I, Robot + The Princess Bride = 64 down, 36 to go

11 Jul

One of the categories that I was extremely lacking was books adapted into movies. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve finished two books that you can also find in your local video store.

I, Robot
Isaac Asimov
256 pages

My familiarity with this book was limited to the 2004 movie of the same name starring Will Smith. While I know that many books and movies vary, I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t even find his character in its pages.

The book is known as a classic science fiction work and is comprised of a series of short stories that walk us through the introduction of robots.

Robots are built with the three laws of robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The stories in the book take a look at robots being used for different purposes and the moral challenges faced by those using them – including an off-planet example where that three laws are altered to serve man’s purpose…and what the resulting consequences are.

Though I was originally hoping for more background of Will Smith’s movie character, this book was a decent read. Here is one metaphor in the book that I found clever…in a conversation between robopsychologist Dr. Susan Kalvin and a robot-turned-politician, they are discussing the battle for Europe between the houses of Hapsburg and Valois-Bourbon. I particularly like the last description:

No war ever wiped out the one and established the other, until the rise of a new social atmosphere in France in 1789 tumbled first the Bourbons, and eventually, the Hapsburgs down the dusty chute to history’s incinerator.

The Princess Bride
William Goldman
512 pages

Who doesn’t love a handsome, swashbuckling hero and a sweet, beautiful heroine juxtaposed against a calculating, unbalanced villain…plus, throw in a couple of contagious characters with lovely backstories. This book was a great joy to read.

It is positioned as an abridged work of Simon Morgenstern with commentary from the author sprinkled throughout, adding humor and whimsy to text.

There is clever wording and positioning throughout:

The beef-witted featherbrained rattleskulled clodpated dim-domed noodle-noggined sapheaded lunk-knobbed boys.

And who doesn’t remember and love this classic line:

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

If you adored the 1987 movie, you’ll love this book just as much.

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