Review: Robot Series by Isaac Asimov

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I’m not exaggerating when I say that Isaac Asimov was one of the greatest and most influential science fiction writers of all time. He gave us a lot of great stories and ideas. The Robot Seriesis one such story.

Isaac Asimov

The Robot Series takes place in Earth’s distant future where most of humanity lives in gigantic megacities where the outside world is rarely glimpsed. It’s so bad that most humans suffer from agoraphobia and basically shut down mentally when exposed to places outside of the city. Humanity has split into two groups: Spacers who are descendants of settlers of other worlds and humans who remain on Earth. Spacers have access to more advanced technology and are more liberal in their use of robots, which are still shunned on Earth.

The books follow Earth detective Elijah Bailey and his partner R.E. Daneel. The hitch is that Daneel is a robot, hence R.E. Daneel is your basic android, he looks like a human. Think buddy cop movie where the two don’t initially get along. Over the course of the series, the two actually grow very close and become for the lack of a better term, friends. It’s a heartwarming part of the story when you see these two actually get along.

The Robots of Dawn

Trust me, he needs a good rest after the day he’s had. What with stopping a war and all.

The stories are not your run of the mill science fiction. Think of hard-boiled detective fiction, but with robots and space crafts. Basically each book in the series, well the first three anyway, is a murder mystery that these two characters solve. Added to these stories is some really good science fiction. For example, the agoraphobia of the Terrans who live in dome covered mega-cities or the fact that most of the food on Earth is artificially made. The Three Laws of Robotics are in full effect in the series and play a large role in the mysteries. The mysteries themselves are very entertaining and well done. Not only are these great science fiction books, but really good detective stories as well.

Overall this series is fantastic. The characters are rich and engaging and the stories intriguing and entertaining. I loved reading these books when I was younger and I recommend them to anyone whether they love detective stories or good old fashioned science fiction. These are some of the best works in the genre to date and I can’t recommend them enough. There’s no low point in any of the books. It’s Isaac Asimov, were you expecting anything less?

Check out a young Isaac Asimov discussing The Three Laws of Robotics!

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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4 Responses to Review: Robot Series by Isaac Asimov

  1. richardcambridge1970 says:

    Thanks for this, Erin. You revived my memory of reading them, and what an amazing writer Asimov was. He loved, more than anything, the writing process. He was so prolific is so many genres. When he wasn’t sleeping he was writing.

  2. Redhead says:

    Asimov’s Robot books are wonderful! Even for people who aren’t into science fiction, they’re excellent gate-way books. the story is more about solving a mystery and characterization and the future of humanity than hardscifi stuff. Just excellent books, all around.

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