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The Rest of the Robots - Isaac Asimov

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

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      20.07.2008 13:26
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      A brilliant collection of robot stories, still one of my favourites even after 30 years!

      This book represents my personal introduction to the Good Doctor. I picked up a paperback copy in an airport shop many, many moons ago (back in the 1970s) simply because I wanted something to read while on holiday with my parents. The choice was fairly random - I can't remember why I chose this book over any other (mind you it was a very long time ago, so perhaps I can be forgiven for that!).

      The Rest of the Robots is a collection of short stories about... wait for it... robots! It's actually a follow up to I, Robot, but I don't think I really lost anything in reading them out of order. This was my first introduction to Susan Calvin, the fiercely intelligent yet socially challenged, robopsychologist. Although she appears unfeeling and quite emotionless and robot-like herself, you do see glimmers of vulnerability in her very occasionally. She must be one of Asimov's best known creations.

      Perhaps the most memorable and notable story in this collection is Satisfaction Guaranteed. This is about a humanoid robot called Tony who is brought into the household of a US Robots' employee for general testing, and the effect this has on the employee's wife, who at first is quite horrified at the prospect. I won't divulge the plot any further as I would hate to spoil it for new readers, but this is a brilliant, very readable book.

      The great thing about the short stories is that you can try to discipline yourself into reading, say, one per night, as you settle down, and then you have a nice convenient point to stop (I have immense trouble in actually putting down the full length novels and usually end up staying awake much longer than I intended!). These stories are very well written, I would say plot-driven, and populated by interesting and intelligent characters. I am always thrilled at the clever way the hero or heroine manages to outsmart the 'enemy' and bring about a satisfying resolution to the story.

      The stories contained in this book are:
      Robot AL-76 Goes Astray
      Victory Unintentional
      First Law
      Let's Get Together
      Satisfaction Guaranteed
      Risk
      Lenny
      Galley Slave

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