Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

The common image of science fiction is rocket ships and atom bombs. How does Isaac Asimov’s fiction fit that image?

How do Asimov’s robots differ from the robots usually encountered in works of science fiction?

How could one improve upon Asimov’s three laws of robotics? Would they work? What if they applied to humans?

The Foundation stories have been compared to the fall of the Roman empire. What kind of resemblances are obvious? How does Asimov use them?

Is psychohistory possible? Is it desirable? What does it predict? How does Asimov prevent it from limiting human initiative?

In “Nightfall,” the Lagashians and even the scientists go mad. Is Asimov’s outcome believable? Would humans behave the same way? What comparable human reversal of experience would drive humans mad?

Asimov makes human space exploration and colonization desirable, even imperative, in The Robots of Dawn. Why is it important to Asimov? Should it be important to humanity?