Questions tagged [isaac-asimov]

For questions about Isaac Asimov, an author of science fiction and popular science. His Robot series introduced the Three Laws of Robotics; he also wrote the Foundation series.

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What was the ‘obvious’ new answer to Asimov’s Pâté de Foie Gras made possible by scientific advance?

When Asimov originally wrote the short story Pâté de Foie Gras in 1956, he intended one solution to the problem asked at the end. (This related question considers the clues in the story leading to ...
sfqa1104's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
107 views

Are the automatobiles in ‘Sally’ supposed to have the Three Laws?

In Isaac Asimov’s short story Sally, the main technology are self-driving “automatobiles” which are said to have “positronic” brains and intelligence, which would suggest that they are part of the ...
sallyquestion's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

A fantasy short fiction by Asimov about a murder mystery writer whose sleuth comes to life

I read that story (possibly shortish novelette rather than technically "short story") at least 40 years ago. A writer got rather successful with a series of murder mysteries with the same ...
Alfred's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Murder mystery, probably by Asimov, but SF plays a crucial role

I read this short story at least 50 years ago. It was probably in a collection, probably by Asimov, but also probably in a collection of murder mysteries rather than SF stories. He wrote so many ...
Alfred's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why does Hari Seldon not see his granddaughter for the last few years of his life?

At the end of Forward the Foundation, Hari talks about sending Wanda away from Trantor: “No, Wanda,” Seldon replied, his voice choked with emotion. “I don’t want you to leave, but it is the only way. ...
cdmackay's user avatar
  • 221
15 votes
4 answers
8k views

How did robots overcome the three rules?

I have read Asimov's books and there are the three laws. How did robots overcome this set of rules, seeing Foundation where Demerzel is able to kill. I thought that this happened when they searched ...
dichterDichter's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
512 views

Looking for a coffee table book with speculative essay by Isaac Asimov about asteroid settlements dispersing slowly through the universe

In the 1970s (or possibly early 1980s), some relatives had a coffee table book about space science, which (if I recall correctly) ended with an essay by Isaac Asimov which speculated about asteroid ...
Andrew's user avatar
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46 votes
1 answer
5k views

What was the story Asimov pulled from circulation over accidental similarities?

In Asimov's Galaxy, the Good Doctor writes: But I haven’t read every story ever written and many that I have read, I have completely forgotten, at least consciously. What if I duplicate important ...
scifiseuser's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
749 views

Does anyone know the history of "Isaac Asimov Presents" outside the anthology series?

My question is at the bottom of the post. While reading through another question on this site, I came across Neal Barrett Jr's Through Darkest America. Boldly at the top of the book it says "...
JBH's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
155 views

Why is R. Daneel able to approach Dr. Leebig without announcing he is a robot?

I finished reading "The Naked Sun" by Isaac Asimov and cannot figure out why Daneel would be able to approach Dr. Leebig in person without first identifying himself as a robot. We know that ...
svenvo7's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

How many spacers were there?

At the time of the Elijah Baley trilogy, what was the total population of the fifty spacer worlds together? Solaria has 20,000 people according to The Naked Sun, but it's probably particularly ...
b_jonas's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
197 views

Looking for a sci-fi text about investigation on countries and continents economic output

I guess this text belongs to Asimov, but I might be wrong. It was an investigation (auditory) about the economic output of countries and continents. There was a super computer that could predict it, ...
Bruno Lamps's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
9k views

Meaning of "gay ladies' man"?

Second Foundation (Kindle edition, page 40): Bail Channis was one of these. He did not fear the mysterious Second Foundation. For that matter, he did not fear the Mule, and boasted of it. Some, ...
Guilherme Woolley's user avatar
27 votes
1 answer
3k views

A short tale about a dim-witted man with outstanding presence, being taught how to deliver a speech by reading from elaborate scripts

I read this about 40 years ago (another one, yes), but I believe the book was a few decades older than that. Probably Asimov's or Ray Bradbury's. It's a short tale; some influential people need to ...
Arc's user avatar
  • 1,249
29 votes
4 answers
6k views

A short tale of a robot male house servant which the lady owner falls in love with

I read it decades ago, but then I watched Ex Machina and the tale came to my mind. It was, most likely, an Asimov short tale. The lady houseowner acquired a servant male robot that would perform house ...
Arc's user avatar
  • 1,249
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can a robot be fooled by a human posing as a robot?

There are at least two Asimov stories that I recall when a robot “harms” a human. In the bicentennial man at the very beginning the surgeon robot refuses to perform the procedure as it would harm ...
Jorge Córdoba's user avatar
51 votes
2 answers
9k views

How did Isaac Asimov come up with the 3 laws of robotics?

The first law is that a robot shall not harm a human, or by inaction allow a human to come to harm. The second law is that a robot shall obey any instruction given to it by a human, and the third law ...
user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
429 views

Why is Dors able to act in this scene?

In Forward the Foundation, there is a pivotal scene involving Dors: My question is why is she able to act upon this in the first place, given the implications?
manoelpqueiroz's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

How many books did Isaac Asimov write?

All bibliographies I've seen of Isaac Asimov count anthologies as books, even ones that overlap with previous anthologies, with the result being that Asimov has a much higher book count than I think ...
ibid's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
169 views

A book about a robot that prints other robots

I think it's from Isaac Asimov. Humans left a machine that makes robots on a planet. They left, then they came back many years into the future. When they return, the robots think that their creator ...
Thomas's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why does the protagonist of Asimov's Caves of Steel exclaim 'Jehoshaphat!' instead of 'Jesus!'?

The protagonist of Asimov's Caves of Steel, Elijah Baley, uses 'Jehoshaphat!' as an exclamation instead of 'Jesus!' throughout the book. Why does he do this? From the book, it seems that the Bible is ...
SpiderRico's user avatar
18 votes
6 answers
4k views

What Asimov character ate only synthetic foods?

I recall an Asimov character whose religious dietary restrictions forbade all foods produced from living things; they could eat only synthetic foods. At some point in the story, that character faced ...
Steve's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
4k views

An Asimov story where the fact that "committee" has three double letters plays a role

This is not really an SF question, but about a short story by Isaac Asimov, so I think it fits. In one of his many "mysteries", someone asks for a rather short word with three double letters ...
Alfred's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
465 views

What is the significance of the name Azazel for Asimov's demon?

Isaac Asimov wrote a series of short stories about a rather dislikeable man named George Bitternut who claims to have a sort of pet demon, around two centimetres high, whom he can summon to perform ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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29 votes
1 answer
6k views

What did Asimov find embarrassing about "Marooned Off Vesta”?

I have been looking through “The Early Asimov Volume 1”. The first story that Asimov published was “Marooned off Vesta”, published in 1939 in Amazing Stories when Asimov was nineteen years old. ...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

What is the significance of the Olympics in the short story "Profession" by Isaac Asimov?

In the short story "Profession" (1957) by Isaac Asimov, much of the story revolves around the Olympics that take place on Earth every year. As a child, the main character asks his father ...
therxv's user avatar
  • 43
11 votes
1 answer
757 views

Is Gregory Laborian a fictionalised version of Isaac Asimov?

In the short story "Gold" by Isaac Asimov, which can be freely and legally read online, the main character is Jonas Willard, a creator of "compu-drama" versions of stories - what ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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30 votes
1 answer
3k views

When was the origin of the "Nightfall" quotation found?

”Nightfall”, a 1941 novelette by Isaac Asimov, is possibly his most well-known and acclaimed work. It was prompted by a discussion between Asimov and John W. Campbell concerning a quotation from Ralph ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Asimov story about a scientist who foils an attempt at genocide through genetically engineered food

There's a story about a scientist forced to conduct research into creating genetically modified food grains that will kill off the people of poor nations who import these food grains. The scientist ...
Ganesh C Prasad's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
510 views

Did Asimov talk about mental math tricks with a store cashier?

I recall an anecdote of Isaac Asimov producing a total faster than a store cashier. My recollection is that when the cashier commented on how this demonstrated Asimov's intelligence he shared that ...
kuro's user avatar
  • 97
33 votes
1 answer
5k views

Did Asimov model the character of the Mule in his Foundation series on any particular historical person?

It's well known that Asimov modelled his Foundation series on the Rise and then Fall of the Roman Empire. One of the key villains in the later volumes of the Foundation series is the Mule, a mutant ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
230 views

Asimov's novel with a world divided into floors [duplicate]

Each floor had different patterns, there was a kind of elevator. I remember a general ambience, but not quite what the plot was about. The protagonist was a kind-of apprentice (or not?) from another ...
zkzvrzuz's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
214 views

Was Star Wars' Coruscant inpired by Isaac Asimov's Trantor? [duplicate]

They are both the Capitol of their respective Galactic Empire. Both Star Wars and Foundation trilogy have masters of the mind arts, Jedi and Psycohistorians.
4.12.22.4.18.0.'s user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why did Hari Seldon reveal the existence of the Second Foundation in the first place?

Note: I have only read the first trilogy. The third book revolves entirely around the fact that the First Foundation, knowing about the true existence of the second foundation, ruins the Seldon plan....
Jacob Schneider's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
600 views

Why are there incomplete extracts from the "Encyclopedia Galactica" in Asimov's "Foundation" novel?

I started reading Asimov's Foundation. At the beginning of its chapters, there are brief texts extracted from the Encyclopedia Galactica, but they are not complete entries, even if some of these ...
Itération 122442's user avatar
35 votes
1 answer
3k views

Blurb from dust jacket of the first edition (1950) of Isaac Asimov's Pebble in the Sky

In Buy Jupiter and Other Stories (1975), which includes autobiographical notes between stories, Isaac Asimov wrote, I had sold my first book, PEBBLE IN THE SKY, some six weeks before I had accepted ...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
452 views

Who was the actor in C-Chute?

In Nightfall One, Asimov says this about a radio adaptation of C-Chute: Once television came in, I found that voice, and matched the face to it, and that looked like Mullen. … I have carefully ...
Graham Lee's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Story about the scientists in Mars that are less cooperative than the scientists of Earth

I am trying to remember the name of a story detective story. In the story detective from earth sent to Mars in order to investigate something (murder?)and he need cooperation from the local scientists ...
Moshe's user avatar
  • 103
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do the Jovians in "Victory Unintentional" exist in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series?

In the book Foundation and Earth I think it is stated that no other alien life had been found in the galaxy that didn't originate from earth. However, in the story "Victory Unintentional", collected ...
BREAD's user avatar
  • 161
8 votes
1 answer
629 views

An Asimov short story about the death of an alien with many hearts

This one, you would think I could just google, but it did not work. I tried various combinations of keywords, but to no avail. Also the box that just opened to suggest duplicates does not address it. ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 12.7k
7 votes
1 answer
240 views

A paperback collection of letters between Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke

About 10 years ago, while browsing some Thai second-hand english bookstore, I've stumbled upon an old (70-80's, based on condition) paperback that was described as a collection of letters exchanged ...
Oleg Polenin's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
486 views

Short story about a bureaucracy becoming (extremely) over-efficient [duplicate]

I remember what I believe is a short story, possibly by Isaac Asimov, where in a not-so-strange human (?) civilization bureaucracy suddenly goes over efficient at performing its duties. This results ...
Joce's user avatar
  • 293
65 votes
1 answer
19k views

Asimov's story where a man's speech contains no information [duplicate]

I am trying to remember the name of a tale or novel by Isaac Asimov. I am positive I've read this some years ago, but for the life of me, I can't recall the name. In the story, one of the characters, ...
houcros's user avatar
  • 633
7 votes
1 answer
852 views

Isaac Asimov "robot" short story where a robot owner talks about how his robot would know where he commonly leaves his glasses

When I was a kid, I read an Asimov short story in which two men were talking about one's newly-acquired robot. The robot owner was telling the other fellow about how he could tell the robot to find ...
Head Geek's user avatar
  • 223
15 votes
5 answers
3k views

Sci-fi story about aliens with cells based on arsenic or nitrogen, poisoned by oxygen

I'm looking for a science-fiction short story, probably written by either Isaac Asimov or Poul Anderson. (I was binging on short stories collections from these two authors around the same time, 5 to ...
Daneel's user avatar
  • 485
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do the highways work in The Caves of Steel?

In Asimov's The Caves of Steel, the highway system is described as somewhat of a system of conveyor belts that people can get on, that people stand on. They can reach up to 60 mph by hopping from one "...
Village's user avatar
  • 1,713
6 votes
0 answers
149 views

What is the backstory to New York's economy in The Caves of Steel?

In Asimov's The Caves of Steel, when people get a promotion, their living conditions improve. Bailey had a certain amount of rations for his tobacco. When he was promoted, his living quarters were ...
Village's user avatar
  • 1,713
60 votes
8 answers
12k views

How does Asimov's second law deal with contradictory orders from different people?

The second law states that: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. But it says nothing about property. What if a robot ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
746 views

Which pornographic magazine reprinted the Asimov short story “Let’s Get Together”?

“Let’s Get Together” is a short story by Isaac Asimov published in 1957, involving Soviet robot infiltrating the United States. In the 1964 anthology book “The Rest of the Robots”, Asimov gives the ...
SciFi Readers Anonymous's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
559 views

Isaac Asimov short story: circa 1976, male astronaut saves space station inhabitants during solar storm

I've read through several in-print lists of Isaac Asimov short stories, and have been unable to identify one short story. It may have been published in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST around 1976. In the ...
Duane Renaud's user avatar

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