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Book Title: Roboty z planety świtu|
The author of the book: Isaac Asimov
ISBN 13: 9788373013858
Date of issue: 2003
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 713 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.8
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“I cannot say what I feel in any human sense, Partner Elijah. I can say, however, that the sight of you seems to make my thoughts flow more easily, and the gravitational pull on my body seems to assault my senses with lesser insistence."
Ahh.. good old R. Daneel Olivaw, how I have missed you.
It has been decades since I read anything by Isaac Asimov. When I started reading sci-fi in my teens Asimov was the go-to author for new readers. I was not quite ready for Heinlein or Clarke but Asimov’s The Foundation Trilogy and his robot stories and novels were just the thing to start a lifelong devotion to the genre. Of course, I went on to read many other sf authors and for some reason, I completely missed Asimov’s later works from 1980 onward. So I have no idea how his return to the Foundation universe went, and of course, I have not read The Robots of Dawn.
This later robot novel from 1984 is a belated sequel to The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, two beloved whodunit robot novels from the 50s. So once again ace detective Elijah Baley of that dreadful plebeian planet called Earth is called upon solve a seemingly impossible murder on another planet (human occupied). The difference is this time it is a “roboticide” where a “humaniform” robot is murdered rendered permanently inoperative (I love Asimov’s neologism, nothing to figure out). Also back is the excellent R. Daneel Olivaw, the first humaniform and really almost human robot, and introducing Giskard, another friendly and loyal robot who unlike Daneel is “robot in form” with glowing eyes.
I remember seeing this Chris Foss cover when the book was first published on paperback. Brilliant art but nothing to do with the book!
As with the aforementioned Elijah Baley books the good doctor used a crime fiction template for this novel. I think the style here is more reminiscent of P.D. James than Agatha Christie, with a slower pace and a lot of dialogue. The science fiction aspect of it is not neglected however, Asimov’s world building and attention to details is legendary. He did not disappoint here with his depiction of a future human colony planet. Even the toilets are interesting, I can just imagine some very relaxing time there. As a slothful potato couch, I would love to live in Aurora where tons of robots are at the beg and call of everybody.
While Asimov’s straightforward, smooth and friendly prose style brings back memories of my early days as a sci-fi reader, the differences are quite startling. For a start, this book is very dialogue heavy. There are pages and pages of just two characters discussing robotics, politics, and whatnot from all possible angles. It does drag the book’s momentum and at times and I found it to be occasionally tiring to read, not tiresome but tiring. Baley just grinds and grinds away at the suspects hoping they will let slip something that will incriminate them like some kind of futuristic Columbo. These grilling sessions are not actually awful, they are quite well written but they do seem to be interminable after a while. I am surprised the suspects do not simply confess to everything just to shut him up.
Another thing that surprised me is the discussion of sex and even the inclusion of a mildly erotic scene. This is not a complaint however, it is just very different from the Asimov of my teen years. This is a much more adult book than Asimov's Golden Age classics. There are even some philosophical passages like "Are there Laws of Humanics as there are Laws of Robotics? How many Laws of Humanics might there be and how can they be expressed mathematically?"
Interestingly some of the technology seems a little dated in these days of wireless internet. The robots actually speak to each other verbally rather than communicating via wi-fi or something similar. Navigation is also done by preloaded maps rather than some kind of GPS. The robots even drive vehicles rather than having AI built into them for completely hand-free driving. This is not a criticism of Asimov however, he was a scientist, not a fortune teller. I just find it interesting how the future is turning out in actuality in comparison to Asimov’s speculation.
One thing I particularly like about Asimov’s robots above other authors’ depiction of AI characters is the robotness of them. Their “somewhat stilted way with the language” as Asimov described, and their adherence to and interpretations of The Three Laws of Robotics . Nowadays sci-fi authors tend to portray robots (or AI) as speaking exactly like people normally do. Yes, I can imagine this being the case with very advanced AI, but Asimov’s robots have the sense of otherness that makes them somehow more believable. Fans of Asimov’s robot books will be delighted by the references to Susan Calvin and one of the most memorable stories from I, Robot, and the reference to The Bicentennial Man. A tenuous link to the Foundation series is also introduced through the initial development of psychohistory. If you ever wondered why there are no robots in The Foundation Trilogy the answer is given here.
In spite of my quibbles with some of the pacing, I really enjoyed this book and coming back to Asimov after all these years. Now I feel an urge to reread the original Foundation Trilogy plus the subsequent Foundation volumes from the 80s. Also a reread of the old Elijah Baley novels and robot short stories. With all that in my TBR I’d be lucky to squeeze in books by anybody else.
R. Daneel Olivaw on the cover of The Naked Sun
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Read information about the authorIsaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.
Professor Asimov is generally considered one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (lacking only an entry in the 100s category of Philosophy).
Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.
Most of Asimov's popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include his Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery.
Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as "brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs" He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction, a Brooklyn, NY elementary school, and two different Isaac Asimov Awards are named in his honor.
Isaac Asimov. (2007, November 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:50, November 29, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_As...
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