Adam Robots: a riveting anthology of sci-fi short stories

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Adam Roberts’ book entitled Adam Robots (I know, it’s a twister) is an amazing compilation of short stories that is bound to interest and captivate the reader. This book is full of short anecdotes and analogies to represent the different kinds of issues and contentions there are in our world today. I was indeed impressed by the creativity and the concept of these stories that we can recognize so readily in our everyday lives.

The first story, “Adam Robots” kicks off with an uncanny resemblance to the book of Genesis in the bible which is about the creation of mankind in the garden of Eden. Similarly, the story of “Adam Robots” tells of a robot learning from a human being about the things that it can, and can’t do, one of which is to not touch the jewel on a pole, in the middle of the garden. This leads to a small discussion with Adam and its human “creator” on the reasons why it was given a choice over the matter rather than simply being programmed not to touch it. This story portrays the controversial nature of the bible and the reasons why God created man with free will if He wanted to be obeyed. And this book has indeed made me question my life a lot because of ideas like these.

“Shall I tell you the problem of time travel” is also another thought provoking story. An inventor builds a machine that allows humans to travel back in time — but only as far back 17 seconds ago. The interesting narrative takes place in a science facility where a passionate scientist, Bradley, is being accused of wasting resources need to produce the time machine. What interests me about this story is the interesting arguments that Bradley has regarding time travel; the conceptual utility of time travel; and what it actually brings for all of mankind.

Another story that deeply impacted me was the story called “Throwness” in which a man gets transported into a different universe every few days, and the people he encounters are unable to recognize him or are even aware of his existence prior to their meeting. This story speaks out on the importance of human communication and interaction, and through the short story we  are indeed able to see how the lack of deep connections and friendships has taken a big toll on the protagonist who has eventually taken to committing random crimes because he feels that there is no possible law that can stop him, and there is nothing that could truly be taken from him in each universe even if he were caught.  This bring us to our current context: When we have been stripped of all our higher needs that make us who we are, how would we react to the world and the people around us? This is one thought provoking novel that would undoubtedly leave readers questioning the basis of their existence.

Overall this book is an excellent read. It’s a combination of mindblowing concepts handed out in bite-sized sci-fi narratives and is definitely perfect for people who have too short an attention span to finish an entire novel-sized fantasy at once.

Rating 8/10

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