In which, er, a robot known as AL-76 goes astray. (From its factory, that is.) It ends up wandering the countryside, wondering why it doesn’t look much like the lunar surface on which it’s pre-programmed to work, and why none of the people are wearing space-suits. In its disorientation, it feels a driving need to build the equipment it uses in its work and succeeds beyond all expectations.
This is one of Asimov’s earlier attempts at humor, and although it’s much better than truly awful stories like “Christmas on Ganymede” or "Ring Around the Sun,” it isn’t quite up to later stories like “I'm in Marsport Without Hilda” or "What is This Thing Called Love?.” Or, for that matter, "Victory Unintentional,” which follows it in The Rest of the Robots and was actually published later in the same year.
The problem here is that Asimov is just clearly using his robots as a gag. His human characters a bit overly stereotypical, particularly the rustics who try to hunt poor AL-76 down. Still, I enjoyed the story enough when I was younger and it can still make me chuckle now, so it isn’t a total loss.
(It was left out of I, Robot as being too different in tone from the rest of the series.)
|The Rest of the Robots|
|The Complete Robot|