Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wired Magazine on Robots

Wired has an article on the upcoming film I, Robot and Isaac Asimov's literary career re: robots. I've always been a huge fan of Asimov's works, especially the "Foundation" and "Robot" novels, though I enjoyed everything of his that I read. And when I was growing up, I read plenty of Asimov. The article is a good overview of what he had to say about robots in general. I agree in part with what Doctorow says about Asimov's fiction (see page 2), but I think that for Asimov, character development was never that important. Visions of future worlds and societies were his primary focus, and his characters just took the story where he needed it to go. I'm sure that I wouldn't appreciate his books the same way now as I did fifteen or twenty years ago, but for me, a child with a serious interest in science fact and fiction, nobody explained it better or told a better story than Asimov.

I'm more than a little apprehensive of the movie version of "I, Robot." It's been years since I read the book, but I don't remember any guns or explosions in any of the stories. The movie trailer makes it look like a typical Will Smith summer blockbuster: loud and violent. Which in and of itself isn't so bad, but in the context of an Isaac Asimov story seems jarring. In fact, I can't recall any novel or story of his that directly involved violence. Usually his characters found peaceful ways to avoid conflict. Perhaps I'll just take it in as a sci-fi yarn, and try to forget the creative genius behind the source material.

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