The Robot series is a series of 38 short stories and 5 novels by science fiction author Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) and som more novels and short stories written by other authors featuring positronic robots.
Most of Asimov's robot short stories, which he began to write in 1939, are set in the first age of positronic robotics and space exploration. The unique feature of Asimov's robots are the Three Laws of Robotics, hardwired in a robot's positronic brain, with which all robots in his fiction must comply, and which ensure that the robot does not turn against its creators.
The stories were not initially conceived as a set, but rather all feature his positronic robots — indeed, there are some inconsistencies among them, especially between the short stories and the novels. They all, however, share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots, and morality. Some of the short stories found in The Complete Robot and other anthologies appear not to be set in the same universe as the Foundation Universe. "Victory Unintentional?" has positronic robots obeying the Three Laws, but also a non-human civilization on Jupiter. "Let's Get Together?" features humanoid robots, but from a different future (where the Cold War is still in progress), and with no mention of the Three Laws. The multiple series offers a sense of completeness, because all of its works are interconnected in some way.
Asimov later integrated the Robot Series into his all-engulfing Foundation series, making R. Daneel Olivaw appear again twenty thousand years later in the age of the Galactic Empire, in sequels and prequels to the original Foundation trilogy; and in the final book of the Robots series — Robots and Empire — we learn how the worlds that later formed the Empire were settled, and how Earth became radioactive (which was first mentioned in Pebble in the Sky).
The Stars, Like Dust? states explicitly that the Earth is radioactive because of a nuclear war. Asimov later explained that the in-universe reason for this perception was that it was formulated by Earthmen many centuries after the event, and which had become distorted, due to the loss of much of their planetary history. This work is generally regarded as part of the Empire series, but does not directly mention either Trantor or the Spacer worlds. One character, however, is seen with a visi-sonor, the same musical instrument that is played by the clown Magnifico in Foundation and Empire. Based on details from the novel, such as Earth still being mostly habitable and the absence of a unified galactic government, it probably would fall during the early formation of the Empire (before it expanded to encompass the galaxy).
The 1989 anthology Foundation's Friends included the positronic robot stories "Balance" by Mike Resnick, "Blot" by Hal Clement, "PAPPI" by Sheila Finch, "Plato's Cave" by Poul Anderson, "The Fourth Law of Robotics" by Harry Harrison and "Carhunters of the Concrete Prairie" by Robert Sheckley. Not all of these stories are entirely consistent with the Asimov stories. The anthology also included "Strip-Runner" by Pamela Sargent, set in the era of the Elijah Baley novels.
Shortly before his death in 1992, Asimov approved an outline for three novels (Caliban, Inferno, Utopia) by Roger MacBride Allen, set between Robots and Empire and the Empire series, telling the story of the terraforming of the Spacer world Inferno, and about the robot revolution started by creating a "No Law" Robot, and then New Law Robots.
There is also another set of novels by various authors (Isaac Asimov's Robot City, Robots and Aliens and Robots in Time series), loosely connected to the Robots Series, but containing many inconsistencies with Asimov's books, which are not generally considered canon.
More recently, the Asimov estate authorized publication of another trilogy of robot mysteries by Mark W. Tiedemann. These novels, which take place several years before Asimov's Robots and Empire, are Mirage (2000), Chimera (2001), and Aurora (2002). These were followed by yet another robot mystery, Alexander C. Irvine's Have Robot, Will Travel (2004), set five years after the Tiedemann trilogy.
In November 2009, the Asimov estate announced the upcoming publication of Robots and Chaos, the first volume in a trilogy featuring Susan Calvin by fantasy author Mickey Zucker Reichert.4 The book was published in November, 2011 under the title I, Robot: To Protect.
The Robot Series
- Magazine Appearances:
- The Caves of Steel (Part 1 of 3) (1953)
- The Caves of Steel (Part 2 of 3) (1953)
- The Caves of Steel (Part 3 of 3) (1953)
- Magazine Appearances:
- The Naked Sun (Part 1 of 3) (1956)
- The Naked Sun (Part 2 of 3) (1956)
- The Naked Sun (Part 3 of 3) (1956)
The Robots of Dawn? (Isaac Asimov, 1983)
Robots and Empire? (Isaac Asimov, 1985)- Also book no. 8 in the Foundation
The Positronic Man? (Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg?, 1993)
Caliban? (Roger McBride Allen?, 1993)
Inferno? (Roger McBride Allen?, 1994)
Utopia? (Roger McBride Allen?, 1996)
Mirage? (Mark W. Tiedemann?, 2000)
Chimera? (Mark W. Tiedemann?, 2001)
Aurora? (Mark W. Tiedemann?, 2002)
Have Robot, Will Travel? (Alexander C. Irvine?, 2004)
I, Robot: To Protect? (Mickey Zucker Reichert?, 2011)
I, Robot? (Isaac Asimov, 1951, coll)
(Introduction 1951, Strange Bedfellow (Robbie?) 1940, Reason? 1941, Liar!? 1941, Runaround ?1942, Catch that Rabbit? 1944, Escape? 1945, Evidence? 1946, Little Lost Robot? 1947, The Evitable Conflict? 1950)
The Rest of the Robots? (Isaac Asimov, 1964, coll)
(Robot AL-76 Goes Astray? 1942, Victory Unintentional? 1942, Satisfaction Guaranteed? 1951, Risk? 1955, First Law? 1956, Let's Get Together? 1957, Galley Slave? 1957, Lenny? 1958, The Caves of Steel 1953, The Naked Sun 1956)
Eight Stories from The Rest of the Robots (Isaac Asimov, 1966, coll)
(Robot AL-76 Goes Astray 1942, Victory Unintentional 1942, Satisfaction Guaranteed 1951, Risk 1955, First Law 1956, Let's Get Together 1957, Galley Slave 1957, Lenny 1958)
The Robot Novels (Isaac Asimov, 1971, coll)
(The two novels, The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun)
The Complete Robot? (Isaac Asimovv, 1982, coll)
(Robbie 1940, Liar! 1941, Reason 1941, Runaround 1942, Robot AL-76 Goes Astray 1942, Victory Unintentional 1942, Evidence 1946, Little Lost Robot 1947, Satisfaction Guaranteed 1951, Risk 1955, First Law 1956, Let's Get Together 1957, Galley Slave 1957, Lenny 1958, Segregationist? 1967, Feminine Intuition? 1969, Mirror Image? 1972, Light Verse? 1973, Stranger in Paradise? 1974, A Boy's Best Friend? 1975, Point of View? 1975, The Bicentennial Man? 1976, The Tercentenary Incident? 1976, Think!? 1977, True Love? 1977)
The Robot Collections (Isaac Asimov, 1983, coll)
(The Complete Robot together with the novels The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun)
The Robot Novels (Isaac Asimov, 1988, coll)
(The three novels The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn)
Robot Visions (Isaac Asimov, 1990, coll) (ed. Martin H. Greenberg)
(Robbie 1940, Liar! 1941, Reason 1941, Runaround 1942, Evidence 1946, Little Lost Robot 1947, The Evitable Conflict 1950, Galley Slave 1957, Lenny 1958, Segregationist 1967, Feminine Intuition 1969, Mirror Image 1972, The Bicentennial Man 1976, Think! 1977, Robot Visions? 1990)
Other Collections (only stories about positronic robots)
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories? (Isaac Asimov, 1975, coll)
(Light Verse 1973)
The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories? (Isaac Asimov, 1976, anth)
(Feminine Intuition 1969, Stranger in Paradise 1974, The Bicentennial Man 1976, The Tercentenary Incident 1976). Two of the stories, "Feminine Intuition" and "The Bicentennial Man", were inspired by Judy-Lynn del Rey.
Foundation's Friends? (Martin H Greenberg?, 1989, anth)
("Blot?" by Hal Clement?, "The Originist?" by Orson Scott Card?, "PAPPI?" by Sheila Finch?, "Plato's Cave?" by Poul Anderson, "The Fourth Law of Robotics?" by Harry Harrison?, "Balance?" by Mike Resnick?, "Strip-Runner?" by Pamela Sargent?, "Carhunters of the Concrete Prairie?" by Robert Sheckley?, "Trantor Falls?" by Harry Turtledove and "Foundation's Conscience?" by George Zebrowski?).
The Complete Stories Volume 1 (1990, coll)
(Satisfaction Guaranteed 1957, Segregationist 1967)
The Complete Stories Volume 2 (1992, coll)
(Evidence 1946, Let's Get Together 1957, Galley Slave 1957, Lenny 1958, Feminine Intuition 1969, Mirror Image 1972, Light Verse 1973, The Bicentennial Man 1976, The Tercentenary Incident 1976)
Foundation's Friends Expanded Edition (Martin H Greenberg, 1997, anth)
("Balance" by Mike Resnick, "Blot" by Hal Clement, "The Originist" by Orson Scott Card, "PAPPI" by Sheila Finch, "Plato's Cave" by Poul Anderson, "The Fourth Law of Robotics" by Harry Harrison, "Balance" by Mike Resnick, "Strip-Runner" by Pamela Sargent, "Carhunters of the Concrete Prairie" by Robert Sheckley, "Trantor Falls" by Harry Turtledove and "Foundation's Conscience" by George Zebrowski. "Strip-Runner" by Pamela Sargent)
Shared World Novels
- 1: Odyssey (Michael P. Kube-McDowell?, 1987)
- 2: Suspicion (Mike McQuay?, 1987)
- 3: Cyborg (William F. Wu?, 1987)
- 4: Prodigy (Arthur Byron?, 1988)
- 5: Refuge (Rob Chilson?, 1988)
- 6: Perihelion (William F. Wu, 1988)
Robots and Aliens?:
- 1: Changeling (Stephen Leigh?, 1989)
- 2: Renegade (Cordell Scotten?, 1989)
- 3: Intruder (Robert Thurston?, 1990)
- 4: Alliance (Jerry Oltion?, 1990)
- 5: Maverick (Bruce Bethke?, 1990)
- 6: Humanity (Jerry Oltion, 1990)
Robots In Time?:
- 1: Predator (William F. Wu?, 1993)
- 2: Marauder (William F. Wu, 1993)
- 3: Warrior (William F. Wu, 1994)
- 4: Dictator (William F. Wu, 1994)
- 5: Emperor (William F. Wu, 199?)
- 6: Invaders (William F. Wu, 199?)