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Literature / The Complete Robot

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My various robot short stories have appeared in no less than seven different collections of mine. Why should they be so separated? Since they appear to be far more important than anyone dreamed they would be (least of all, I) at the time they were written, why not pull them together in a single book?
Dr Asimov, Introduction

First published in 1982 by Dr Isaac Asimov with Doubleday, this collection contained every Short Story within his overall Robot Series. At least, that was the implication. Aside from the fact that he would write at least a half-dozen more short positronic robot stories, it only contains three Multivac stories ("Point of View", "True Love", and "...That Thou Art Mindful of Him!"). Nor are all of these robots, even if they have a positronic brain, Three Laws-Compliant! "Sally" and "The Tercentenary Incident" both contain positronic robots that have the ability to kill humans. Still, this volume remains one of the most complete collections if you just want to read about robots.

The Complete Robot is split into several sections, based around a certain theme or setting detail, such as Dr Calvin or Powell and Donovan. Each section has a short blurb summarizing Dr Asimov's thoughts about the section and their personal significance.

    Stories in the collection 

This book has also been republished in an Omnibus called The Robot Collection, which adds The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun.

The Complete Robot provides examples of:

  • Androids Are People, Too: Throughout this collection, Dr Asimov calls this trope Robots-as-Pathos; stories where the audience is expected to sympathize with the robot and believe that it has human-like emotions.
  • Audio Adaptation:
  • Billed Above the Title: Naturally by this point Dr Asimov is famous enough that his name is plastered across the covers of each book, most of the time at least as large as the title itself. The only exception is the Dutch translation, De Totale Robot, where the 1984 cover puts his name at the bottom.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode: During the blurb for Two Climaxes, Dr Asimov admits that his favourite robot story is "The Bicentennial Man".
  • Deceptively Human Robots: When introducing Some Humanoid Robots, Dr Asimov specifies that these are stories about robots that can be mistaken for human beings, due to some form of skin-like covering.
    In science fiction it is not uncommon to have a robot built with a surface, at least, of synthetic flesh; and an appearance that is, at best, indistinguishable from the human being. Sometimes such humanoid robots are called "androids" (from a Greek term meaning "manlike") and some writers are meticulous in making the distinction. I am not. To me a robot is a robot.
  • Dedication: Dr Asimov published many books, and he prefaced this collection with the names of three publishers who had current manuscript contracts with him; Marjorie Goldstein, David Bearinger, and Hugh O Neill.
  • Doorstopper: This anthology is over 550 pages in length, although several pages are blank or short to provide more spacing between the different Short Stories.
  • Face on the Cover: Most authors aren't famous enough for their face to sell the book. However, Dr Asimov's portrait is included on the back cover of the Science Fiction Book Club edition because this was supposed to be the definitive collection of his robot stories. (He wrote more, he's addicted to writing more.)
  • Full-Circle Revolution: During the introduction, Dr Asimov talks about how he had become known as "the father of the modern robot story" by choosing a path between Robots-as-Menace and Robots-as-Pathos. This path has robots being sensible tools built by sensible men for practical purposes. He invented Three Laws-Compliant to prevent both paths. However, he ends the collection by admitting that the stories in Two Climaxes are both guided by the Three Laws, yet still they diverge and each fulfills one of the two paths he had set out to avoid from the very beginning.
  • Genre Anthology: This collection of Science Fiction by Dr Asimov contains thirty-one stories about robots of various types. These robots range from plot devices to create a Puzzle Thriller, to deeply emotional and well-rounded protagonists.
  • Killer Robot: Throughout this collection, Dr Asimov calls this trope Robots-as-Menace; stories where the audience is expected to fear technology/science because the robot that represents our advancement turns violent and dangerous.
  • Nonindicative Name: At the time of publication (1982), this book was a complete collection of the short fiction in Dr Asimov's Robot Series. However, he couldn't resist writing more, such as "Robot Dreams" in 1986.
  • Omnibus: The Robot Collection contains The Complete Robot, The Caves of Steel, and The Naked Sun.
  • Reaching Towards the Audience: The only artwork on the Science Fiction Book Club cover merges with the title; a robotic claw coming from the side and forming the 'C' in "COMPLETE".
  • Shout-Out:

Alternative Title(s): The Robot Collection