Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov is an anthology of short science fiction stories, some about robots, others not. Though not necessarily thematically connected, they are connected by their speculation of humanity’s future and even insights into our present. The book’s title is based on a story found in this collection about a robot that dreamt of a robot revolution. The popular movie I, Robot, starring Will Smith, centers around robot laws, a concept introduced by Asimov. The ideas explored in this anthology are the highlight of this book. I liken this collection to Black Mirror or even The Twilight Zone.
I wonder how much of Asimov’s stories are inspired by American’s history of racial discrimination and injustices. In at least one story, humans exhibit a superiority complex towards robots and the humans would call a robot “boy” as racist white Americans would call African Americans even if they were adults to belittle them. In the titular story, one robot was seemingly gaining consciousness and becoming aware that his kind was treated as disposable tools, though they were actually superior to humans. Fearful of his budding consciousness, his human overseer promptly terminated him.
I thought that Asimov had an interesting take on the origin of schizophrenia and the origin of jokes. My favorite story overall was Hostess, which I thought was cleverly constructed.
This anthology was an enjoyable read. Through the medium of science fiction, Asimov explores concepts that are universal in an engaging way.