Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

I Robot To Obey I Robot: To Obey
by Mickey Zucker Reichert
Harper Voyager

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

I, Robot: To Obey is the second volume of Isaac Asimov’s estate authorised prequel trilogy to his I, Robot series of stories. Dr Susan Calvin is now in the second year of her psychiatry residency at the Manhattan Hasbro Hospital and is slowly coming to terms with the death of her soul mate Remington Hawthorn. But again Susan becomes the focus of the dissident group Society for Humanity and its campaign against humanoid robots. This time the group is aiming to find the kill switch for the three laws of robotics.

Like the first novel in this trilogy I, Robot: To Obey has a heavy quotient of medical terminology to illustrate the range of brain dysfunctions a resident specialising in psychiatry will need to know in order to advance to the status of consultant. At one point the list of disorders became that thick that this reviewer started preparing for an expected mid-semester exam. And then the story suffered a psychotic episode, performing a volte face becoming a shoot-‘em-up thriller with barely a passing nod to Dr Susan Calvin’s residency. The upshot of this bi-polar adventure is that Susan discovers her parents’ names, who the true author of the three laws of robotics is, what lengths some groups will go to obtain the kill switch to the three laws, and that there are as many crazies in government as there are in the private sector.

I found I, Robot: To Obey to be an intriguing book and am still trying to make up my mind about it. On the whole I prefer this book to I, Robot: To Protect and am looking forward to the final instalment in the trilogy – in which I predict Susan Calvin’s third year of residency will be as action-packed and hazardous as her first two.

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