Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sci-Fi, I Robot: To Protect by Mickey Zucker Reichert

Series: first in authorized spin-off series to I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Publisher: ROC
Date: November 1, 2011
Format: hardback
Acquired: from publisher (it appeared on my doorstep one day)
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 385
Reading time: six days

From GoodReads: 2035: Susan Calvin is beginning her residency at a Manhattan teaching hospital, where a select group of patients is receiving the latest in diagnostic advancements: tiny nanobots, injected into the spinal fluid, that can unlock and map the human mind. Soon, Susan begins to notice an ominous chain of events surrounding the patients. When she tries to alert her superiors, she is ignored by those who want to keep the project far from any scrutiny for the sake of their own agenda. But what no one knows is that the very technology to which they have given life is now under the control of those who seek to spread only death...

My review: I should start by saying that I've never read I, Robot or any other science fiction book by Isaac Asimov. That said, I faced no confusion with reading a spin-off series which can apparently stand alone even if readers have no experience with Asimov's books.

To Protect sets up an interesting character in an interesting plot. The first half of the novel is concerned primarily with the beginning of Dr. Calvin's psychiatry residency, and the psychological details included in the plot are fascinating. I was a bit befuddled as to what so much psychiatry was going to contribute to the sci-fi aspects of the book, but I eventually figured out how it was introducing Calvin's personality and work, essential components of the development of her involvement with and understanding of the nanorobots. Reichert forms her story well, complete with emotional upheavals, dramatic events, romance, and some unexpected twists. I found Reichert's writing, at times, to be a bit melodramatic, but overall I enjoyed To Protect and am looking forward to seeing what will develop in the next books of the trilogy. I think I'll pick up a copy of I, Robot, too, while I'm at it.

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