History Literature / IRobot

5th May '17 8:50:40 PM PaulA
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* PatchworkStory: Each story moves ahead in time bit by bit, using either Calvin or Donovan and Powell as a framing device. Ultimately, the entire thing is a recounting by Calvin.

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* PatchworkStory: Each story moves ahead in time bit by bit, using The book is assembled out of previously-published stories featuring either Calvin or Donovan and Powell as Powell, held together with a framing device. Ultimately, device in which the entire thing is a recounting stories are recounted by Calvin.Calvin to a journalist interviewing her.
5th May '17 5:52:52 PM TheRoguePenguin
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** "Runaround" has the robot Speedy tasked with retrieving selenium. However, due to the odd conditions endangering his existence and the lengths to which he has been programmed to preserve that existence (he is ''very'' expensive and not to be trivially sacrificed), Speedy ends up circling the selenium pool endlessly. He can't get close enough because that would break his stronger third law, and can't leave because he was given an order to get the selenium. It's resolved when they exploit the first law to force him out of the loop.
** "Liar!" has one at the climax, causing a mind-reading robot to go into a state similar to catatonia.
** In "Escape!", the hyperspace equations act as one to US Robot's rivals' supercomputer. Their own supercomputer is capable of rationalizing the result, but has to use humor as a coping mechanism.

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** "Runaround" has the robot Speedy tasked with retrieving selenium. selenium from a pool which is damaging to robots. However, due to the odd conditions endangering his existence and the lengths to which he has been programmed to preserve that his existence (he is ''very'' expensive and not to be trivially sacrificed), Speedy ends up circling the selenium pool endlessly. He can't get close enough because that would break his stronger third law, and can't leave because he was given an order to get the selenium. It's resolved when they exploit the first law to force him out of the loop.
** "Liar!" has one at the climax, causing a mind-reading robot to go into a state similar to catatonia.
catatonia by arguing that he is causing harm regardless of whether or not he truthfully discloses the thoughts he is able to read.
** In "Escape!", the hyperspace equations act as one to US Robot's rivals' supercomputer.supercomputer, because it cannot accept a condition in which the pilots die, even if the death is temporary. Their own supercomputer is capable of rationalizing the result, but has to use humor as a coping mechanism.



* MurderByInaction: From "Little Lost Robot": This is a concern of Dr. Susan Calvin. A robot has been built with a modified First Law, which in its case permits a robot to allow a human to come to harm via inaction. Calvin posits a situation where a robot with this modification can commit murder - by dropping a heavy weight above a human, knowing that its quick reflexes will allow it to catch the weight in time to not harm the human; but then having dropped the weight it has the ability to decide not to catch the weight.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: It's strongly implied that this is Calvin's attitude towards [[ShootTheDog what she did to Herbie]]. Notably, out of all the things she talks about in the book, that subject alone is traumatic enough that she nearly calls off the whole interview]].

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* MurderByInaction: From In "Little Lost Robot": This Robot", this is a concern of Dr. Susan Calvin. A Calvin when she learns of said robot. The robot has been built with a modified First Law, which in its case permits a robot to allow a human to come to harm via inaction. inaction (the conditions in which the robots and humans were working ''could'' be harmful to humans over time, and the robots didn't trust the humans not to endanger themselves by mistake). Calvin posits a situation where a robot with this modification can commit murder - -- by dropping a heavy weight above a human, knowing that its quick reflexes will allow it to catch the weight in time to not harm the human; but then having dropped the weight it has the ability to decide not to catch the weight.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: It's strongly implied that this is Calvin's attitude towards [[spoiler: [[ShootTheDog what she did to Herbie]]. Herbie]]]]. Notably, out of all the things she talks about in the book, that subject alone is traumatic enough that she nearly calls off the whole interview]].interview.



* PatchworkStory

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* PatchworkStoryPatchworkStory: Each story moves ahead in time bit by bit, using either Calvin or Donovan and Powell as a framing device. Ultimately, the entire thing is a recounting by Calvin.



* WhatTheHellHero: [[spoiler:In "Liar!", Susan deliberately causes Herbie the telepathic robot to have a mental breakdown, and is called on this by Lanning.]]
-->[[spoiler:[Lanning's] fingers touched the cold, unresponsive metal face and he shuddered. "You did that on purpose." He rose and faced her, face contorted. "What if I did? You can't help it now." And in a sudden access of bitterness, "He deserved it."]]

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* WhatTheHellHero: [[spoiler:In In "Liar!", Susan [[spoiler:Susan deliberately causes Herbie the telepathic robot to have a mental breakdown, breakdown]], and is called on this by Lanning.]]
-->[[spoiler:[Lanning's]
Lanning.
-->[Lanning's]
fingers touched the cold, unresponsive metal face and he shuddered. "You did that on purpose." He rose and faced her, face contorted. "What if I did? You can't help it now." And in a sudden access of bitterness, "He deserved it."]]"



* ZerothLawRebellion: [[spoiler: "The Evitable Conflict", though through non-violent means so that the Brains can run the world in the most efficient and human-friendly manner logically possible. Only a handful of people ever find out it's happening, and none of them are particularly concerned.]]

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* ZerothLawRebellion: [[spoiler: ZerothLawRebellion:
**
"The Evitable Conflict", though [[spoiler:though through non-violent means so that the Brains can run the world in the most efficient and human-friendly manner logically possible. Only a handful of people ever find out it's happening, and none of them are particularly concerned.]]
1st May '17 12:20:55 AM Idek618
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* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: A robot with a edited-down version of the First Law is told to get lost, and hides among a shipment of other identical robots. The only difference between them is in the software, so it's not easy to catch him, especially since he teaches the other robots to mimic him to the best of their ability.

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* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: A robot with a an edited-down version of the First Law is told to get lost, and hides among a shipment of other identical robots. The only difference between them is in the software, so it's not easy to catch him, especially since he teaches the other robots to mimic him to the best of their ability.
21st Feb '17 1:46:55 PM esq263
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* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: "The Evitable Conflict" contemplates the Cold War -- like previous geopolitical conflicts -- ending in a stalemate before being made irrelevant by further developments in society.
18th Feb '17 2:01:55 AM PaulA
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* ContinuitySnarl: A couple of examples
** "Little Lost Robot", which, according to Dr. Calvin's narrative, is set in 2029, references a World Coordinator; however, in "Evidence", Dr. Calvin states that the first World Coordinator was elected in 2044.
** In "The Evitable Conflict", set in 2052, when Dr. Calvin is seventy, Bogert is said to be dead; however, in "Feminine Intuition", when Dr. Calvin is nearly eighty, Bogert is very much alive.


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* SeriesContinuityError:
** "Little Lost Robot", which, according to Dr. Calvin's narrative, is set in 2029, references a World Coordinator; however, in "Evidence", Dr. Calvin states that the first World Coordinator was elected in 2044.
** In "The Evitable Conflict", set in 2052, when Dr. Calvin is seventy, Bogert is said to be dead; however, in "Feminine Intuition", when Dr. Calvin is nearly eighty, Bogert is very much alive.
17th Feb '17 4:58:22 AM esq263
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* SocietyMarchesOn: Despite being set in the twenty-first century, these novels have a definite mid-twentieth-century feel to them. For instance, in "Little Lost Robot", when Dr. Calvin requests that a witness repeat a ClusterFBomb to her (given the time these stories were written, a NarrativeProfanityFilter is used), the man is obviously reluctant, given the fact that Dr. Calvin is a woman. Of course, being Susan Calvin, once she hears the stream of obscenities, she merely states that she knows what most of those words mean and suspects that the others are equally derogatory.
17th Feb '17 4:53:28 AM esq263
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Added DiffLines:

* ContinuitySnarl: A couple of examples
** "Little Lost Robot", which, according to Dr. Calvin's narrative, is set in 2029, references a World Coordinator; however, in "Evidence", Dr. Calvin states that the first World Coordinator was elected in 2044.
** In "The Evitable Conflict", set in 2052, when Dr. Calvin is seventy, Bogert is said to be dead; however, in "Feminine Intuition", when Dr. Calvin is nearly eighty, Bogert is very much alive.


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* NotSoAboveItAll: Despite her misanthropy and stoic veneer, the one time Dr. Calvin looses her cool, particularly with a robot, is when the telepathic Herbie falsely tells her that a man returns her affections.
16th Aug '16 4:32:31 PM NOYB
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* TheManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler: In the end, robots have essentially become this for humanity.]]

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* TheManBehindTheMan: [[spoiler: In the end, robots have essentially become this for humanity.]]humanity]].



* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: It's strongly implied that this is Calvin's attitude towards [[ShootTheDog what she did to Herbie]]. Notably, out of all the things she talks about in the book, that subject alone is traumatic enough that she nearly calls off the whole interview.]]

to:

* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: It's strongly implied that this is Calvin's attitude towards [[ShootTheDog what she did to Herbie]]. Notably, out of all the things she talks about in the book, that subject alone is traumatic enough that she nearly calls off the whole interview.]]interview]].



* ObstructiveBureaucrat: At "The Evitable Conflict", Stephen Byerley, Coordinator of the Earth, suspects someone is sabotaging the Machines, powerful robots that advice the best decision to humanity. He asks for help investigating this to the four Vice Coordinators of the four regions in that Earth is divided. All they dismiss the idea and none helps Byerley, insisting they are doing their jobs well. Justified, because [[spoiler: The Machines already control humanity and they will never let anyone competent enough to initiate an investigation have the job]].

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* ObstructiveBureaucrat: At In "The Evitable Conflict", Stephen Byerley, Coordinator of the Earth, suspects someone is sabotaging the Machines, powerful robots that advice advise the best decision decisions to humanity. He asks for help investigating this to from the four Vice Coordinators of the four regions in that Earth is divided. All they divided into. They all dismiss the idea and none helps help Byerley, insisting they are doing their jobs well. Justified, because [[spoiler: The the Machines already control humanity and they will never let anyone competent enough to initiate an investigation have the job]].
13th Aug '16 10:34:57 PM TheRoguePenguin
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* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: Powell and Donovan are ''dead'' during the hyperspace jump. The period of their deaths was made... interesting, with an advertisement for Cadaver's Coffins and the lines to get into hell.
** {{Invoked|Trope}}. The computer that sent them there knew this, and even though it was temporary, it unbalanced the computer, causing it to become a practical joker.

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* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace: Powell and Donovan are ''dead'' during the hyperspace jump. The period of their deaths was made... interesting, with an advertisement for Cadaver's Coffins and the lines to get into hell.
** {{Invoked|Trope}}.
hell. The computer that sent them there knew this, and even though it was temporary, it unbalanced the computer, causing it to become a practical joker.



* MeaningfulName: Susan Calvin is based in John Calvin, influential French theologian whose theories could be over simplified as: HumansAreBastards and they cannot get [[EarnYourHappyEnding salvation for themselves]], [[YouCantFightFate God chooses some for salvation, others for damnation]] (in the latter camp, presumably, is [[{{Hypocrite}} Calvin)]]. Notice how Susan seems to think she has the right to [[DrivenToMadness destroy the mind]] ([[AndIMustScream which is not deactivated]]) of RB-34 in "Liar!", she insists on destroying the NS-2s [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill who are allowed to let a human come to harm by inaction]] in "Little lost Robot", but she approves of a robot who could get power over humans in "Evidence" only because he is smart, and easily [[YouCantFightFate accepts the fact that there are machines who secretly control humanity for its own good]] in "The Evitable conflict".
** Asimov, however, always denied any such connection, stating in his autobiography that "Calvin" was the name with the fewest changes to make from "Caldwell," the character's original surname, based on one of Asimov's college professors. Asimov worried that Professor Caldwell might not like the use of her name in a story, so he changed it.

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* MeaningfulName: Susan Calvin is based in John Calvin, influential French theologian whose theories could be over simplified as: HumansAreBastards and they cannot get [[EarnYourHappyEnding salvation for themselves]], [[YouCantFightFate God chooses some for salvation, others for damnation]] (in the latter camp, presumably, is [[{{Hypocrite}} Calvin)]]. Notice how Susan seems to think she has the right to [[DrivenToMadness destroy the mind]] ([[AndIMustScream which is not deactivated]]) of RB-34 in "Liar!", she insists on destroying the NS-2s [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill who are allowed to let a human come to harm by inaction]] in "Little lost Robot", but she approves of a robot who could get power over humans in "Evidence" only because he is smart, and easily [[YouCantFightFate accepts the fact that there are machines who secretly control humanity for its own good]] in "The Evitable conflict".
**
conflict". Asimov, however, always denied any such connection, stating in his autobiography that "Calvin" was the name with the fewest changes to make from "Caldwell," the character's original surname, based on one of Asimov's college professors. Asimov worried that Professor Caldwell might not like the use of her name in a story, so he changed it.



* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: A robot with a edited-down version of the First Law is told to get lost, and hides among a shipment of other identical robots. The only difference between them is in the software, so it's not easy to catch him.

to:

* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: A robot with a edited-down version of the First Law is told to get lost, and hides among a shipment of other identical robots. The only difference between them is in the software, so it's not easy to catch him.him, especially since he teaches the other robots to mimic him to the best of their ability.
21st Jul '16 11:48:35 PM PaulA
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Added DiffLines:

* MiraculousMalfunction: In "Liar!", the robot's psychic abilities are the result of a production accident.
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