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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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, ...
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26 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 ...
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30 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
2 answers
238 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?
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11 votes
1 answer
843 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
157 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 ...
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10 votes
3 answers
984 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 ...
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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 ...
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10 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
336 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 ...
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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. ...
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3 votes
3 answers
703 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 ...
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10 votes
1 answer
699 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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8 votes
3 answers
449 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 ...
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32 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
217 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 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
211 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.
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8 votes
3 answers
732 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....
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4 votes
1 answer
474 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 ...
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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 ...
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9 votes
1 answer
231 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 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 ...
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  • 161
8 votes
1 answer
550 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. ...
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  • 7,662
7 votes
1 answer
197 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 ...
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10 votes
1 answer
426 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 ...
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64 votes
1 answer
18k 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, ...
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  • 623
7 votes
1 answer
721 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 ...
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  • 171
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 ...
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  • 353
5 votes
1 answer
939 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 "...
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6 votes
0 answers
134 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 ...
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  • 1,671
59 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 ...
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16 votes
1 answer
610 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
440 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 ...
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5 votes
2 answers
402 views

Has any publisher created a complete set of Asimov's short stories?

Has any publisher ever released a complete set of Asimov's short stories? If not, which set comes closest to being complete?
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  • 1,671
17 votes
3 answers
732 views

Why did the planetarium not drive the scientists mad in Nightfall?

In Isaac Asimov’s "Nightfall", the people of another world are driven mad because they see how many stars are in the sky when all six suns are hidden. This happens every two thousand years, and ...
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  • 688
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story by Isaac Asimov about a mental chef

I'm looking for a short story by Isaac Asimov about someone who creates dishes not in the kitchen but by combining ingredients in his head.
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  • 343
4 votes
0 answers
83 views

Where is Asimov's "The Complete Stories" (Doubleday/Broadway) volume 3

Doubleday started an ambitious project of collecting all of Asimov's short fiction between covers in 1990, with two volumes, containing 86 stories out of a total of 383. Broadway Books (New York) ...
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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Any other Asimov Books where Susan Calvin appears?

As of right now I'm reading The Foundation Trilogy (pg.82) and completed already the following: I, Robot; Rest of the Robots. One character that I've liked a lot in both books is Robotpsychologist ...
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0 votes
0 answers
337 views

What is the outcome for Dors Venabili?

In the Isaac Asimov book Forward the Foundation I'm curious about the future of Dors Venabili:
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4 votes
4 answers
442 views

Why were all NS-2 manufactured without the serial numbers?

In the story "Little Lost Robot" from I, Robot, a modified Nestor (NS-2) hides himself in a cargo with 62 other physically identical robots. I think one of the main reasons why the hiding robot was ...
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  • 4,567
73 votes
11 answers
15k views

What prevents Asimov's robots from locking all humans in padded cells for the humans protection?

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Since Asimov's robots are already shown as not possessing "human common sense" when applying the ...
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48 votes
3 answers
18k views

When does the copyright on Isaac Asimov's works expire?

I read in another answer that Fox produced the film I, Robot because they had just acquired the rights to the Asimov collection and wanted to get a big budget movie out of it. I would have thought his ...
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  • 6,237
4 votes
3 answers
995 views

Can you read Isaac Asimov's Rest of the Robots without reading I, Robot?

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 ...
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7 votes
0 answers
267 views

Asimov story about an astronaut stranded on a strange planet who accidentally clones himself

I read the story many years ago and tried to find it again but I can remember very little of it. It was about an astronaut who landed on a planet and couldn't return to earth. A voice was talking ...
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14 votes
1 answer
3k views

What did Asimov think of Philip K. Dick?

I'm finishing Asimov's 1981 compilation of essays, in which he offers numerous opinions on many authors, books, and TV shows. But it puzzles me that he makes no mention of Philip K. Dick, who by that ...
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