Monday, July 19, 2004

That's not the book i read!

Monday, July 19, 2004
I've been seeing trailers for I, Robot on television and in the theatres and it made me wonder about the source material.  The movie, as advertised, is inspired by the book of the same title.  Inspired.  Uh oh.  Just once i think i'd like to see a movie claim to be "an adaptation that is faithful to both the text and spirit of the original work".  But that may be asking for too much. 
I am convinced that i've read I, Robot before, probably when i was twelve or fourteen.  I remember several of the stories, but i don't remember if they were from this book or from Asimov's collection of short stories.  Whichever it was, i don't remember teeming masses of robots attacking humans or punching through a windshield while saying "your vehicle just had an accident".  That seems alien to Asimov's work.  What did i decide to do? 
Read the book, of course.
I was right.  The preview tells me that the movie has next to nothing to do with the book.  Except for a few things that i could tell from the preview.
1: The title.  Both the book and the movie have the same title.
2: The Three Laws of Robotics. 
3: The company U.S. Robotics
4: the name of the robo-psychologist Susan Calvin
And in case you weren't familiar with the Three Laws of Robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Now, with the first law being the strongest of the laws imprinted on the robots, please tell me how the preview makes sense.  Please.  I know, i should watch the movie first, but i don't think i want to shill out the $9 right now.  I'll wait for Netflix. 
By the way, I would highly recommend the book as well as Asimov's collections of short stories.  There are some top-notch stories in the multi-volume collection.  Excellent stuff.  My favorite is "The Last Question", which i think is one of the best stories i've read. 


Anonymous said...

One might argue that Lord of the Rings was fairly faithful to the text and spirit of the books.

- Jerry

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