Susan Calvin is disturbed by a robot’s dreaming—and by the dreams.

This late and short story returns to a theme which crops up now and again in Asimov’s stories, particularly the later ones. Here, however, it is handled better than is often the case. The idea revolves around the nature of the Laws of Robotics—what is a “human being"? Is it right to design an entire class of intelligent beings just to be slaves? And—here Asimov is resurrecting himself the old Frankenstein complex he sometimes boasts of having killed off—how can this be rectified?

This is a short tale indeed, and it could as easily have been without Susan Calvin as with her, although her decision to destroy the dreaming robot at the story’s end has a bit more poignancy given her nature. Still, her character is scarcely more than hinted.

Anyway, I would not rate this as among the best of Asimov’s robot or Susan Calvin stories. Its nomination for both a Hugo and Nebula one frankly sees as the reaction of people seeing a beloved writer churning out an above-average story rather than anything inherent than the story itself (unlike, say, “The Bicentennial Man”). Its solid and good—but not spectacular.

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