Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Book 2: Suspicion by Mike McQuay

The experiment continues. This statement goes for both the challenge Isaac Asimov presented to 4 sci-fi writers and to the experiment in the Robot City series of books of Robots and Humans working together. But before I jump too far let me give you a little more of a background.

As stated in my review of book 1 in this series, Isaac Asimov's 3 laws of robotics were used by other science fiction writers but only Asimov was allowed to quote them. That is until this series came about. Asimov challenged other writers to write in HIS realm about HIS robots. Michael (Mike) McQuay wrote this book in the series. Some of his previous books are: Life-Keeper (1980), Escape from New York (1981), State of Siege (1984), Jitterbug (1984), My Science Project (1985), The MIA Ransom (1986), Puppetmaster (1991), and Richter 10 (1996) (with Arthur C Clarke). "Suspicion" was published in 1987 along with the other books in the series.

In this book we again join Derec and Katherine after they have mysteriously been transported to Robot City by a device called the Key to Perihelion. The mystery is where this device originated and why were they chosen to "use" it, and the mystery as to who Derec really is, he is suffering from amesia and has no idea who he is. But before they can solve those mysteries there is another one that takes precedence. Derec and Katherine are suspected of murder in Robot City. Only because they are the only other humans on the planet and Robots are incapable of harming humans, thanks to the deeply programmed 3 laws of robotics. It turns out that the murdered human is named David. In the first book in the series we learned that Katherine knew Derec previously and knew him as David. Katherine is still holding back secrets in this book. In fact it is found out that she is only calling herself Katherine, and that that is not HER real name. (curiouser and curiouser)

Another problem is that the city is itself a robotic entity and is in overdrive defense mode. This cause for defense mode is thought to be because of a perceived alien threat. The city is burning up the planet's resources at an alarming rate and the by-product is a speeded up version of global warming, bringing dangerous storms to the planet.

Katherine goes out to examine the body of the murdered David while Derec goes to explore the cause of the defense mode. When Katherine sees that the body of David is an exact "replica" of Derec/David she goes into hysterics and the robots must bring her to safety. In the meantime Derec discovers the cause of the "alien" attack and tries to explain to the central core that there is no attack but the robots need verification before it can stop the defense mode.

This book has more of a Sherlock Holmes mystery feel than does the first book which was a great space adventure. I will not give out the ending of this book, as I always try not to give away endings in any of my reviews. But when I finally get Book 3 I'm sure that review will contain a summary of this book's ending. The only problem is I'm having a hard time finding books 3 and 6 of this series. Both are written by William F. Wu and seem to be out of print. My local library system doesn't even have them.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:19 PM Comments: 0