The first in an all-new trilogy inspired by Isaac Asimov's legendary science fiction collection, I, ROBOT.
The year is 2035, Robotic technology has evolved into the realm of self-aware, sentient mechanical entities. The future of the human race is to be inevitably linked with it's most brilliant creation.
Intelligent and driven, Dr. Susan Calvin is beginning her residency at a Manhattan teaching hospital, where a select group of patients is receiving the latest in diagnostic advancements: Nanotechnology. Tiny nanobots, injected into the spinal fluid, that can unlock and map the human mind.
Soon, Susan begins to notice an ominous chain of events surrounding the patients - they begin to exhibit extreme behaviour, from shocking violence to baffling self-destructive tendencies. When she tries to alert her superiors, she is ignored by those who want to keep the project far from any scrutiny for the sake of their own agenda.
Having been an avid and stalwart fan of Asimov's works from my earliest days reading sci-fi - Asimov's original tale "I, Robot" was actually the third sci-fi tale I ever read and had me absolutely hooked on his works from then on - I was keen to see what would be made of a 'reboot' of the universe. The movie "suggested" by the original book was pretty good, if not wholely loyal to the original plot, at least they had the decency to admit it freely right up front. This tale, on the other hand, makes no such claims, and freely rewrites the original timeline without regard. Originally, by the year 2035, Dr. Susan Calvin was well past her residency, and was highly regarded as a long-term expert in the field of Robotics. So, this is another storyline where the loyal will feel that 'catch and tug' of things catching on many loose threads, not quite meshing with the universe as they recall it. However, for those who have never experienced the original tale - and thus are immune to the jarring discordant notes of a plot that doesn't sync with the one they remember - this is an excellent tale.
Short on the science and robotics, this is more a tale of the person - Susan Calvin - and how she comes to grips with people and machines, and the beginnings of the revolution where they two begin to overlap and the rebellion against the 'dehumanisation' begins. Without giving away key plot elements, I can't give more details... hindsight clearly showed me that even the smallest details were relevant to the overarching plot. However, I can say that every character in this tale was detailled to the point of believability and perhaps slightly beyond. You could almost begin to wonder if, in your daily life, that "...really shy, quiet chap from Accounting..." or "...wallflower who always sits alone at lunch..." are actually fully human.
Overall, though it took me at least half the book to get over my needless niggles at how radically this tale diverges from the time-honoured tradtional tale set down by Dr Asimov himself, it still impressed me fairly well. The world we live in is not the one imagined by Isaac when he first laid his story to manuscript... our wod has moved on from his, and not in the same directions he fancied... so I suppose it only fair that though the flesh and sinew has changed, the spirit of his story is held fairly true. I find myself more keen to read the next volume than I first thought when I began to read this, and a second reading after putting aside my treasured memories has convinced me this is a worthy successor to the "I, Robot" legacy. Bring on the next tale, I await with interest.
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