I, Robot

Dramatic adaptations

Television

At least three of the short stories from I, Robot have been adapted for television. The first was a 1962 episode of Out of this World hosted by Boris Karloff called "Little Lost Robot" with Maxine Audley as Susan Calvin. Two short stories from the collection were made into episodes of Out of the Unknown: "The Prophet" (1967), based on "Reason"; and "Liar!" (1969).[3] The 12th episode of the USSR science fiction TV series This Fantastic World, filmed in 1987 and entitled Don't Joke with Robots, was based on works by Aleksandr Belyaev and Fredrik Kilander as well as Asimov's "Liar!" story.[4]

Both the original and revival series of The Outer Limits include episodes named "I, Robot"; however, both are adaptations of the Earl and Otto Binder story of that name and are unconnected with Asimov's work.

Films

Ellison screenplay

In the late 1970s, Warner Brothers acquired the option to make a film based on the book, but no screenplay was ever accepted. The most notable attempt was one by Harlan Ellison, who collaborated with Asimov himself to create a version which captured the spirit of the original. Asimov is quoted as saying that this screenplay would lead to "the first really adult, complex, worthwhile science fiction movie ever made."

Ellison's script builds a framework around Asimov's short stories that involves a reporter named Robert Bratenahl tracking down information about Susan Calvin's alleged former lover Stephen Byerly. Asimov's stories are presented as flashbacks that differ from the originals in their stronger emphasis on Calvin's character. Ellison placed Calvin into stories in which she did not originally appear and fleshed out her character's role in ones where she did. In constructing the script as a series of flashbacks that focused on character development rather than action, Ellison used the film Citizen Kane as a model.[5]

Although acclaimed by critics, the screenplay is generally considered to have been unfilmable based upon the technology and average film budgets of the time.[5] Asimov also believed that the film may have been scrapped because of a conflict between Ellison and the producers: when the producers suggested changes in the script, instead of being diplomatic as advised by Asimov, Ellison "reacted violently" and offended the producers.[6] The script was serialized in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine in late 1987, and eventually appeared in book form under the title I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay, in 1994 (reprinted 2004, ISBN 1-4165-0600-4).

2004 film

The film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, was released by Twentieth Century Fox on July 16, 2004 in the United States. Its plot incorporates elements of "Little Lost Robot,"[7] some of Asimov's character names and the Three Laws. However, the plot of the movie is mostly original work adapted from a screenplay Hardwired by Jeff Vintar completely unlinked to Asimov's stories[7]

Video game


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