I, Robot

Not the book of the movie, but the collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov. I’ve read this book several times before and enjoyed it, although this time I found it to be more dated than I remembered, both in its characterisations of technology as well as it’s handling of gender. Still enjoyable, but not the best book I’ve read recently.

I, Robot Book Cover I, Robot
Isaac Asimov

The development of robot technology to a state of perfection by future civilizations is explored in nine science fiction stories.

Asimov’s Aurora

This is the third and final book in the iBook Asimov Robots spinoff series. The first two were Asimov’s Mirage and Asimov’s Chimera. Like the second one, this is better than the first and has a nice flow to the plot line. The story also is easier to believe than those used in previous spinoffs such as the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Weirdly, this is the first of the books in those spinoff series to really use sex as a plot element. The other books haven’t been celibate, but they also haven’t been as in your face as this one. That was probably the weakest part of the book, because those parts felt clumsy and extraneous.

Aurora Book Cover Aurora
Mark W. Tiedemann

In the sequel to Mirage and Chimera, Derec Avery, Ariel Burgess, and their allies struggle to unmask the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks, assassinations, and attempts on their own lives, following an interstellar trail of intrigue, crime, and murder to a confrontation on the planet Aurora. Original.

Asimov’s Chimera

This is the second book in the iBooks spinoff series based on Asimov’s robot mysteries and the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. Overall it fits into the Foundation Series acceptably. This book is a mystery much like Mark’s first Mirage.

I think overall this book is better written than Mirage, and is certainly better plotted than the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series. The book is believable and entertaining, without having to suspend too much disbelief. I enjoyed it, although the book isn’t important to the development of Foundation Series overall.

Chimera Book Cover Chimera
Mark W. Tiedemann

Coren Lanra, head of security for DyNan Manual Industries, investigates the murder of the daughter of DyNan's president Rega Looms during an ill-fated smuggling operation, and uncovers links to the past.

Asimov’s Mirage

If I was to name one flaw with the Robot City and Robots and Aliens series, it would have to be that they’re not very good. They’re lackluster, have difficult to believe plots, very simple structure, and are overall poorly thought through. Its a similar sensation to that I feel when I read the tie-in books written after Harrison’s Bill the Galactic Hero series. I feel a little sorry for the writers in later books in these series, because I suspect their hands were tied by the poor decisions of previous authors (similarly to the mess that Bear’s Foundation and Chaos had to dig that series out after Benford’s tragically terrible Foundation’s Fear).

Robot City and Robots and Aliens were disappointments because I read Roger MacBride Allen’s Caliban series before them, and Caliban is ok. Not awesome, but ok.

I say all of this as an introduction to Mirage. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve been wading through Asimov robot tie-ins from other authors for a while now, and some of them are not very good. That’s why finding Mirage was such a delight. Its well written, has a similar style as Asimov’s own writing, reuses characters and plot elements from previous tie-in books sufficiently to acknowledge their existence without getting bogged down by the poor decisions of those previous series. Its an engaging read, and I’m glad I stuck through these various series long enough to find it.

My only complaint with this book is that the epilogue is confusing and doesn’t align with my understanding of the end of the story.

Mirage Book Cover Mirage
Mark W. Tiedemann, Isaac Asimov,

The assassination of an important senator threatens an important conference between Earth and the "Spacers," settlers who want to bring positronic robots back to Earth. Original.

Buy Jupiter Short Stories

This is another Asimov short story collection. The following stories appear in the book, although I have already read a couple as part of either the Robot short stories or the Nightfall collection of short stories.

To be honest these stories aren’t Asimov’s strongest. They entertaining, but they’re not as amazing as some of his other stuff. I guess its hard to be a genius all the time.

The following stories appear in this collection:

Buy Jupiter
The Complete Robot
Robot Dreams
Darwinian Pool Room
Day of the Hunters
Shah Guido G.
Button, Button
The Monkey’s Finger
The Pause
Let’s Not
Each an Explorer
Does a Bee Care?
Silly Asses
Buy Jupiter
A Statue for Father
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Founding Father
Exile to Hell
Key Item
The Proper Study
2430 A.D.
The Greatest Asset
Take a Match
Thiotimoline to the Stars
Light Verse

[isbn: 0575041994]
[awards: nominee nebula_short_story 1965 (Founding Father)]

The Robot City, Robots and Aliens Series

This series follows on from the Robot City series set in Asimov’s Foundation Universe but written by other authors. Overall that first series was weak, and I think the same is true for this series as well. There are a few here that are better than the others, but I’d only recommend this series for those who are obsessed with Foundation universe completeness.

Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Humanity

This book is actually the best one of the two robot city series (Robot City and Robots and Aliens). Unfortunately I had to wade through 12 not very good books to find it, and its still not stellar. I’d recommend giving both these series a miss unless you’re obsessed with completeness in Asimov’s Robot universe.

Humanity Book Cover Humanity
Jerry Oltion
Ace Books

Amnesiac Derec, on a galaxy-wide quest for his identity, stumbles upon Ariel Burgess and Dr. Avery, the same man who had obliterated his memory

The Robot City Series

These are books written in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Universe by other authors. They don’t progress the overall plot of the Foundation series, they just use some of the concepts and characters to tell similar stories. The books in the series are:

To be honest these books aren’t fantastic and I wouldn’t recommend them unless you’re trying to get exhaustive coverage of Asimov’s Foundation universe.

Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Maverick

Bruce did an ok job with this book, although I think overall he was suffering from not having a lot to work with. The book is quite readable, which isn’t true of some of the others, and has some nice details such as an attempt to sound technically feasible by the liberal sprinkling of unix jargon through the book. I’m not sure if the unix jargon is successful however. Its interesting that this is also the first of these books to not have an introduction from Asimov himself.

Bruce Bethke, Isaac Asimov,