Review: Isaac Asimov's I, Robot – To Protect / Author: Mickey Zucker Reichert / Publisher: Penguin Putnam / Release Date: Out Now
Isaac Asimov began his classic Robot stories in 1939 and continued them for several decades. Initially a set of short stories, they evolved into several connected books, with many of the tales revolving around a character called Dr Susan Calvin, a psychiatrist specialising in robot intelligence and the workings of the famous Three Laws of Robotics.
Since Asimov’s death various spin-off series have been approved. This, the latest, centres on the early life of Susan Calvin. Overall Mickey Zucker Reichert makes a good job of producing a readable narrative that shows careful study of the original texts. The story covers Susan’s career as a junior doctor in a research hospital and focusses on events in her first year (presumably each novel in the series will be about a different year – very Harry Potter!) where she falls in love, meets a robot, performs medical miracles on a daily basis, learns of her father’s work with robots and saves the day. This may seem like a trivialising whistle-stop tour but the novel covers all the bases it needs to.
Reichert is an experienced writer of many fantasy novels. She's also a practising doctor, and seems determined to make sure you don't forget it: the first 50 pages are littered with obscure medical terminology and read like the discarded scripts of several episodes of Casualty. The author also has an annoying check-list way of introducing new characters. As for Susan's love affair, it wouldn't be out of place in a Mills & Boon. On the bright side, he's updated the technology of the original stories very well, and, it's many flaws aside, this book is still very enjoyable.