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This is the commencement of the podcasting of a new story, I, Robot, which was originally published in The Infinite Matrix, is slated for reprint in several of the Year’s Best anthologies, and is a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award for Best Novelette. It’s a riff on Asimov’s robots stories, in which only one kind of robot is allowed — I tried to use this to show how such a world would be one of universal, totalitarian Broadcast Flags, technology mandates that restrict innovation and liberty.

Arturo Icaza de Arana-Goldberg, Police Detective Third Grade, United North American Trading Sphere, Third District, Fourth Prefecture, Second Division (Parkdale) had had many adventures in his distinguished career, running crooks to ground with an unbeatable combination of instinct and unstinting devotion to duty.

He’d been decorated on three separate occasions by his commander and by the Regional Manager for Social Harmony, and his mother kept a small shrine dedicated to his press clippings and commendations that occupied most of the cramped sitting-room of her flat off Steeles Avenue.

No amount of policeman’s devotion and skill availed him when it came to making his twelve-year-old get ready for school, though.

“Haul ass, young lady – out of bed, on your feet, shit-shower-shave, or I swear to God, I will beat you purple and shove you out the door jaybird naked. Capeesh?”

The mound beneath the covers groaned and hissed. “You are a terrible father,” it said. “And I never loved you.” The voice was indistinct and muffled by the pillow.

“Boo hoo,” Arturo said, examining his nails. “You’ll regret that when I’m dead of cancer.”

The mound – whose name was Ada Trouble Icaza de Arana-Goldberg – threw her covers off and sat bolt upright. “You’re dying of cancer? is it testicle cancer?” Ada clapped her hands and squealed. “Can I have your stuff?”

Part One MP3

6 Responses to “I, Robot, Part 01”

  1. Johnny

    Does anyone else think it’s kind of weird/lame that Cory’s using the title ‘I. Robot’? Or is it just me, and this is _actually_ a very clever angle?

  2. Cory Doctorow

    Well, Asimov stole it from Eando Binder, who wrote the first book called I, Robot. They stole it from I, Claudius. What makes it not-weird/not-lame for them to take it, but weird/lame for me?

  3. Miche Doherty

    Nitpick: the Binders wrote a short story called “I, Robot”, not a book.

    From Asimov’s In Memory Yet Green:

    Martin Greenberg had rejected my notion of calling it Mind and Iron and suggested it be called I, Robot.
    “Impossible, Marty,” I said. “Eando Binder wrote a short story called ‘I, Robot’ back in 1938.”
    Too which Marty answered, with unassailable logic, “F–â€? Eando Binder.”

  4. Michael B. Justman

    Actually, wasn’t I, Robot the name of one of his anthologies of robot stories?

  5. andrew

    Is this maybe a sly commnet on Ray Bradbury’s behaviour re: the adaptation of his title (Fahrenheit 451) in Michael Moore’s last movie? He had a fit, called Moore a “screwed asshole”, etc., although people pointed out that several of own titles were derived from other people’s works.

    Anyway, Asimov quite clearly stole his title from my series of Robot books. I stopped at 8 titles, and then Isaac stole my idea. Mine were entitled “A, Robot”, “B Robot”, “C, Robot” etc


  6. south.hurst

    giving a story the same title (or a similar one) is homage, not stealing.

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