In which a robot longs to be a Real Boy.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. This is, of course, an excellent story—the one which brought Asimov his first Hugo for short fiction and his third-favorite of all his stories. While I wouldn’t rate it quite so highly—I don’t even consider it his best robot story—it is still worthy of high praise indeed. Andrew Martin and the people he encounters over his two century life, the society in which he lives and whose evolution he sees and even influences, and his determined quest are well drawn and fascinating. And the ending has an emotional wallop comparable to “The Ugly Little Boy.”

In fact, I have only one gripe with this story—all the stuff about “the bicentennial man” itself. That was rather inevitable, given that it was written to be included in an anthology aimed at celebrating America’s bicentennial, but it’s a little too cutesy and tends to make me gag. That’s a minor flaw, but it stands out so glaringly for me that I rate the story not quite as highly as I otherwise might.

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