A new twist on the the age old question "What makes a man a man?" The protagonist in this story, a sentient robot, does everything in his power to look, act and feel human. But in the end, does he go too far? A very good treatment of this familiar story by the SF icons Asimov and Silverberg.
Straight up scifi isnt a genre I usually read but I came across a copy of this book on audio and figured what the heck? Im in a bit of a slump so maybe this will kick me out of it.
So far, so good. It's set in the future where helpful robots are a reality. Model NDR113, or Andrew as his family names him, is contemplating a risky surgery when the book begins but we don't know what it is. It then flips back to the past a bit and we meet him just as he's settling in with his family. He seems to be part housekeeper and part babysitter and a trusted member of the family. Someone tell me where I can sign up for an Andrew.
Anyway, being a robot and all, Andrew must obey all commands and is constantly torn between Dad's orders and those of the little girls who he calls Miss and Little Miss. The girls have ways of overriding Dad's commands and Andrew's programming often doesn't know what to do and the girls get their way. And that's as far as I've read. I'm surprised just how enjoyable this is because I'm not a straight up scifi lover.
Ok, almost finished. This book, even though not my genre of choice, really surprised me. I didnt find myself dozing off and it wasnt overly technical as Id mistakenly assumed. It focused on Andrew the robots struggles with being owned. He seems to have some sort of a glitch that allows him to think less like a machine and more like a human. He has no rights and no free will but fortunately he has Little Miss and a whole lot of money and she forces her dad to fight to make Andrew a free robot. Andrew now faces more problems from a society fearful and prejudiced against robots and as he outlives his family he feels things no robot should.
My attention began to wane a bit during the last part of the book which spent a lot of time on the scifi aspects and legal battles of Andrew but overall it was a very engaging and thought provoking book that even made me tear up near the end. Im glad I gave it a listen.
In the twenty-first century the creation of the positronic brain leads to the development of robot laborers and revolutionizes life on Earth. But to the Martin family, their household robot NDR-113 is more than a mechanical servant. "Andrew" has become a trusted friend, a confidant, a member of the family. For through some unknown manufacturing glitch, Andrew has been blessed with a capacity for love and a drive toward self-awareness and development that are almost...human.
But almost is not enough. Andrew's dream is to become fully human. Facing human prejudice, the laws of robotics, and his own mechanical limitations, Andrew will use science and law in his terrifying choice: to make his dream a reality, he must pay the ultimate price.