Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Asimov's robots are lineal descendants of vampires!

Genre veterans must have known it a long time; my eureka moment came only recently.

  1. When introducing Eando Binder's "I, Robot" in Asimov/Greenberg (Ed)'s "Isaac Asimov Presents Great SF Stories 1 (1939)", Asimov tells us the origin of his robot stories is in this Binder original: 'Two months after I read it, I began "Robbie", about a sympathetic robot, & that was the start of my positronic robot series.'

    Having read most of Asimov's robot stories, I can see the connection. And if "Robbie" is the story I think it is, it is but an elaboration of an incident in Binder's story.

    Related: Download comic book version of this Binder story.
  2. Binder tells us in "I, Robot" that this story is a reaction to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein": "it is the most stupid premise ever made: that a created man must turn against his creator, against humanity, lacking a soul. The book is all wrong."

    Incidentally, the little girl incident in Binder story also happens in "Frankenstein". The most significant difference between the two is: in "Frankenstein", the creator abandons his creation, making him survive the best he can; in "I, Robot", creator does required hand holding & prepares him to meet the human world.
  3. Mary Shelley in "Frankenstein" gives us the vampire connection: "being whom I had cast among mankind, and endowed with the will and power to effect purposes of horror, such as the deed which he had now done, nearly in the light of my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the grave, and forced to destroy all that was dear to me."

    Shelley actually makes biblical connections too & also with an apparently bible-inspired book called "Paradise Lost" (I haven't read it). More on it when I post on Shelley's novel.