How catastrophic is it to read Asimov's "Rest of the Robots" without having read the first book of the robot series: "I, Robot"?

If the knowledge gap is too big, is it possible to simply watch the movie I, Robot (the one with Will Smith as the main actor) or is the book too far apart/different from the movie?

  • I've edited out the image because it isn't really needed to understand the question and it was taking up a lot of room.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 12:22
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    Of course you can. The question is whether you should.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 12:23
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    The movie I,Robot bears very little similarity to the novels of Isaac Asimov. It was originally written as a generic sci-fi action-thriller and the three laws plotline was slapped on top of it at the last minute.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 12:24
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    You can watch the movie or not watch the movie. It will have negligible impact on any of Asimov's works.
    – Verdan
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:28
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    @StellarEquilibrium no, the movie does not fill in any background that is relevant to Asimov's books as the plots are almost completely unrelated.
    – user22478
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 19:31

3 Answers 3


It sounds like the StellarEquilibrium has easy access to "The Rest of the Robots."

Simply put, it is not catastrophic to read "The Rest of the Robots" before "I, Robot." I think the question is whether you should or not, and in my opinion there is no reason not to read "I, Robot" first. You should be able to get a copy at just about any library, or a simple web search. If anything, you should have an understanding of the Three Laws of Robotics before moving on to "Rest of the Robots" however you might glean the nuances just from the stories as you go along. If you really do want to read "The Rest of the Robots" first, just read the Wikipedia entry and stop before you get to History as there are some spoilers for some stories and novels.

What would be catastrophic would be to have the "I, Robot" movie be your primer on the Three Laws of Robotics. If anything, skip that and go right into "The Rest of the Robots".

  • Got a digital Copy of I robot. Will definitely try the book first and then the movie even if the movie has very little to do with the book.
    – anon
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 20:57
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    Read half of I, robot and I can absolutely recommend reading I, robot first. Get the book or the digital version which most libraries should have. It's better since you get a sense of what the 3 laws are about and an introduction to calvin and us robot co. etc.
    – anon
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 13:00

It is very possible. Both books are collections of short stories, with some recurring characters like Dr. Calvin, and could be read in either order. Other than the 3 laws, the movie does not even try to be related to the book, and none of the short stories in the book share the plot of the movie.

  • I agree, looking back I noticed that the movie perhaps shouldn't even associate itself with the book except for the 3 laws of course.
    – anon
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 13:01

'I,Robot' is really a collection of short stories with some writing in between to link them up and give them some thematic unity. As far as I remember, there is a lot of overlap between his other collections of robot stories, like 'The Complete Robot' and 'The Rest of the Robots' and they are all loose collections of stories, so I don't see anything wrong with reading any of them in any order, as long as you enjoy them and find them thought-provoking.

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