I have never been a fan of science fiction. Or so I thought. For years I associated the genre with dorks in high school. The ones who were socially awkward with head gear. I know that isn’t nice of me at all. However, this book is on the list so I thought I might as well get it over with. How bad could it be? 9 short stories and then I could move on.
What surprised me was that the short stories fit right into my political science classes from college. The classic us vs. them. In the stories, people invented robots for their own use. However, when the relationship became complicated, people wanted to cast the robots aside. In this work, some are sent to space to do the jobs that no humans could or would do. Most of the people won’t allow themselves to believe that the robots could have feelings. Oh no, that was not possible. I mean how could “others” be the same as people? If both felt the same, how would people know the difference between the two groups? Throughout history, this process of othering has enslaved so many individuals and groups.
Even in the “future” Isaac Asimov did not believe we could escape the othering process. What a sad statement. But considering this work was published in the 1950s and sixty years later many humans still do not coexist peacefully with the “other” group I don’t think he was that far off. Don’t believe me. Read a newspaper about all the conflicts, even in your own town.