MACHINES THAT THINK by Isaac Asimov

MACHINES THAT THINK

The Best Science Fiction Stories About Robots and Computers
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An over-eclectic assemblage of 29 yarns, one from 1894, the rest 1932-76, running to a hefty 550-plus pages--and arranged more or less chronologically in the usual fairly meaningless categories. The famous tales include an overabundance of Asimov; "Moxon's Master," Ambrose Bierce's chessplaying automaton that murders its creator; "Fulfillment," A. E. van Vogt's vast, intelligent computer contending with an earlier version of itself; Harlan Ellison's ultimate in computer horror, "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"; Fredric Brown's classic short-short, "Answer" (a supercomputer is asked, "Is there a God?"); and others from Walter M. Miller, Jr., Gordon Dickson, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, and Michael Shara. Also noteworthy: a very early John Wyndham yarn about a Martian robot baffled by Earthly anti-machine paranoia; Murray Leinster invents home computers--in 1946; Harry Harrison's robots continue to fight a meaningless war long after the humans have made peace; and Robert Silverberg's ironic tale of computer-enhanced music. Two others stand out, but neither is about robots or computers: J. F. Bone's well-known "Triggerman" (the finger on the nuclear button), plus a splendid alien-contact yarn from Gene Wolfe. And the rest come in between standard and soggy. A shapeless and rather parochial collection (notable absentees include Aldiss, Simak, and Lem)--but there's no shortage of high-quality, if often familiar, material.
Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1983
ISBN: 0713916850
Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1983




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