Wednesday, June 23, 2004

We, moviegoers

What with I, Robot the movie on the way, Cory Doctorow's cover story for this month's Wired Magazine is on Asimov and robots.

Asimov's stories aren't brilliant fiction; he was no prose stylist and his characters, especially women, are wooden and one-dimensional. His work is a kind of proto-fiction, stuff caught in the Burgess Shale of the genre, from a time before the field shed its gills and developed lungs, feet, and believable characters. What makes Asimov's robots stand out, even today, is the resiliency of his imagination. Despite the complete failure of anything like a thinking robot to appear on the scene, the vision endures. Many people still believe that someday soon we'll have thinking robots living among us.

Any day now.

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