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I'm looking for a story I read about twenty-five or thirty years ago, in a book I got in a second-hand store. I don't remember the title of the book, which had a number of short stories in it, but in the specific story, there is a law that a robot's memory must be wiped every hundred years. This robot doesn't want to lose its memories, so it stows away on the outside of a spaceship. The spaceship's entry to hyperspace has some effect on the robot's mind. The spaceship lands on a planet with a corrosive atmosphere, and as the robot moves about the world, it starts getting flashes of schematics every time it closes its eyes. Eventually it realizes that these schematics are actually the schematics of whatever it's looking at, and that by imagining a change to the schematics that it sees, the thing itself is changed. It uses this ability to temporarily disable another robot of the same model as itself (and steal that robot's scheduled body replacement), and it stows away on another spaceship, which it also repairs, and it also actually heals an injured/ill human who is on that spaceship.

marked as duplicate by FuzzyBoots story-identification Oct 12 '16 at 17:18

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  • Sounds a lot like an Asimov story. – Valorum Jan 4 '15 at 9:22
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This is "All the traps of Earth" by Clifford Simak.

"The law said that no robot could legally have continuation of a single life greater than a hundred years. and he had lived for 600 years in the service of one family... to escape disintegration Richard Daniel, robot, stows away on the outside of a ship journeying to far off galaxies"

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    Indeed you are correct. Found a copy online and read it to confirm. Also found a listing of his works, so I may be able to find the book itself, or the other stories in it. – This isn't my real name Jan 4 '15 at 16:46
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    Found! The book I was looking for is titled Best Science Fiction Stories of Clifford D. Simak, and other than All The Traps Of Earth, the other stories I remembered and wanted to re-read are New Folk's Home and Neighbor. Too bad I can't upvote you a second time. – This isn't my real name Mar 9 '15 at 21:03
  • @Thisisn'tmyrealname - Glad you found it :-) – Valorum Mar 9 '15 at 21:08

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