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Asimov Estate Authorizes New I, Robot Books

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the automatic-writing dept.

Books 426

daria42 writes "In a move guaranteed to annoy long-term science fiction fans, the estate of legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who passed away in 1992, has authorized a trilogy of sequels to his beloved I, Robot short story series, to be written by relatively unknown fantasy author Mickey Zucker Reichert. The move is already garnering opposition online. 'Isaac Asimov died forty years after they were first written. If he had wanted to follow them up, he would have. The author's intentions need to be respected here,' writes sci-fi/fantasy book site Keeping the Door."

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I heard that (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946090)

He used to beat his wife. Any evidence of that?

How about we pay the author not to write them? (4, Insightful)

cephalien (529516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946098)

Probably too late for that. Sigh :(

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946254)

If these are the same idiots who "authorized" that god-awful movie, then these books will be yet another waste of perfectly good trees.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (4, Insightful)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946348)

If these are the same idiots who "authorized" that god-awful movie

It's not really their fault. Here's how Hollywood works: when the film rights to a story are bought, the filmmakers almost always have the right to do whatever they want with it. This means they can totally rewrite the story, or even slap the title alone on a different, barely-related story. This is why Graham Greene (IIRC) once said that the best deal authors could get from Hollywood was when the film rights were bought but no movie was ever made. (This frequently happens: the rights to Stranger in a Strange Land, the Foundation Trilogy, and many other works have been bouncing around in Hollywood for many years.)

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946382)

God, I think I would cry if they ever made Stranger in a Strange Land into a terrible Hollywood movie.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (0, Offtopic)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946664)

Yeah it was bad enough as a book. If they made a movie of it you would be forced to see commercials for it.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (2, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946552)

It is at least partially the estate's fault. They can always ask for at least a measure of creative control as part of the deal. No Ender's Game movie has been made, because Card won't give the rights to just anyone. Of course, in the case of an author's death, the inheritors usually aren't as good at this stuff as the original creator (Brian Herbert, this means you), so even if they didn't only care about cashing out, they will probably end up making a turd, anyway.

The other major problem with Hollywood is that they often have a vaguely related script kicking around somewhere, which they modify by changing some character names and adding a few lines and scenes from the book. IIRC, this is what happened to I, Robot, and is definitely what happened to Starship Troopers.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (5, Insightful)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946498)

FWIW i choose to use my intelligence when considering an adaptive work of any sort, be it a movie based on a book or a book based on a book.

its like this: if i'm from Brooklyn and go to Pizza Hut i'd be a FOOL for expecting the pizza to taste the way it does at home, if i'm from Texas and go into Taco Bell expecting tex-mex i should be shot for stupidity, so why then would any reasonable person go see a movie adapted from a book and expect it to be faithful to their own imagination or even the original authors storyline? Taco Bell isnt bad food, as long as you take it for what it is neither is Pizza Hut. Personally i enjoyed both the Asimov stories as well as the iRobot movie, but i just know what to expect from each.

also, i dont see anyone roasting Timothy Zahn for his star wars novels. personally i think many of those are better than Return of the Jedi, and definitly better than Lucases last three 'epics' if thats anything to go on, i'm glad Asimov never wrote another robot book, it could haev been worse than Danielle Steele

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946636)

Please mod this up through the roof. Movies != books. Different artistic skills are required. See LOTR.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946290)

Ahh, come on. Half the people here would be happiest if they were out of copyright already, then you'd be up to your eyeballs in crappy sequels and the like.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (3, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946432)

You could not buy it. Then they'd spend money producing a book that nobody wants. And then they wouldn't make any more. It's called a "free market," you should look it up.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946638)

If it were a movie about the books it would be, "Nobody is buying our movie of $NOVEL so it must be pirates." Its odd that books don't normally get that but I guess it has to do with feasibility of the average person to get a book versus a movie online and watch/read it.

Re:How about we pay the author not to write them? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946580)

this is nothing more than a ploy to keeps the rights for the i robot franchise from the public domain.

Put your "ohh ohh" in my "ohh ohh." (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946102)

Put your "ohh ohh" in my "ohh ohh."

Re:Put your "ohh ohh" in my "ohh ohh." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946238)

Is this "oh oh" thing some sort of new troll-meme?

Heh (1)

0ld_d0g (923931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946108)

I think its the same thing as a "hall of famer" coming back to play and people thing hes going to ruin his legacy. Why don't we give this guy a chance?

Re:Heh (5, Funny)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946186)

No, that would be the same if Asimov rose from the dead and decided to write three more books.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946398)

This would be like they propped his corpse on a board and hired a rookie to pinch hit for him each inning.

Hit one out of the park slugger!

0th law of famous sci fi writers' estates (5, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946122)

The 0th law is thou shalt sell out and cash in big.

It overrides the other 3 laws ;-)

Re:0th law of famous sci fi writers' estates (1)

atheistmonk (1268392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946298)

I know you're joking, but the Zeroth Law was basically the First Law but on the scale of all humanity. So, the Zeroth law means this shouldn't be done, as it will harm humanity.

Re:0th law of famous sci fi writers' estates (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946392)

Like, killing Hitler breaks the first law, but follows the zeroth?

0th Law = Kill Hitler is OK (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946544)

Exactly.

But doesn't that mean that the three laws robot has to be intelligent enough to recognize the difference between a Emperor Norton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Norton [wikipedia.org] and an Emperor Palpatine

Re:0th law of famous sci fi writers' estates (1)

darthwader (130012) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946700)

Godwin's law has just trumped Asimov's laws.

Cry, Robot... (4, Insightful)

kclittle (625128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946126)

... this is just _wrong_!

Re:Cry, Robot... (4, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946182)

Why, because someone is making books with the same name? If it offends you, don't read them. If you always wanted more I, Robot then read them.

Nobody's going to be calling them canon.

Re:Cry, Robot... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946222)

Nobody's going to be calling them canon.

Somebody will. Most likely not a majority of people who care at all, but somebody who has no idea what they are talking about will.

Re:Cry, Robot... (2, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946632)

Sequels authorized by the copyright holder of the original are often considered "canonical", regardless of whether the person who authorized it was the original creator or their heir. The reader, of course, is free to accept or reject Scarlett or And Another Thing... or Return to the Hundred Acre Wood or Peter Pan in Scarlet or The Royal Book of Oz (etc) as they see fit, but the imprimatur of the copyright holder does carry some weight in making the determination.,

Re:Cry, Robot... (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946252)

I see it as a moral/aesthetic issue.This is desecration-for-hire, a cold-hearted scheme to make money off of Grandpa's legacy. But, to be honest, I've no idea what Dr. Asimov would have thought. Hell, maybe he'd approve. But, I don't...

Re:Cry, Robot... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946328)

He always seemed keen on any idea which would result in more Asimov books in circulation.

Re:Cry, Robot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946334)

Well you are no better than Jack Thompson and his crusade against violent video games. Both of you are against something that you can simply avoid if you don't like it.

Re:Cry, Robot... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946400)

Bit of a difference between condemnation and censorship.

Bullshit (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946428)

The travesty here isn't that someone is writing sequels to the original series. The travesty is that his heirs still have a monopoly on the series, 57 years later.

People writing sequels to books is the right for society to continue to enrichen our culture. Regardless of the quality of the works that will be produced, society grows by garnering inspiration and aid from past works. I'm sure Shakespeare has inspired and helped many a person in learning the trade of creating stories. The tragedy here is that companies like Disney reap all of the benefits of the public domain, while ensuring very little will ever be added back to it.

Before I get attacked by those who believe you have a right for all time to your ideas, this is a modern construct. Society managed to survive millenia without the damn thing. And as someone who seeks to earn their living in the software industry, I would quite happily place my work in the public domain voluntarily after a period of 25 years.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946564)

I am guessing if you are an independent developer you could just put something similar to this in the license 'as of 25 years after the original release of this version of this software I release this software into the public domain'

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

pentalive (449155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946680)

I would quite happily place my work in the public domain voluntarily after a period of 25 years.

But what if I place YOUR work in the public domain in 5 years?

ditto... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946260)

mod parent up.

No one has to read them, if they don't want to. It's a choice. If you have a problem with this, just ignore the books. One might as well complain about all the modern interpretations of Grimm fairy tales.

Re:Cry, Robot... (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946294)

I highly doubt these books will be anything like Asimov's work, and anyone who enjoyed the original short stories is not likely not enjoy these. I do not have faith in this author to do the series justice.

It has nothing to do with "canon." These books were about the implications of pure, simple logic on cognition. They weren't about people, or character development, or any such nonsense. Hell, I don't even give a crap what Asimov would have thought about it. It's about the content of the books; there were like big, intriguing logic puzzles. Will this guy be writing that? I doubt it.

Re:Cry, Robot... (2, Interesting)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946360)

Um, ya. I just want to add that my problem is people who start with crappy sequels, and miss out on the originals. So often when things like this happen, the original stories are much more meaningful than any derivatives.

Like the movie I, Robot. People who saw that and never read the short stories genuinely believed that film to be a meaningful derivation of the original. But it didn't even begin to do Asimov justice. Now those people won't read the book, because they saw the terrible movie. And they think that's all there is to it. They won't ever have the opportunity to enjoy Asimov's work. And that is a shame.

The problem isn't that it's an insult to some dead guy. Dead people don't care about insults. The problem is all the people who won't go back and read the original work, who might have before.

Sure, maybe a reinvention of the work will inspire more interest in the old stuff, but I doubt it. Most of the people who go back and read the old stuff would have stumbled across it anyway. I, Robot isn't an extremely unusual book.

Re:Cry, Robot... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946452)

Asimov's general philosophy seems to have been, "set up a logical rules and a mystery with no apparent resolution", then "alter the rules in some fashion to solve the mystery." If I had a nickel every time a robot in one of his stories had the 2nd law "strengthened" because it was too valuable, I'd have like more than 20 cents.

Re:Cry, Robot... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946530)

If I had a nickel every time a robot in one of his stories had the 2nd law "strengthened" because it was too valuable, I'd have like more than 20 cents.

Third law. Only one story, as far as I know -- Runaround. First story in which the laws appeared. It made perfect sense; the laws couldn't be as binary and strictly-ordered as their usual English statement, or the robot would stupidly destroy itself even when a very slight and inconsequential deviation from orders would avoid its destruction. So they added a weighting system, with the unexpected result that the robot followed an equipotential surface when orders conflicted with danger.

In another story (Little Lost Robot), the First Law was altered. But that was in the setup, not the resolution.

hope for the best (2)

wherrera (235520) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946132)

Especially, hope that they are not as spotty in quality as the post Frank Herbert Dune sequels.

Re:hope for the best (2, Insightful)

kclittle (625128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946196)

ummmm... Frank's own sequels to "Dune" were spotty. So, at least the other authors were following the pattern.
-k

Re:hope for the best (3, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946354)

The prequels, sequels, and now also immediate sequels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Brain Herbert are a hunderd time more spotty in quality and the prequels that Frank Herbert wrote. It is sure that Frank Herbert "Dune Messiah" was different than many people who had read "Dune" expected, but there are many who believe that the novels in the series actually got better and better. At least Frank Herbert was not repeating the old trick over and over again, as Kevin and Brain have been doing. I write "Kevin and Brain", because I am getting the impression that Kevin is actually doing most of the creative work.

So what... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946134)

If you dont like the books, dont f**king read them.
If they dont fit into your world of I, Robot books then dont include them.

Estate has authorized some of these before... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946156)

Wikipedia mentions some other work in the Asimoviverse [wikipedia.org] ; of course, Bear, Benford and Brin are all decently well-known scifi authors.

Re:Estate has authorized some of these before... (1)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946370)

While Reichert isn't well known in Sci-fi, she's written a number of fantasy series, which are (in my opinion) of uniformly high quality. So, it's not exactly like this is someone with no writing experience.

Elitism (4, Insightful)

Djupblue (780563) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946166)

What kind of elitist crap is that? I love Asimov's books, I have read most of them and they probably helped shape me in a way. I say that if someone wants to have a go at some sequels the go right a head. I don't think that they will be even comparable but I might enjoy them anyway. The worst thing that can happen is that they are not worth reading.

Re:Elitism (4, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946266)

The delicious irony is the wailing about "author's intent" and bemoaning someone other than the original author covering the same ground coming from a group that would gladly see copyright curtailed so that EVERYONE would be free to butcher an author's vision after a period of time.

Re:Elitism (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946550)

That is interesting. Slashdot hasn't exactly been a champion for artists' rights over the past couple of years, yet, when push comes to shove, there's some recognition of their existence.

Mind you, I'm not 100% convinced that there's a solid inconsistency their approach. It is possible to be consistently anti-plagiarism but pro-piracy at the same time. However, it would be a shame if you were down-modded into oblivion for your insights.

Re:Elitism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946646)

well if we are going to have to put up with crazy copyright might as well get something out of it, is what i believe most people are thinking.

Re:Elitism (4, Interesting)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946666)

The delicious irony is the wailing about "author's intent" and bemoaning someone other than the original author covering the same ground coming from a group that would gladly see copyright curtailed so that EVERYONE would be free to butcher an author's vision after a period of time.

The thing about not having copyright on the book is that there could be no 'official' sequels. Everything would be, more or less, fan fiction. Sure, some of that fan fiction could be marketed and sold, but it is not 'official' fan fiction.

Re:Elitism (2, Interesting)

cronot (530669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946476)

Yea, I think it's a bit elitist too. I mean, if they don't want a sequel, don't read it!

Case in point, a classic: The Time Machine, from H.G. Wells. A century later, a sequel was authorized and written by Stephen Baxter: The Time Ships. And I like it so much more than the first book, because it expands so much on the idea, concepts and caracter. Granted, there was a lot to expand from given the late 19th century science, and Stephen Baxter is also an excellent SF writer... So the question really is if Mr. Reichert is up to the task, since he's pretty much unkown. But so was Baxter, back when he wrote the The Time Ships. I guess we'll just have to wait and hope that Mr. Reichert does a good job.

Re:Elitism (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946590)

Why couldn't slamming things down as "elitism" have died with the McCain campaign?

Oh, whatever (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946170)

The author's intentions need to be respected here.

The author no longer exists, and therefore cannot possibly have intentions.

That said, this kind of posthumous sequel is almost always a disaster, but that's only a problem for the people who read them. If the idea bugs you at all, rest assured that you are bothered infinitely more than the original author is.

Re:Oh, whatever (2, Insightful)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946346)

The grandparent's point is that the author had intentions while he was still alive and those should be respected. Asimov was an amazingly prolific writer, and he didn't so much as jot down some notes about a sequel (like he did for the Caliban series) in 40 years between the release of I, Robot and his death. For an author as prolific as Asimov, this clearly indicates a purposeful intent not to have a sequel to the book, and that should be respected even after his death.

I think "The Complete Robot" which includes all the stories from I, Robot and others along with commentary is a great example of this.

Re:Oh, whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946460)

"he didn't so much as jot down some notes about a sequel (like he did for the Caliban series) in 40 years between the release of I, Robot and his death. For an author as prolific as Asimov, this clearly indicates a purposeful intent not to have a sequel to the book, and that should be respected even after his death."

So not writing a sequel = would be upset over a sequel being created? That's quite a logical leap there.

Re:Oh, whatever (1)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946558)

maybe he was just out of ideas for robots, ever think of that one? i mean hell even Da Vinci didnt think of _everything_ sure Asimov had intentions, but had he intended that nobody use his works for anything he would have stated that in his will, respected or otherwise his posthumous were never clearly stated. for anyone to surmise those intentions based on hop-scotch logic seems to me like bending your own thoughts to fit the facts. reminds me of Colbert Logic (tm)

Re:Oh, whatever (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946594)

Except he had plenty of ideas for robots, and he chose to express them as stand-alone stories, novels and serieses separate from the I, Robot set. Take the Caliban series for example - it could easily have been tied into I, Robot, but he very clearly chose not to do so.

He's dead, Jim (0, Flamebait)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946408)

Once upon a time, before the Mickey-Mouse/Sonny-Bono nigh-perpetual copyright laws were passed, 56 years after a book was published anyone was permitted to write sequels to it. If not for that legislative retconning, I, Robot would be in the public domain (in the US) now, making it part of our cultural heritage and free for anyone to attempt a sequel, just like anyone can write a sequel to Hamlet or The Wizard of Oz or The Odyssey or Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick. Maybe these new books will suck. Maybe they won't. But the creator of the original work is no longer, and no one is going to force anyone to read these. So what's the problem?

Sigh (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946232)

Asimov's robot stories were pretty groundbreaking when they were written, but are now thoroughly dated. The dude didn't know jack about AI. He's hardly to blame, since the discipline was in its infancy. But why do we need more stories full of hand-waving about "positronic brains" and "laws" that are so vague as to be meaningless?

I just tried to read the recent additions to Larry Niven's Known Space canon, and I wish I hadn't. Niven and his collaborator (a guy named Lerner, who I suspect did most of the actual writing) try to deal with some of the logic holes in the original stories, but mainly manage to create new ones.

Meanwhile Fred Astaire is dancing with a vacuum cleaner [vidbunker.com] .

Hey, I know money makes the world go round. But can we at least spin it with a little dignity?

Re:Sigh (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946332)

No-one knows jack about AI.. most can't even define it.

And if you thought his books were about AI, you completely missed the point.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946374)

No-one knows jack about AI.. most can't even define it.

And if you thought his books were about AI, you completely missed the point.

How come the above comment is scored 2 while the parent is scored 3 - insightful? Don't tell me modern geeks are ignorant about Asimov!!

Re:Sigh (2, Insightful)

mcd7756 (628070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946622)

My AI course teacher said that AI was whatever we hadn't figured out to do with computers yet.

Re:Sigh (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946384)

Asimov's robot stories were pretty groundbreaking when they were written, but are now thoroughly dated. The dude didn't know jack about AI. He's hardly to blame, since the discipline was in its infancy.

Uh ... it's not like we have androids running around today working in a similar fashion, but with behavior different from what Asimov described. I'm not sure why you think anything we know about AI applies at all.

From what we know today, the most likely outcome is that any 'robot' we develop that even vaguely resembles R. Daneel will have 'learned' how to become sentient, as opposed to being programmed. In that case, 'laws' aren't so abstract and they could very likely work, at least in a layman's sense, like Asimov described. Modern AI would have little to do with it, this would be an entirely different architecture that probably wouldn't even be programmed in a literal sense. Actually, in all likelihood, we'd have the same sorts of problems making them safe and reliable to use that Asimov wrote about. In any event, we're not even close to living in a time where Asimov's robot characters wouldn't be considered science fiction.

We'll find out at some point in the future. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and in 20 years I'll have a robot butler using an x86 processor.

Re:Sigh (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946456)

We'll find out at some point in the future. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and in 20 years I'll have a robot butler using an x86 processor.

Doubtful, given that the human brain's cognitive functions pretty much require parallel processing.

Re:Sigh (1)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946574)

Hey, I know money makes the world go round. But can we at least spin it with a little dignity?

No... or at least there has never been a point in human history where that has been the case.

It doesn't matter. Compare Sherlock Holmes. (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946242)

At this point, I'll bet that there have been more Sherlock Holmes stories written by "Holmesians" than were ever written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. And hardly anyone outside of a tiny circle of fandom knows any of them, and none of them have tarnished the reputation of the originals.

I suspect there are many people reading this who haven't even heard of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a 1974 ersatz "Sherlock Holmes" novel. It was a bestseller at the time, was adapted into a movie--and, I'm pretty sure, is well on the way to being forgotten.

Not big enough, ma! (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946250)

It seems that somebody's children feel their private personalized yachts aren't big enough.

Renshai author (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946268)

Mickey Zucker Reichert may seem a relative unknown but his Renshai novels were excellent and get my full read recommendation. This seems to be a good fit. Can it be worse than the big screen adaption (read bastardization) of I, robot ? That was so bad I actually cannot recall more than a few bits from the Will "Fresh Putz" Smith movie. My subconcious seems to have stepped in and protected my concious mind from suffering any further damage by hiding the trauma.

Re:Renshai author (1)

mcd7756 (628070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946450)

For the record, Ms. Reichert is a she. Also for the record, the "I, Robot" movie was as bad as you mention. You are fortunate. The only people who remember the movie completely are locked in institutions.

If it worked for Jordan's family (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946284)

If it worked for Jordan's family, why not Asimov's?

The only difference is the books being released under Jordan's names were done using his notes, and by his wishes. These were books he would have wrote himself.

Re:If it worked for Jordan's family (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946344)

Per your sig

Steven is wrong about that. He is more than a *good* cook. I have eaten his Chicken Paprikash to say it was unbelievable would be an insult.

Re:If it worked for Jordan's family (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946598)

Well, now I know where to go for a believable meal!

Public Domain (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946292)

'Isaac Asimoc died forty years after they were first written. If he had wanted to follow them up, he would have. The author's intentions need to be respected here,'

The original book should have entered the public domain 14 years after it was published as our original copyright laws demanded. Anyone should be allowed to create any derivative work they want. The only problem with the current situation is that someone is getting an exclusive grant to create derivative works.

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946378)

This is consistent with the majority position here when discussing other works of art. How about other sci-fi writers (and Hollywood, Marvel Comics, etc) freely authoring I, Robot follow-ups as early as the mid-sixties, while Asimov was still in the prime of his career. There probably would have been many takers. Would that have been A Good Thing (tm)?

Re:Public Domain (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946502)

The original US copyright law allowed for a 14-year renewal, so it didn't "demand" that they enter the public domain after 14 years. Personally, I think that's too short a time, but that's certainly debatable. The current situation, where copyrights outlive their creators by decades, serving only to provide income to their descendants or to corporations, clearly does not "promote the progress of science and useful arts" as copyright is supposed to do.

Guess his relatives didn't want to get jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946296)

I can't wait to learn about the negative oneth law.

Why not (1)

S1ngularity (1635987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946304)

As a copy-left type, once you unleash those characters/themes on the world it's fair game. But it certainly won't be real Asimov, just think of it as expensive over-hyped fan fic.

Copyright protection problems. (1)

arthurh3535 (447288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946306)

This wouldn't be a problem if copyrights expired in a relatively 'short' time. 7 or 14 years might be too short, but life plus 50 years is far too long.

Yeah, some sequels might be utter crap, but we wouldn't be shocked that someone *else* might want to write or create a story in someone else's universe.

Of all the people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946342)

Seriously, Reichert? Of all the people to continue Asimov's stuff, I would think he is one the LEAST suited. Reichert's prior work that I've happened to encounter in brief:

- A generic fantasy series with a dude who likes to climb things and a bunch of fights/spellcasting, which is pretty braindead until the characters journey to modern day Earth at which point the novels somehow become a thousand time more dumb
- A generic fantasy series about some swordfighting people.
- A silly animal possession story (co-authored)

Nothing I have ever read of his leads me to believe that he can do justice to Asimov's work; his work is so far away from Asimov's that you couldn't get any farther without exiting the fantasy/sci-fi subgenre altogether. His work is so totally different than Asimov's so as to defy comparison...

Really, I rather hope that this is someone else who happens to have the exact same unusual name... that way there's a chance this could end in something other than a disasterously bad book.

It's like those "Isaac Asimov's Robot City..."* pieces of **** books all over again... but probably even worse, with Reichert writing it.

Re:Of all the people... (1)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946402)

Did you encounter it in brief, or is this your opinion of books that you've actually read, as opposed to cover-scanned? I'm genuinely confused as to your meaning, here.

Re:Of all the people... (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946426)

Do you have an extremely hilarious blog I could read?

Re:Of all the people... (2, Interesting)

mcd7756 (628070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946592)

It's always been fascinating to me that most fiction is repeating the same stories (see Joseph Campbell), but that certain writers can make the tale shine in a new way. It's what she can do with these "generic fantasy" stories that makes her either a good or bad author. Whether she can take the "I, Robot" series and make them memorable and entertaining remains to be seen.

Besides, IMHO, the "I, Robot" stories were to some extent just detective stories, with robots and some interesting speculation about robot "morality", with Asimov exploring how that morality could be circumvented. It is up to the discerning to recognize that he was really talking about human morality...as well as making a living as an author. ;)

What Asimov thought (2, Interesting)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946350)

was that if he could do anything to help new writers along, he looked at it as fair payback for his own good fortune. He believed in the ideas. This doesn't mean he wouldn't protect his own turf copyright wise, but don't forget the Robot City books which had this exact purpose. He was a good and generous person and so quickly judging this as a money grab isn't fair to his memory.

Nothing wrong with it (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946364)

One big thing that people should understand is that there is no single canon. Any of us can build our own notion of canon for whatever series we like (e.g. My DrWho canon ends with the last TV series of the 7th doctor and excludes all the novels).

The existing of fanfiction shouldn't bother us at all, nor should we care about the publisher or the family's wishes, because in the end we control the gates - stories in culture are like that. Can I take the first 12 books in the Wizard of Oz series, say that the rest never happened, and branch off from there in telling new stories to someone? Sure. Someone else might branch off in another way.

Re:Nothing wrong with it (1)

GrpA (691294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946570)

Actually, there is a canon and the estate would control that, but otherwise I agree entirely - It's a fanfic in nature and there's nothing wrong with that.

Readers can decide what they like and what they don't.

GrpA

Re:Nothing wrong with it (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946658)

Why should I consider their canon as more authoritative than mine?

Re:Nothing wrong with it (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946674)

You're missing the point. As long as the estate still controls copyright, there's still a single canon. You can end it wherever you like, but you can't branch it.

I think Sherlock Holmes is a good example of a public domain character. There aren't any branches that I know of, but there are a lot of books that use it in a way or another. My favourite one is a Brasilian book that does not resemble a holmesian story at all (nor tries to), but uses the character to make a delightful satire of detective stories.

Don't like them = Don't read them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946368)

If you don't like them, don't read them, and consider them non-canon.

If you might like it, go to a bookstore (perhaps online) and decide if you want to buy.

End of discussion. Next.

Fuck it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946372)

We already have that horrible I, Robot movie with that idiot Will Smith. Who cares?

This Was Already Done Back in 1994 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946386)

I have no idea why this is such a big deal now - this was already done. Whole book series called "Isaac Asimov's Robots in Time [amazon.com] ". The series was quite clearly based on (and trying to expand) the stories with Asimov's robots. Positronic brains, three laws, and all.

And another thing... (1)

sharkbiter (266775) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946414)

'Nuff said. (Don't go Dirk Gently into that night)...

Is this really anything new? Its not surprising. (1)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946422)

Disappointing but hardly surprising.

Every dead major author has had their works in progress, outlines, and basic premises whored out to hacks to make the buck for the estate.

Name a genre and it has been done, is being done, and will be done again. As long as they will be paid money to put the name on a "new" work in some way remotely tied to the author.

Some handle it with more class and style but it is still pretty sad. Look out for the NEW Douglas Adams novel in stores soon. And how did you like the NEW A. A. Milne novel?

Re:Is this really anything new? Its not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946496)

It was done in 1994; with Asimov's stuff; actually, with the Robots material in particular [wikipedia.org] .

I have no idea why it's making headlines now - this was done more than 10 years ago; this is merely the most recent occurrence.

New Title (1)

Crash McBang (551190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946424)

I, Robot: The Ca$hening

Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946462)

Sucks most of the time.

Would be a disappointment to the Asimov legacy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29946514)

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.... no one would have the
depth of Asimovs insight into human behaviour which is really the hallmark of his writing.

I still consider the foundation series offering the greatest insight into the human psyche.
barbarism -> religion -> science -> trade -> consolidation -> rebellion -> barbarism -> religion

the only thing really troubling about this... (1)

Ethanol (176321) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946538)

...is that only the one person is allowed to write sequels. The first story set in that world was written in 1940; under the copyright terms in effect at the time, it should've been in the public domain in 1996. There should be lots and lots of derivative works out there competing in the marketplace, instead of only one "authorized" one making the Asimov estate a pile of money that none of them actually earned.

but it begs for sequels! (2, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946568)

I, Robot
You, Robot
Him, Robot
They, Robot.

In other languages there's even more conjugations possible!

40 years without a sequel? (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946634)

I loved Asimov for the reason I love Lucas. He can tell a great story. It's not particularly great writing, not very deep stuff (although there are quite a few good reflections on human nature), but it's an entire universe in a book (or five).

If you're enough of an Asimov aficionado to get excited about this, I sure hope you're still angry at him for adding to the Foundation "Trilogy", what with the prequel and sequels written long after the Trilogy wrapped up. Hopefully you're angry with him for writing Foundation and Earth, the last I, Robot novel (not a Foundation book, some assert). Foundation's Edge certainly didn't follow the same writing style or story telling style of the first three (as written, not chronologically).

If you love the stories, I bet you'll love the next few. If you're some pure Asimov fan, you have quite a few inconsistencies built-in already, so maybe you'll love these too.

I've read some things of M.Z. Reichert... (1)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29946656)

... namely the "Renshai" stuff which is pretty low-level, unsophisticated fantasy for nerdy teenagers. His time is at least as well spent on this as on anything else. I'm surprised the estate would authorize such a person, aren't there any better choices around? But that said, I think this bashing of sequels is disproportional - they really can't take any value away from the originals unless you let them and though often fairly crappy they are usually less so than very many other worthless works out there. And besides, if you really, honestly, think you're not going to enjoy them then why the hell pick up the books or go to the movies in the first place?
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