I'm trying to find a children's/YA book. I remember it being about a family's robot that is about to be either destroyed or have its mind wiped. The boy that it belonged to orders it to run away to save it. I think it was thought to be defective for not following some of its prime directives. The story is set on either the Moon or Mars and the people live in domes. During the story, the boy meets up with the robot and both helps and is helped.

I don't believe it was I, Robot. It wasn't a short story or stories, but a children's book. At a guess, I'd say it was written for 10-14 year-olds. I keep thinking the book was called "Run, Robot, Run" but I can't find it by that title.

I don't know if it had a positronic brain, but it may have been something like that. I mostly remember that the book started off almost immediately with the child yelling "Run, robot, Run!" and most of the rest of the book being about the robot trying to escape/hide with the boy's help and a growing sense of self.

Thank you! It is the Runaway Robot, I remember that book cover. Greatly appreciated!

  • What age of children was the book intended for? Do you remember when you read it? Key question - did the robot have a positronic brain, but the author was not Asimov? Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 5:26
  • yes, it does sound like something Asimov wrote. Not a children's story, but it does appeal to children. Check I, Robot (the short story collection).
    – jwenting
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 6:26
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    Alexander Key (Escape to Witch Mountain) wrote a trilogy of books about a robot named Sprockets. The target audience fits, but the plot of the first book doesn't match; maybe in the sequels? "Having a genuine Asimov Positronic Brain is for Sprockets the best mistake. The worse, naturally, is his size -- he should be the regular clanking, half-ton model [...] he rolls off the mile-long assembly line with tweny trillion circuits of mental maturity on the shoulder-rods of a boy." -- Sprockets A Little Robot (1964) Alexander Key Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 14:09
  • I think I might remember such a book but I don't remember the title. Was there a scene where he is in a ship heading towards Earth and plays chess with the captain?
    – ike
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Maybe The Runaway Robot by Lester del Rey?

the runaway robot

It's set on Ganymede, one of Jupiter's moons, but it has domes and most of the other features you mentioned.

Found over here.

Here is the description from goodreads:

"We're returning to earth," Paul's father tells him. Paul is wildly excited, for all human beings on the planet Ganymede dream of going back to Earth some day. Then Paul finds out that he cannot take his robot Rex with him. Rex has been his constant companion for sixteen years. Leave him behind? Never!

So begins a series of breathtaking adventures in space as Paul and his robot Rex attempt to outwit the forces that seek to separate them.

  • 2
    This novel has a special place in my heart. It's really wonderful and I recommend it to everybody.
    – steveha
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 22:14
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    Agreed. I remember one scene where a space captain claims that computers can never beat him in chess, until the robot does.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 19:36

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