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Science fiction is dead… or is it?

Listen. I can see three possible arguments against the idea that science fiction is dead. 1. It’s everywhere Yes, I readily admit that it doesn’t immediately look like SF is dead. Bookshop shelves groan and Kindles and iPads are filled

Posted in books, geek culture, H P Lovecraft, History of the Science Fiction Magazine, I Robot, reading log, science fiction is dead, SF, short stories, The Golden Age of Science Fiction

My Reading Year 2013 Part Two: Science Fiction is Dead

Dead! This year I read just 16 books of prose. It’s a pretty disappointing number; well down on my usual efforts. I think the most books I’ve read in a year is 32, so it’s half of that, but I

Posted in geek culture, H P Lovecraft, I Robot, Isaac Asimov, occult, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 10: The Evitable Conflict

This story addresses the moment when the Machines take the reins of the world and mankind is rendered redundant. Within the lifetime of Gloria Weston of the first story robots have gone from her puppy-like paymate Robbie to rulers of

Posted in geek culture, I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 9: Evidence

We get to the real meat of the issue here: what’s the difference between a man and robot? It’s one of the foundational questions of SF that’s been addressed by through simplistic pulp tales of vengeful servants to PK Dick

Posted in I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 8: Escape

In this story we see the return of Donovan and Powell, reflecting the core cast of characters that Asimov has built up over the stories so far. These two and robopsychologist Susan Calvin tend to lead matters – they share

Posted in I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 7: Little Lost Robot

This is another one that feels like a bit of a cheat. Similarly to Runaround, where the Third Law had been tweaked up to help survive the hostile environment, in this one the First Law has been tweaked down to

Posted in I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 6: Liar!

Susan Calvin is a bold move for Asimov. The genial, avuncular Powell and Donovan were perfectly serviceable vehicles for the fictional problems he wanted to pursue, but the only reason there’s two of them is so they can explain the

Posted in I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 5: Catch That Rabbit

What makes these stories such brilliant science fiction is not so much the speculative elements, but the way the protagonists approach the problems in their path. Each story establishes a limited setting to contain all the elements of the plot.

Posted in 2000AD, I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, Robo-Hunter, SF

I, Robot – part 4: Reason

This is the kind of story that made me fall in love with SF the first time around. It’s focused on a knotty a philosophical dilemma that’s wittily expressed using a robot as the central actor. The companionable Donovan and

Posted in I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

I, Robot – part 3: Runaround

This is more like it. This is the type of story I remember from my teens, one that depends on a bit of hard science and a subtle understanding of the Three Laws of Robotics. It’s set on a mining

Posted in I Robot, Isaac Asimov, reading log, SF

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