146

The author himself, Isaac Asimov, wrote in the Author's Note of the Prelude to Foundation that he is providing a guide for those readers that might appreciate it since the books "were not written in the order in which (perhaps) they should be read." Therein, he offers the following chronological order: The Complete Robot (1982) Collection of 31 Short ...


122

The robots in Asimov's works generally don't have the 'mental' sophistication needed to look ahead for abstract harm in the manner you suggest. For them, the 'inaction' clause must mean the robot cannot allow imminent harm - i.e they must act to prevent harm when they see the harm about to happen. Such events generally don't occur as humans go about their ...


102

In the story Runaround, Asimov clearly indicates that the Three laws are not purely a boolean logic system. In that story SPD is confused because he hits a balance between the two 'potentials': one from the casually stated order to go and get essential minerals (second law), one by the 'third law' desire to protect his existence, since the area the minerals ...


94

There are various terms for US copyright and when the works published in that situation nominally expire. However, since the 1980s every 20 years a new copyright extension act that includes all works published in a range including 1928 has been passed by the US congress. This is because Steamboat Willy was published in 1928, the first appearance of Mickey ...


85

"The Last Question", a short story by Isaac Asimov, has its own Wikipedia page. It was first published in Science Fiction Quarterly, November 1956, which is available at the Internet Archive. The text is also available at Thrivenotes. The universe is not collapsing into a singularity, it's the heat death. Trillions of years after the end of the universe, ...


75

This question is covered by the Asimov FAQ: All of Asimov's work, fiction and non-fiction, was under copyright at the time of the Good Doctor's death. Under current U.S. law, the copyrights for his works published before 1978 will not expire until 95 years after the copyrights were obtained, and those published from 1978 onward will remain in effect for ...


71

Consider, all Robots stories are short stories or novellas published during a very long time spawn, so they are not 100% coherent among themselves sometimes, though the overall framework is. As highlighted in the comments, Positronic brains reaction to orders, situations and environment is generally described in-universe as the outcome of the "potentials" ...


67

I think that neither published order nor chronological order quite does the series justice. Here's the order I think makes the most sense for maximum enjoyment of the books. You'll notice that I've left some out. The series was never quite finished, so I feel that a non-linear approach is the best choice here. This allows one to emphasize the building of ...


57

Yes, it can. There are varying ways to defend one human from another human attacking them. For starters, a robot could remove the victim from the place of attack: pick up the victim and run away from the attacker. A robot could simply stand between the attacker and the victim, and block the attack - let the attacker hit it, instead of the victim. A ...


53

That would be "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov (publication history). Their planet has multiple suns, and because of the complex interactions between them, they've only recently discovered the "Theory of Universal Gravitation". Since then, they've been able to calculate that an eclipse occurs every two thousand and forty-nine years. That is the only time when it ...


52

Definitely not, given Trantor's physical location in the galaxy and its planetary properties. Trantor is located as close to the galactic core as possible for humans to still be able to inhabit it. It is also slightly larger than Earth. Trantor was first mentioned in a short story by Asimov, 'Black Friar of the Flame', later collected as The Early Asimov, ...


51

Why “positronic”? When I first began writing science fiction stories, the positron had been discovered only six years before as a particle with all the properties of an electron except for an opposite charge. It was the first (and, at that time, still the only) bit of antimatter that had been discovered, and it carried a kind of science-fictional flavor ...


46

I found it! It's in the third book of the Robots cycle, The Robots of Dawn (chapter 2: "Daneel"), and said by Daneel, as you correctly guess (emphasis mine): “Of a certainty, Partner Elijah. It is a pleasure to see you.” “You feel emotion, do you?” said Baley lightly. “I cannot say what I feel in any human sense, Partner Elijah. I can say, ...


45

Data most certainly does NOT follow the three laws of robotics. Data is a serving officer in the Federation's military, he gives as well as takes orders. If he were to follow the Second Law of robotics, even enlisted personnel could force him to follow their orders. Data ignores the Third Law, he could not have acted as he did at the end of Nemesis - ...


45

I remember one novel by Isaac Asimov in which it was revealed, toward the end of the book, that one brilliant scientist had been working hard on a plan to use positronic brains to conquer the other human-colonized worlds of the Galaxy (only a few dozen, I think, at that time) without having the positronic brains know that they were breaking the Three Laws. ...


44

Hmm ... I'm not coming up with any Asimov story on that, but an Arthur C. Clarke story, The Nine Billion Names of God, was published in Thinking Machines, one of Asimov's young adult anthologies and features a group of monks installing and programming a computer to calculate the permutations of God's name, something which is foretold to end the world.


44

Oddly enough, you might be right. I ran a search on the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and it turns out that the word sardonic does indeed appear more in sci-fi than in "straight" fiction: As you can see in the image above, sardonic occurs at a frequency of 3.86 per million in sci-fi/fantasy compared to 2.74 per million in general fiction. ...


44

Because it is the one time that we see Calvin revealed as a person, as a human being, as a woman. In every other story, she is presented as being absolutely cold and calculating, always right and if other people would just listen to her, everything would be fine. But here, her spirits are temporarily lifted with the thoughts and hopes of love, only to have ...


43

Genocide of non humans. In Foundation's Edge it's implied that the robots using time travel shenanigans are the reason why humans never meet any aliens in the milky way, only empty planets ready to be colonized. it is said, it was the robots who established Eternity somehow and became the Eternals. They located a Reality in which they felt that human ...


40

That would be Shah Guido G. (1951), I believe. It is, indeed by Asimov, and is one of the stories where the entire plot is nothing but the setup for an atrocious pun. (Specifically, it's what's referred to as a 'Shaggy Dog' story. Don't believe me? Look at the title again.. Shah - Gui - doG.) Short synopsis: The floating city has been hovering on the ...


38

I think neither the published order nor the chronological order do the series justice. I always have recommended the series in the following order: I, Robot (some lists omit this, but this is really the "origin" story of this universe - The Complete Robot can be substituted here, since it contains the same stories as I, Robot) The Elijah Baley series (...


37

There are actually plenty of details about their work, for example in Learning Curve, Heinlein's authorized biography. It may have been classified at one time (most war operations were as a matter of course) but it's not any more. De Camp and Asimov wrote about it too. L to R: Heinlein, De Camp, Asimov There have been rumors that the group were somehow ...


37

According to the Wikipedia entry on Asimov, the short story is called "About Nothing" (1975), which first appeared on a postcard and then was included in the Winds of Change and other short stories collection. About Nothing By Isaac Asimov All of Earth waited for the small black hole to bring it to its end. It had been discovered by Professor ...


36

Asimov vs Heinlein Asimov and Heinlein did have some disagreements, according to this article on io9: Primarily their conflict became a political disagreement, as Asimov revealed in his posthumous 1994 autobiography. and later on: Living longer than Heinlein allowed Asimov to have the last word in the debate, bashing the release of Heinlein ...


36

The words sardonic and sardonically were most frequently used just before the period when Asimov began writing. So I'd say he was just using the popular language of the time. Here's a Google Ngram graph of the word uses.


36

Short answer, it's not all underground. "Trantor's buildings are all subterranean or under domes due to worsening weather conditions" as indicated by Wikipedia, sourced to Prelude to Foundation, pages 110 and 118. And, in the original trilogy, the city was described as being towers, closer to Coruscant's depiction.


35

As far as a classic "Three Laws" robot is concerned, the answer is very simple indeed. As we see in Liar!, a robot who, either by action or inaction would harm a human simply mentally implodes. The actual number of harmed humans is utterly irrelevant to the discussion. The psychologist paid no attention. “You must tell them, but if you do, you hurt, ...


34

neilfein (a user here) directed me to this diagram for a reading order. It can be regarded as the absolute minimum of the books that need to be read for the series to be coherent and make sense. Note that it leaves out a lot of short stories as it's trying to be concise. Also this isn't chronological - it just tries to give you an overall understanding of ...


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