Saturday, August 09, 2008

"Isaac Asimov's Robot City Book 6: Perihelion" by William F. Wu. (published by Ace Books 1988)

Well sadly I've come to the end of the series of books that is "Robot City." It has been a great endeavor with some ups and downs in both reading of the series and the adventures of "David/Derec" and "Katherine/Ariel." Before I go too much further allow me to recap the idea behind these books.

Isaac Asimov's Robot City is a series of novels written by various authors and loosely connected to Isaac Asimov's Robot Series. It takes place between The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire. The novels were written in response to a writing challenge issued by Asimov to write a series involving the Three Laws of Robotics, which brought about a collaboration of several talented authors.

The books in this series are:
1. Odyssey by Michael P. Kube-McDowell (1987)
2. Suspicion by Mike McQuay (1987)
3. Cyborg by William F. Wu (1987)
4. Prodigy by Arthur Byron Cover (1988)
5. Refuge by Rob Chilson (1988)
6. Perihelion by William F. Wu (1988)

One thing this series introduces is the concept of aliens. In Asimov's universe there were no other intelligent lifeforms other than human and robot. In the later books by Asimov he explained that this could be because the robots were sent ahead of humanity to terraform planets and thus destroying alien life forms. So maybe some aliens could have "survived." In my humble opinion I think Asimov simply wanted to explore humanity through robots and their interaction with humans and just left out the aliens.

This book is the final book in the series and the second in the series by writer William F. Wu. In Perihelion, Derec and Ariel have returned to Robot City from Earth to find Dr. Avery (the creator of Robot City) and find out why he has "infected" Derec with Chemfets, molecule sized robots that are taking over Derec's Body.

Upon arrival the team of Derec, Ariel, Wolruff (the caninoid alien) and Mandlebrot (the hybrid robot created by Derec) find that Robot City has pretty much covered the entire planet and the robots are all finishing up tasks and instructed to reprogram to "migration programming." While trying to solve this puzzle of migration programming and find Dr. Avery the team must avoid Hunter robots that wish to capture them.

As they get closer to Avery, Derec's infection of Chemfets leaves him immobilized. The team is joined by Jeff Leong, the man who was turned into a cyborg in book 3. Jeff is back to help them off the planet thinking they were still stranded as when he last left them. As it turns out Jeff had met Dr. Avery when Dr. Avery sought Jeff's fathers assistance in creating Robot City.

The books climax is one that not only wraps up the entire series and solves all the mysteries, but also leaves space for the series to continue. In fact the last page of the book says, "Robot city continues in book #7." Sadly no book 7 was ever written. Actually that's not quite true...Asimov did the same with this series in another series called "Robots & Aliens." That series is said to continue where this one left off. Guess I'll be looking for that series next.

All in all the experiment was a success and I think all the authors captured the spirit of Asimov's robots. Maybe a standard should be set here.

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posted by Gil T. @ 2:07 PM Comments: 0