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The Positronic Man

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Based on the classic short story that introduced the Three Laws of Robotics to the world, The Positronic Man marks the final collaboration between two of the most beloved authors in science fiction history. In the first rush to develop robots for domestic service, a few corners are cut, a few guesses made. The new technology of the positronic pathway is a quantum leap in the field of artificial intelligence, but it's hardly an exact science. Aberrations occur. Aberrations like Andrew, a most extraordinary robot ...
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1995-12-01 Mass Market Paperback New New Condition,

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Overview

Based on the classic short story that introduced the Three Laws of Robotics to the world, The Positronic Man marks the final collaboration between two of the most beloved authors in science fiction history. In the first rush to develop robots for domestic service, a few corners are cut, a few guesses made. The new technology of the positronic pathway is a quantum leap in the field of artificial intelligence, but it's hardly an exact science. Aberrations occur. Aberrations like Andrew, a most extraordinary robot who, it seems, is capable of creating, learning, adapting, and even feeling. Andrew is the first robot of his kind, and also the last, for when U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc., learns of his talents, they terminate this entire line, terrified by its implications. But Andrew's owners, the Martins, refuse to give him up. They love their robot; he is a cherished member of the family, and a valuable one - sales of the furniture he creates are phenomenal. Andrew is fond of the Martins too, even beyond the minimum standards ensured by the Three Laws of Robotics that are hardwired into his circuits. He has it easy as robots go, but something gnaws at him, something that moves him to risk everything he has in an impossible struggle for his freedom. With quiet dignity, Andrew faced down the all-too-familiar forces of bigotry and hatred in a daring bid to obtain the only thing that really matters to him ... his humanity. Written with incomparable strength, wit, and beauty, The Positronic Man is a brilliant novel of science fiction, and a fable for our time.

The final collaboration between two of SF's greatest talents chronicles the extraordinary life of Andrew Martin, a standard housekeeping robot whose experimental brain turns out to have unique capabilities. A fascinating examination of what it means to be human.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The third and final collaborative novel from Silverberg and the late Asimov ( Nightfall ; The Ugly Little Boy ) follows Asimov's classic story, ``The Bicentennial Man,'' step by step (whole sentences and paragraphs remain), adding extra scenes for length. The novel chronicles the quest of the robot Andrew Martin (dubbed NDR-113 at the factory) to achieve the rights, privileges, appearance and ultimately even the weaknesses of being fully human. When brought to the home of wealthy politician Gerald Martin, Andrew is little more than a standard household robot, but he quickly develops a remarkable, even artistic, skill in woodworking. He proceeds to stretch his increasingly human-like mind, seeking and winning his freedom and legal rights, grieving as human friends die and he lives on, replacing his robotic parts with organic prostheses of his own design. But he cannot replace his positronic brain, so he must finally appeal to the World Court to be declared human in all respects. Focused on the question of what it means to be human, Asimov's short story is a masterpiece in which the thinness of the background doesn't matter. The absence of a convincing future world or well-developed characters is glaring here. Readers interested in contemplating the human potential of robots would do better to reread the original. ( Nov .)
Library Journal
A housekeeping robot transcends the laws that limit him in his desire to become human in this final collaboration between two sf masters. Based on The Bicentennial Man by the late Asimov, this expanded novel will appeal to fans of old-school sf. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/93.
Carl Hays
Silverberg's third collaboration with the late master is a generously extended treatment of the robotic classic, "The Bicentennial Man." Arriving at the home of the wealthy Martin family as a common housekeeping robot--and, of course, programmed to obey Asimov's immutable Three Laws of Robotics--NDR-113, otherwise known as Andrew, soon reveals extraordinary artistic abilities arising from his experimental positronic brain. As Andrew outlasts his mortal patrons, his abilities and self-awareness expand, leading him first upon a quest to become the world's first free robot, then to "upgrading" himself with his own invented human protheses, and finally to being declared fully human. More than a modernized version of "Pinocchio", this explores, with clarity and tragicomedy, the full range of philosophical problems involved in drawing the line between human and robot. Although sacrificing some of the pithy conciseness of the original story, Silverberg's expansion allows him to skillfully develop Andrew's character and produce a robot the reader can really care about.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553561210
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Isaac Asimov
The godfather of science fiction, Isaac Asimov is the genreā€™s undisputed master and one of the most prolific authors of all time. From his famous Foundation trilogy to his later stories, Asimov took fiction to new, strange, and often wondrous places.

Biography

To list Isaac Asimov's honors, as to list his books, would be excessive. Let it simply be noted that Isaac Asimov was the most famous, most honored, most widely read, and most beloved science fiction author of all time. In his five decades as an author, he wrote more than four hundred books, won every award his readers and colleagues could contrive to give him, and provided pleasure and insight to millions. He died in 1992, still at work.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      January 20, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Petrovichi, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      April 6, 1992
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Columbia University, B.S. in chemistry, 1939; M.A. in chemistry, 1941; Ph.D. in biochemistry, 1948

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