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Best Science Fiction Book Ever! I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

March 13, 2012
The Scribbler robot, taken at the Institute fo...

Maybe this isn't quite what Isaac Asimov envisioned, but hey, it's still a robot... kind of. Image via Wikipedia

The problem with science fiction is that (despite the word “science”) authors make up the rules as their books progress.  Things like warp speed, light years, and subatomic rays can be manipulated by the author to move the plot in illogical ways.  Almost every science fiction author (except for maybe George Lucas) has been guilty of this at some time.  This is one of the reasons I avoid fantasy in large doses as well.  

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov establishes three simple rules at the beginning, and the rest of the book centers around how these rules cause problems as the robots become more sophisticated.  Maybe there are some flaws in the logic throughout the book, but I wasn’t smart enough to pick up on them, and I appreciate that.  If I’m smart enough to figure out where the sci-fi writer is just making things up, then the sci-fi writer isn’t doing his (and every once in a while “her”) job. 

ISAAC ASIMOV IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY 

Isaac Asimov can give me a headache.  I read the first Foundation book but had to stop in the middle of the second because of Asimov induced migraines.  I, Robot didn’t give me a headache.  It’s a collection of short stories about robots and the problems that are caused as they get more sophisticated and people rely on them more.  Just as a short story was beginning to give me a headache, the problem was resolved and a new story began. 

Forget about what I said about headaches; the short stories are actually interesting. 

The science fiction and fantasy genre(s) would be better off if more authors established the ground rules early in their books and stuck to them.  Then again, I like rules. 

I, ROBOT, THE MOVIE 

Yeah, it was really stupid, but a book shouldn’t be blamed for the stupidity of the movie that was made based on it… unless the book itself was really stupid. 

Other books considered for BEST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK EVER! 

The Time Machine or The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells- 

H.G. Wells is almost unreadable by today’s standards.  A BEST BOOK EVER has to hold up over time.  The stories above are timeless, but the storytelling style isn’t. 

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card- Entertaining, but the main characters are kids, so the book is automatically disqualified. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Humor is subjective, and science fiction fans who don’t like this book can’t get past page 2. 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and/or 1984 by George Orwell- Great books, but I’m going to exclude dystopian societies from my BEST EVER SCIENCE FICTION list because the point of a dystopian book is almost purely political. 

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein-  A weird book where the classroom scenes are more exciting than the battle scenes.  That’s not meant as an insult.  Again, a cheesy movie doesn’t count against the book. 

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein- Too weird to be considered. 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury- More dystopian stuff. 

The Martian Chronicles–  Maybe it was just me, but I thought it was kind of boring.  

The Mote in God’s Eye– by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle- Great book, but not really relevant right now (as in I don’t think anybody reads it anymore). 

If you like science fiction but haven’t read these classics, pretty much all of these books are worth reading (except for H.G. Wells books because of the “classic” writing style)).  If you don’t like science fiction, I, Robot is probably the one you should read.  It’s Asimov with no aspirin necessary.

2 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Cafe del Moro and commented:
    An interesting blog. Sci-fi fans be my guests.

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  1. Best Books Ever By Genre!!! Part One | Dysfunctional Literacy

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