The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This happens to be a re-read because I happened to have forgotten that I read the complete short stories of Asimov when I was much younger. :) That being said, I enjoyed them the second time around too.
The three laws of robotics were obviously in play but what sticks most in my mind is the light professional tone of Asimov throughout every single story. They weren't uncomplicated, but they were definitely studies of stark spotlight stories that always had definite points to be made.
They might not be extremely good points, such as turning a robot into something that has "feminine intuition" but turning her into a Greek Oracle was funny. And then little charmers like murderous buses are always a grand treat. :)
The dryer closed-room mysteries involving robots, including the one that set out to prove a local politician as a robot, are all lightly amusing and clever, but by today's standards, they're rather short on depth. That's fine. These are classics of the 30's after all.
There is still an element of universality at least!
Some things I don't like: the underlying arguments that robots should be slaves. I know that we can make a very good argument that Asimov has plenty of stories trying to free robots, such as Centennial Man and of course the end of his Robot novels with Olivaw, but for the most part, no one questions it, and no one cares.
It's a case of too little notice, in my opinion, but at least some of it is there.
And then there are the cultural assumptions, despite the author's naysaying it, that women are inferior... which grates on me. But it's far and away the lightest and least noticeable out of Classic SF in general. I can think of 75% other classic novels that are much worse, and they're not even SF. :)
All told, though, these were very enjoyable. :)
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