Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Book Review: I, Robot: To Preserve by Mickey Zucker Reichert

I, Robot: To Preserve
Author: Mickey Zucker Reichert
Series: I, Robot (Book 3)
Publication: Ace (February 2, 2016)

Description: Inspired by Science Fiction Grand Master Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot stories.

2037: Robotic technology has evolved into the realm of self-aware, sentient mechanical entities. But despite the safeguards programmed into the very core of a robot’s artificial intelligence, humanity’s most brilliant creation can still fall prey to those who believe the Three Laws of Robotics were made to be broken...

N8-C, better known as Nate, has been Manhattan Hasbro Hospital’s resident robot for more than twenty years. A prototype, humanoid in appearance, he was created to interact with people. While some staff accepted working alongside an anthropomorphic robot, Nate’s very existence terrified most people, leaving the robot utilized for menial tasks and generally ignored.

Until one of the hospital’s physicians is found brutally murdered with Nate standing over the corpse, a blood-smeared utility bar clutched in his hand. As designer and programmer of Nate’s positronic brain, Lawrence Robertson is responsible for his creation’s actions and arrested for the crime.

Susan Calvin knows the Three Laws of Robotics make it impossible for Nate to harm a human being. But to prove both Nate’s and Lawrence’s innocence, she has to consider the possibility that someone somehow manipulated the laws to commit murder...

My Thoughts: In the conclusion of the I, Robot trilogy, Susan has decisions to make and problems to solve. When NC-8 is found standing over the body of Dr. Ari Goldman, Susan knows that the Three Laws of Robotics make it impossible for him to have committed the crime. However, she is in the minority since most don't understand those laws. Dr. Lawrence Robertson is arrested because he was the one who designed and programmed Nate and is therefore responsible for his actions.

Susan knows that she needs to find out who killed Dr. Goldman and how they managed to make it look like Nate did it. She gives up her residency in order to have time to work on finding the proof which causes her friend Dr. Kendall Stevens to worry about her.

She manages to free Nate from the police property department and while they are fleeing, she is shot at. She is rescued by Pal Buffoni who says that he is recently discharged from an elite military unit. He says that he has fallen in love with her and is determined to keep her safe. Susan, being alone and attracted to him, decides to accept his offer to keep her and Nate safe. Pal tries to convince her that the Society for Humanity has regrouped enough after the events of the last book to become a threat again. He also encourages her to find the lost code that divorces the positronic brain from the Three Laws that both the SFH and DoD's Cadmium are convinced she knows.

This was an exciting and fast-paced story as Susan, Nate and Pal are being chased both by bad guys and by the police who want to recapture Nate. I liked the action even though I knew about the big reveal long before Susan figured it out.

Fans of hard science fiction and robotics will enjoy this trilogy which makes a good introduction to Isaac Asimov's books about robots with positronic brains.

Favorite Quote:
In the past, Susan had frequently walked the line between informing and insulting. She did not suffer fools, gladly or otherwise, and preferred to simply purge them from her life.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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