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Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

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NEWS | New I, Robot Universe Trilogy

This is a little late, but the news have been chafing me a bit.  In a surprising move Isaac Asimov's estate has authorized a trilogy of new I, Robot Universe books.  This is shocking because Asimov had plenty of time to add to that Universe if he so desired considering the last book in the series was written about a decade before he passed away and he was prolific till the end.  Suffice it to say if he wanted more he would have done so and to add to that world is just as bad as what Brian Herbert has done to Dune and makes Eoin Colfer's take on Hitchhiker's Guide easily palatable.  I haven't mentioned much about Sanderson taking over The Wheel of Time, because I have no problem with it.  Brandon is mostly following notes that were left behind and he is trying to stay as true as he can to the series, which I laude. 

Now Mickey Zucker Reichert has been tapped to pen the new I, Robot trilogy and if that name sounds unfamiliar that is because she is relatively unknown, especially in Sci-Fi.  Her best known work is the Norse themed Fantasy series Renshai.  The first in the new trilogy will be titled Robots and Chaos centering around Dr. Calvin, which will most likely be released sometime in 2011 with other volumes probably released a year apart.  It is no surprise they picked this title as Greg Bear's Foundation book was titled Foundation and Chaos, but again some originality would have been nice. Yes, there have been Foundation books authorized by other authors since Asimov's death, but at least those were written by the likes of Gregory Benford and David Brin, names you could trust to do his work justice to some degree, but even they failed somewhat.  However, to pull out a relatively unknown author sours me to no end.  Also, from what little has been released these will be fill-in the gap books instead of taking the narrative further.  According to one source:
The first novel, she said, would introduce Calvin as she begins her psychiatry residency at a big New York teaching hospital, "so we'll see the character's interest in 'robot psychiatry' develop from its beginnings", as well as a "witty and innovative" take on Asimov's Laws of Robotics.
Could I be wrong in that Reichert will do a bad job?  Possibly, but why can't people have respect for an author's memory?  I could see if a book was published in homage to what Asimov created as was done by the recent Songs of the Dying Earth for the world Jack Vance created, but that was done with his full blessing and as far as I know didn't impinge on what Vance has done.  By the way there was a Foundation themed anthology along the same lines as the Vance book titled Foundation's Friends about a decade back.  However, we might be in store for something worse than the abomination of a movie they slapped the name I, Robot onto a few years back.

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Anonymous said...

I grew up on the I, Robot books and I can't believe they would do such a thing. Still this isn't surprising as everyone is money grubbing nowadays and has no care for the legacy the author created. Those "authorized" Foundation books were crap though.

Anonymous said...

Come on. I've had enough of this crap. And Sanderson better not do those prequel books for TWoT. I still can't believe there is a new Stoker book out and from what I hear it is a stinker. Grumble...

Adam Whitehead said...

In fairness, Asimov was happy enough to let other authors play in his universe when he was alive, such as Roger Macbride Allen's so-so Inferno trilogy set on a Spacer world in the later Robots setting, and Reichert is actually a pretty good author (certainly a better writer than Benford, whose FOUNDATION novel was appalling). It's entirely possible he'd have been okay with this when he was alive.

However, I agree (as the author of the linked DUNE article) that if you're going to be tackling a key character from the series (and Calvin qualifies as that) and such a key event, it's really necessary to have the approval of the author himself to give it some legitimacy. Otherwise it's nothing more than glorified fanfiction.