one of the best as well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam Sutherton
  • 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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 know...so 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.