Isaac Asimov

As a child, interested in science and the future I read a lot of science fiction and Isaac Asimov stories featured heavily in my reading list.

The Foundation series set in the distant future fascinated me but the stories that had the biggest impact on me were the Robot stories.

Isaac‘s imagination and clearly constructed world with robots playing their part was remarkable and his ideas on robots have permeated much of subsequent thought on robots. Perhaps the most famous being his Three Laws of Robotics

  1. 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. 2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Isaac described his robot brains as being positronic. Commander Data of "Star Trek the Next Generation" is described as having a positronic brain – courtesy of Isaac Asimov.

Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov, a Russian–born American author and professor of biochemistry and a highly successful writer. He is best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Examples include his Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery.

Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as "brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs". He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association


The Big Three

Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honour. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction.

heinlein Clarke and Asimov

Writing

Asimov believed that his most enduring contributions would be his "Three Laws of Robotics" and the Foundation Series, (an entirely fictional technology), psychohistory (which is also used for a different study on historical motivations) and robotics into the English language. Asimov coined the term robotics without suspecting that it might be an original word; at the time, he believed it was simply the natural analogue of words such as mechanics and hydraulics, but for robots..

Science Fiction

Asimov‘s positronic robot stories – many of which were collected in I, Robot (1950)–were begun at about the same time. They promulgated a set of rules of ethics for robots (see Three Laws of Robotics) and intelligent machines that greatly influenced other writers and thinkers in their treatment of the subject.

One such short story, "The Bicentennial Man", was made into a film starring Robin Williams. This wasn‘t the best science fiction film, despite a good story and Robin Williams in the lead role. The film seemed to plod along and was dull to watch. It won an oscar for "Best Make-Up" but also garnered a lot of votes online for worst movie ever made. Bicentennial Man Film Shot
Will Smith in I Robot The 2004 film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, was based on a script by Jeff Vintar entitled Hardwired, with Asimov‘s ideas incorporated later after acquiring the rights to the I, Robot title. The film is quite superb; full of action and Will Smith is extra charismatic in the role of a downbeat cop determined to find out why his old friend appeared to commit suicide. The story is odd for readers of Isaac Asimov as it takes pieces from numerous stories.

Isaac Asimov was a man of many talents and an extrordinary writer of science and science–fiction


The Robot and Foundations Series of Books

The Robot Series

The Caves of Steel The Naked Sun The Robots of Dawn Robots and Empire
  • The Caves of Steel (1954), ISBN 0-553-29340-0 (first Elijah Baley SF-crime novel)
  • The Naked Sun (1957), ISBN 0-553-29339-7 (second Elijah Baley SF-crime novel)
  • The Robots of Dawn (1983), ISBN 0-553-29949-2 (third Elijah Baley SF-crime novel)
  • Robots and Empire (1985) (sequel to the Elijah Baley trilogy)

The Original Foundation Trilogy

Foundation Foundation and Empire Second_Foundation
  • Foundation (1951), ISBN 0-553-29335-4
  • Foundation and Empire (1952), ISBN 0-553-29337-0
  • Second Foundation (1953), ISBN 0-553-29336-2

Extended Foundation Series

Foundation's Edge Foundation and Empire Prelude To Foundation Forward the Foundation
  • Foundation's Edge (1982), ISBN 0-553-29338-9
  • Foundation and Earth (1986), ISBN 0-553-58757-9 (last of the Foundation series)
  • Prelude to Foundation (1988), ISBN 0-553-27839-8 (occurs before "Foundation")
  • Forward the Foundation (1993), ISBN 0-553-40488-1 (occurs after "Prelude to Foundation" and before "Foundation")