I know I tend to hyperbolize when I come across a good book or music release, but Mickey Zucker Reichert’s I, Robot: To Protect flabbergasts me at how much I enjoyed it despite my every intention to dislike it.
Perhaps annoyingly a fan of Isaac Asimov and his works, you see, I tend towards the belief that his works and worlds are things that should be left well enough alone and enjoyed for the wonderful things they are…no sequels or prequels are needed or wanted.
Then I get the chance to read this new Reichert book, which is the first of a planned trilogy of novels not only set up in Asimov’s world of I, Robot but are novels meant to be official prequels to the work as they are authorized by the estate of Asimov himself, and so, even if only to “slam it,” i picked up the book and began reading.
That’s when I cursed Reichert’s name. Why? Because the story was wonderful and in no way was an attempt at recreating Asimov’s writing style or techniques, it totally got everything on point and magically made me think I was learning something new about his stories.
I, Robot: To Protect made me feel as if I were being given a chance to see Asimov’s character of Dr. Susan Calvin in a new way. For a moment I nearly said in a new light, I’ll admit, but that didn’t feel like the right way to get across what I’m trying to say here.
A new light would only show you things that were already there, only in the shadows and perhaps unrecognized. Reichart’s book, instead, reads like we are privy to a part of Calvin’s life that Asimov simply never had time to put down on the page. It reads and feels completely true to the character and gives her new shades of dimension that will now alter how I think of Asimov’s originals.
It made me fall in love with Susan Calvin and with Isaac Asimov’s writing all over again.
Seeing Dr. Calvin as a freshly graduated “resident” at a hospital gives you the chance to see how she thinks as she gets to know what being a doctor fully means as opposed to studying to become one. If you are a fan of Asimov you know how brilliant he portrayed her as being, but Reichert allows you to see that the diamond did not spring full formed but instead had to endure all the pressures of being unproven coal for a while.
It’s…well, it’s a lot clearer and entertaining than maybe my writing is making it out to be. This is, in the end, a wonderful book that i enjoyed tremendously. Reichert not only manages to be true to Asimov’s vision but manages to write one hell of a story that is enjoyable even if you had never heard of Isaac before.
She is one hell of a good writer, and I cannot wait for the other two volumes of this story to be published so I can read and reread them.