Following up on the Insanely Complete Robot/Foundation Fiction List, and at the request of my email correspondent Jim Syler, I now present the components of Asimov's future history re-arranged in order of original publication. In the case of short stories, I'm including the name of the book or magazine where they were first published. In the case of works with multiple titles, I'll be listing the original publication title first, followed by subsequent retitlings.
"Strange Playfellow/Robbie": September 1940, Super Science Stories
"Reason": April 1941, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Liar!": May 1941, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Robot AL-76 Goes Astray": February 1942, Amazing Stories
"Runaround": March 1942, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Foundation/The Encyclopedists": May 1942, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Bridle and Saddle/The Mayors": June 1942, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Catch That Rabbit": February 1944, Astounding Science-Fiction
"The Big and the Little/The Merchant Princes": August 1944, Astounding Science-Fiction
"The Wedge/The Traders": October 1944, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Blind Alley": March 1945, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Dead Hand/The General": April 1945, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Paradoxical Escape/Escape": August 1945, Astounding Science-Fiction
"The Mule": November/December 1945, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Evidence": September 1946, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Little Lost Robot": March 1947, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Now You See It--/Search By the Mule": January 1948, Astounding Science-Fiction
"Mother Earth": May 1949, Astounding Science-Fiction
"--And Now You Don't/Search By the Foundation": November/December 1949/January 1950, Astounding Science-Fiction
Pebble in the Sky: January 1950
"The Evitable Conflict": June 1950, Astounding Science-Fiction
I, Robot: December 1950
"Satisfaction Guaranteed": January 1951, Super Science Stories
Tyrann/The Stars, Like Dust: January/February/March 1951, Galaxy Magazine
"The Psychohistorians": September 1951, Foundation
The Currents of Space: October/November/December 1952, Astounding Science Fiction
The Caves of Steel: October/November/December 1953, Galaxy Magazine
"Risk": May 1955, Astounding Science Fiction
"First Law": October 1956, Fantastic Universe
The Naked Sun: October/November/December 1956, Astounding Science Fiction
"Insert Knob A in Hole B": December 1957, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"Galley Slave": December 1957, Galaxy Science Fiction
"Lenny": January 1958, Infinity Science Fiction
"Feminine Intuition": October 1969, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"Mirror Image": May 1972, Analog Science Fiction and Fact
"Light Verse": September-October 1973, The Saturday Evening Post
"...That Thou Art Mindful of Him": May 1974, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"A Boy's Best Friend": March 1975, Boy's Life
"The Bicentennial Man": February 1976, Stellar-2
Foundation's Edge: June 1982
The Robots of Dawn: October 1983
Robots and Empire: September 1985
Foundation and Earth: October 1986
"Robot Dreams": November 1986, Robot Dreams
Robot City: Odyssey by Michael P. Kube-McDowell: July 1987
Robot City: Suspicion by Mike McQuay: September 1987
Robot City: Cyborg by William F. Wu: November 1987
Robot City: Prodigy by Arthur Byron Cover: January 1988
Robot City: Refuge by Rob Chilson: March 1988
Robot City: Perihelion by William F. Wu: June 1988
Prelude to Foundation: November 1988
"Christmas Without Rodney": December 1988, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
Robots and Aliens: Changeling by Stephen Leigh: August 1989
"Strip Runner" by Pamela Sargent: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"Trantor Falls" by Harry Turtledove: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"Balance" by Mike Resnick: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"PAPPI" by Sheila Finch: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"Plato's Cave" by Poul Anderson: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"Foundation's Conscience" by George Zebrowski: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"Carhunters of the Concrete Prairie" by Robert Sheckley: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"Blot" by Hal Clement: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"The Fourth Law of Robotics" by Harry Harrison: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
"The Originist" by Orson Scott Card: September 1989, Foundation's Friends
Robots and Aliens: Renegade by Cordell Scotten: November 1989
"Too Bad!": November 1989, The Microverse
"Cal": 1990, Cal
Robots and Aliens: Intruder by Robert Thurston: February 1990
Robots and Aliens: Alliance by Jerry Oltion: May 1990
Robots and Aliens: Maverick by Bruce Bethke: August 1990
Robots and Aliens: Humanity by Jerry Oltion: November 1990
"Kid Brother": Mid-December 1990, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
"Forward the Foundation/Eto Demerzel": November 1991, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
"Cleon the Emperor/Cleon I": April 1992, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
Caliban by Roger MacBride Allen: March 1993
"The Consort/Dors Venabili": April 1993, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
"Wanda Seldon": April 1993, Forward the Foundation
"Epilogue": April 1993, Forward the Foundation
Robots in Time: Predator by William F. Wu: April 1993
Robots in Time: Marauder by William F. Wu: July 1993
The Positronic Man by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg: September 1993
Robots in Time: Warrior by William F. Wu: October 1993
Robots in Time: Dictator by William F. Wu: February 1994
Robots in Time: Emperor by William F. Wu: June 1994
Robots in Time: Invader by William F. Wu: September 1994
Inferno by Roger MacBride Allen: October 1994
Utopia by Roger MacBride Allen: November 1996
Foundation's Fear by Gregory Benford: February 1997
Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear: February 1998
Foundation's Triumph by David Brin: May 1999
Mirage by Mark W. Tiedemann: April 2000
Chimera by Mark W. Tiedemann: April 2001
Aurora by Mark W. Tiedemann: April 2002
Have Robot, Will Travel by Alexander C. Irvine: May 2005
I, Robot: To Protect by Mickey Zucker Reichert: November 2011
I, Robot: To Obey by Mickey Zucker Reichert: September 2013
Sweet! Thanks. Now for the last step: for me to construct a reading list and order for someone new to this universe.
Where's "The Evitable Conflict"?
Whoops! I knew I'd miss at least one.
List has been rectified.
So as I've long threatened, I've compiled a "reading order" for readers new to the Robot/Foundation saga. It's generally ordered in publication order to avoid spoilers and to have a generally smooth progression of tone, but avoids the jumping around that a pure publication order requires. I've only included actual Asimov in the list; I figure if you want to read works by secondary authors, you can include them in your second go-round and reread the entire series in chronological order using the wonderful Insanely Complete list.
At some point I'll post it on my blog, but I was hoping for feedback before I do.
Here it is.
Hello Calion & Johnny!
Let's say that I am a little bit confused and a lot admired for the job you two made in giving the Asmivo's bibliography a good chronology.
Yet my question is (and I hadn't been able to find an answer in your post but I am almost sure it's my fault): if I want to read the whole, huge, history of mankind according to Asimov, what is the right book list I have to follow? The one Calion put on his Evernote? The one Johnny put on his blog?
I feel quite dumb asking this but I really badly want to read Asimov again in the most correct chronological order possible.
I hope I made myself clear... ;-)
If you have already read most of these books and want to read the whole saga as it plays out in chronological order, use Johnny's list. Mine is for those who have not read the series before and don't want spoilers.
Sweet!!! Thanks Calion!
Yep, I think I've read nearly all the books of the "good doctor".
Oh, and thanks also for the quick answer!
It seems like it's entirely feasible to read just the robot stories in chronological sequence (excepting the Reichert novels, which are more like a reboot). My suggested reading order would be:
Asimov short stories (I count 22) by Johnny's chronology:
- "A Boy's Best Friend" through "Kid Brother"
** I suppose you could read or skip the robot short stories in FOUNDATION'S FRIENDS, which may or may not be considered strictly canonical, according to your own inclination (I haven't read them yet, myself).
The ROBOTS IN TIME series by William F. Wu
"Light Verse" by Asimov
"Christmas Without Rodney" by Asimov
"That Thou Art Mindful of Him" by Asimov
THE POSITRONIC MAN by Asimov & Silverberg
The R. Daneel Olivaw/Lije Baley novels by Asimov:
THE CAVES OF STEEL
THE NAKED SUN
"Mirror Image" (ss) by Asimov
THE ROBOTS OF DAWN by Asimov
The ROBOT CITY series
The ROBOTS & ALIENS series
The Mark Tiedemann robot trilogy:
MIRAGE / CHIMERA / AURORA
HAVE ROBOT, WILL TRAVEL by Alexander Irvine
ROBOTS AND EMPIRE by Asimov
The CALIBAN trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen:
CALIBAN / INFERNO / UTOPIA
Events within the stories seem pretty straightforward up to that point.
Well, that's one of the best surprise of this 2018 so far! I didn't expect a comment from you, after 4 years (almost perfectly centered!)
I've lost the focus on this topic, I admit, in these years. Yet, your comment is the perfect excuse to dust off and try to manage them from start!
So thanks again! :-D Such a wonderful surprise!
You're welcome and I hope it's helpful. I remember at the time the first "franchised" series not by Asimov (ROBOT CITY, for which Asimov provided introductions) was commissioned by editor Byron Preiss, some fans really seemed to be looking down upon those as unworthy. The concept of other writers continuing on Asimov's (and other famous SF authors') works was deemed mere "sharecropping"... which was to say they were held in no higher regard than a Star Trek or Star Wars novel. I personally couldn't see anything wrong with it, because people wanted more positronic robot stories, and Asimov was only interested in writing one himself if he was struck by some particularly inspirational idea (like a postulated 4th Law, which indicated that robots were now intelligent enough to think in metaphysical/philosophical terms).
Probably the biggest issue was that the younger writers were introducing story elements and tropes that Asimov himself never touched in his Robot/Foundation stories, like aliens and time travel. That made the stories seem less canonical to some,Less "Asimov-like", but I enjoyed them all anyway. After all, the original short stories concept of a little thought-puzzle in which some mysterious actions seen in a robot's behavior had to be logically deduced from some sort of gray areas or unrecognized conflict potential that existed within the framework of the 3 Laws, while very entertaining, becomes strained after a couple of dozen stories have come and gone, so it has to be expanded to be able to tell stories in that universe that are more than just that.
Have fun reading. If I can ever catch up on a few more things, I'd like to do the same, so I'd been thinking about it for a while. There hasn't been a lot new on the horizon for the "expanded Asimoverse" recently, but the timeline is still so expansive that there are always gaps that could be filled by the works of future writers. I hope (unlike Reichert's books) that they will avoid the timeframes directly contiguous to the stories Asimov himself wrote, because the newer works necessarily need to be updated, which in effect results in contradicting what IA himself wrote.
I hope it's not a spoiler to say that one of the things I liked best about the later novels (ROBOTS AND EMPIRE and MacBride-Allen's CALIBAN trilogy) is that they begin to establish a progression of thought that cements a bridge between the Fourth Law of Robotics as a necessary antecedent for Psychohistory.
Let me just add one final thought regarding the chronologically-later novels and stories. I admit I'm not an expert in terms of having analyzed those as intricately as I have the robot stories, but my gut feeling is leading me to say it might be better to read the various Foundation stories in the order that they were published, rather than in the order in which the events take place... that might be the best for understanding how it all works in the big picture, and avoiding spoilers or misapprehending the significance of some earlier (but later-written) stories.
I remember being initially surprised to find that Asimov had decided to knit the stories of his two most popular series (positronic robots and Foundation) into a single universe, but he worked hard at it with ROBOTS AND EMPIRE and the latterday-written Foundation novels.
The Galactic Empire novels seem far less crucial to me in terms of the big picture the other two series represent as part of a single timeline. It feels like much more of a "paste-on", where Asimov recognized there was a tremendous gap in time in between the other two into which the Galactic Empire novels might easily fit. My feeling is you could just pass on those entirely until later, after you've read all the Foundation stuff. Don't just take my word for it, because someone else better versed might present some quite logical reasons for feeling otherwise.
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