Apr 032006

Robot City 5: Refuge book cover

This review will most likely contain spoilers for any previous books in the series, read at your own risk.

After a close call with Dr. Avery, the crazed mastermind of Robot City, finally returned to check on its progress. He captured Derec and Ariel, but eventually they escaped with the help of Mandelbrot and Wolruf. Derec, Ariel, Mandelbrot, and Wolruf escape by stealing Dr. Avery’s ship. Unfortunately the ship had no star charts in the computer, so they were unable to jump to safety. Ariel’s health had been deteriorating considerably, and eventually Mandelbrot demanded that something must be done. Derec and Ariel use a Key to Perihelion that was found in the ship in hopes it takes them to a place that might have a cure for her disease and possibly Derec’s amnesia.

This book mainly covers Derec and Ariel’s adventures on Earth, the destination the Key takes them to. They search out for a cure for Ariel and what possible interest Dr. Avery might have in Earth. We see here the claustrophobia Derec and Arial experience. This is a fitting contrast to Lije Baley’s agoraphobia which Asimov described in The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn.

Posted by Stettin
Apr 132006

Robot City 6: Perhelion book cover

As I stated in the general Robot City review, Isaac Asimov’s introduction to this book contains some major spoilers for the novel. Especially if you are reading the entire robot series in chronological order, I suggest not reading Asimov’s introduction unless you have finished both this novel and Robots and Empire. There are many spoilers for the rest of the Robot Novel series by Asimov also. This review will most likely contain spoilers for any previous books in the Robot City series, read at your own risk.

Doctors on Earth were able to cure Ariel of her sickness, but her memory was lost. Derec has shown signs of a sickness also, but doctors have assured him it is not what Ariel had. They finally escape and eventually Derec, Ariel, Mandelbrot, and Wolruf decide to return to Robot City to attempt to find a cure for Derec.

This book concentrates mainly on answering most of the questions that were developed in the rest of the series. Robot City appears to have covered the entire surface of the planet at this point. Derec must find out what Dr. Avery has done to him with the help of his friends. Some things are left unanswered, which frustrated me a bit. This seems a bit fitting because the climax opens the door for the next series, Robots and Aliens.

Posted by Stettin
Apr 202006

I had a friend recommend that I watch Battlestar Galactica last month. He simply said that it was the best show on TV. I’m sure many could argue whether it is the “Best” or not, but I don’t think anyone can say it is less than a top notch show. I give this series 5/5 stars. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Apr 212006

Robots and Aliens Volume 1 book cover

One thing I like about this book is there is a nice eight page synopsis of the whole Robot City series. Even after just reading the series, it was a nice refresher for the events leading up to Robots and Aliens. This new series involves Asimov’s challenge to the authors to describe what might happen if robots encountered an alien species. How would they treat them? How would the Three Laws apply?

I particularly enjoyed this first book because it addresses one of the main questions I had regarding the Three Laws of Robotics. What does the key phrase “human being” actually mean? Throughout Asimov’s books and it is explained that the laws aren’t as simple as the English translation. They are complicated sets of positronic potentials that govern every action of a robot.

In Changeling, Stephen Leigh describes a robot model that is given a very simple definition of “intelligent life form” as an equivalent. This idea seems to work very well in this book and after several chapters we see how this experiment intersects with the Robot City plotlines. Also, we get to see Derec use the powers he was given to control Robot City. One thing that did bug me a little bit was how little of the main plotlines was advanced.

Posted by Stettin
Apr 252006

I started purchasing books for my Robot and Foundation timeline reading project back in April of 2005. I realized that reading 36 books would probably make a very good start for a Sci-Fi review website. After completing most of my collections I started reading and compiling my reviews. Finally, on April 25, 2006 I registered this domain and started posting my reviews for everyone to see.

Posted by Stettin
Apr 302006

Robots and Aliens Volume 1 book cover

This review will most likely contain spoilers for any previous books in the series, read at your own risk.

In Renegade, Cordell Scotten describes an alien species far different than that of the wolf-like pack in Book1. I found it a bit hard to relate to this new species as well as I could with the wolf creatures. I think that Scotten might have been trying a bit too hard to come up with complex aliens. Most of the unique mannerisms that were described seemed like they came out of nowhere. One thing that I did like from this book was that the relationship between Derec and Ariel is developed a bit more. Also, we start to understand a bit more about the Key of Perihelion.

Posted by Stettin

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