Thread: Isaac Asimov?
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Old May 30 2011, 01:58 AM   #68
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

JRoss wrote: View Post
I meant that I dislike when non-Asimov stories by other authors and totally unrelated to his work act as if the Three Laws are some universal constant.

For instance, in any of the myriad SF media that I've seen this issue (so many that I've really forgotten the specific examples), a robot is obviously on the rampage. One character exclaims that this is impossible, as it violates the Three Laws.
I think of that as an homage. It's not that they're assuming all robots must be programmed with the Three Laws; it's that they're acknowledging the influence of Asimov's concept by incorporating it into their own work. Same way TNG borrowed the "positronic brain" concept for Data (who, by the way, was not Three Laws compliant).

Same principle holds up for whenever people quote Arthur C. Clarke, but only ever mention that "Science, sufficiently advanced..." you get the picture.
What's the problem there? It's pretty much a self-contained statement, not something being quoted out of context. It's known as Clarke's Third Law, but the other two are pretty obscure, and the three are only very vaguely related (I rather like the first, but the second is kind of nonsensical):

1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.'s_three_laws
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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