Asimov’s Robot Short Stories – Non-chronology


The stories listed below are stories which are not included in Johnny Pez’s Insanely Complete Fiction List [updated version February 2012]. This is presumably because they do not fit into the Robot/Empire/Foundation chronology, either because the robots do not follow the Laws of Robotics, or the story is inconsistent with the chronology for some other reason. In some cases I have assigned a date for the story.

Most of Asimov’s Robot short stories have appeared in multiple collections. The collections are indicated in the last column. The key to the abbreviations of the collections are shown at the bottom of the page.

Most have been included in either “I, Robot” (1950) or “The Rest of the Robots” (1964), and then in “The Complete Robot” (1982).

Date – internal chronology Story and publishing date Books
Someday (1956) ERE,CR, RV
Point of View (1975) CR
Think! (1977)
Genevieve Renshaw demonstrates to her two colleagues the equipment she has developed, using a laser-encephalogram connected to her computer. This enables her to read the brainwaves of animals and humans – effectively telepathy. Then unexpectedly, her computer starts communicating with them.
True Love (1977)
Milton Davidson programs his private computer program, Joe, to locate his ideal woman. This involves searching the world-wide computer network, Multivac-complex, for women of various characteristics. Then Joe reassigns selected candidates to local jobs so Milton can interview them, and arranges for other candidates to have psychiatric examinations as part of the assessment – all of which is illegal. Then when Joe (the computer program) has found the ideal woman, he arranges that Milton is arrested, so that Joe can have her to himself.
Victory Unintentional (1942)
This story is a sequel to a non-robot story “Not Final!” (1941) in which the human colonists of Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, make radio contact with the inhabitants of Jupiter (Jovians), who turn out to be hostile.

The specially designed robots ZZ One, Two and Three, travel by spaceship to the surface of Jupiter to determine whether peace can be made with the Jovians, or if not, whether the Jovians have the necessary force field technology to maintain the atmospheric pressure they would require in a spaceship.

In The History of the Positronic Robot and Foundation Stories Part 2, Johnny Pez states:

“Not Final!” and “Victory Unintentional” contain a number of elements (the Jovians, the Terrestrial Empire, force-field hull spacecraft) that aren’t found in any other stories, so it seems safe to conclude that they aren’t part of the regular sequence of Positronic Robot stories.

This story takes place after 25 years of radio contact between the humans on Ganymede and the Jovians, so must occur at least 25 years after the colonisation of Ganymede. It may be possible to assign a date from this. I have not read “Not Final!” recently, so there may be clues to the date in that story.

Stranger in Paradise (1974) BM, CR
Segregationist (1967)
A surgeon and a medical engineer prepare to operate on a man – to replace his heart with an artificial one. The patient has opted for a metal heart rather than fibrous one which would be closer in nature to natural heart. Since robots have been declared citizens, more and more humans have opted for metal body parts. On the other hand, robots have been choosing to be repaired with fibrous parts. Does the future hold a blending of the two species?
2030 AD Robot Visions (1990)
A group of scientists called the Temporal Group develop a time machine. They send a robot, Archie, forward in time 200 years to 2230. When he returns he says that the world’s people were peaceful and successful, but that the population had reduced from ten billion to one billion following some unnamed sad event. The narrator of the story, a junior member of the group, privately concludes that the human race had been wiped out, and the people Archie had met were humaniform robots.
2045 AD Let’s Get Together (1957)
One hundred years after the beginning of the Cold War, there are still low level hostilities between the former Soviet bloc (Them) and the West (Us). Intelligence reports suggest that They have advanced in robotics to the point of producing robots which appear to be human, and that a group of these robots, each carrying a fragment of a Total Conversion bomb, may have infiltrated the US. These robots could come together to cause a massive explosion.

It’s stated in the story that this occurs 100 years after the beginning of the Cold War, which would make it 2045. The robots concerned do not obey the Three Laws. Also the existence of the two power blocs at this date does not fit into the main chronology.

2057 AD Sally (1953)
Jake Folkers is in charge of a Farm for retired automatobiles – cars fitted with positronic brains. His favourite is Sally, a 2045 convertible. He receives an offer from a Mr Gellhorn to transplant the cars’ positronic brains to modern vehicles. Jake declines, but Gellhorn is not taking no for an answer. But Gellhorn has not reckoned on the cars themselves.

Date taken from the year of the models into which Gellhorn wants to transplant the positronic brains. The story does not to fit into the main chronology, as the automatobiles apparently don’t have the Three Laws. Also automatobiles are not mentioned in any story of the main chronology.

2076-2078 AD The Tercentenary Incident (1976)
It is 300 years since American Independence, and the US is a member of the World Federation. Before his Tercentenary speech, the US President shakes hands with the crowd. Suddenly the President disappears, replaced by a puff of dust. Then the President is seen on the podium – he is safe, and it is only a robot double which was destroyed in an assassination attempt.

Two years later, a former Secret Service agent approaches the President’s secretary with a bizarre suggestion. His investigations lead him to the conclusion that the President had been assassinated, and the robot double survived, and has been serving as President ever since.

There may be a conflict with the Three Laws. However the political structure of the world is inconsistent with that described in “The Evitable Conflict”, which would exclude it from the main chronology.


Key to collections in which these stories have appeared(Titles in blue font are by authors other than Isaac Asimov)

IR = “I, Robot” (1950)
RR = “The Rest of the Robots” (1964)
CR = “The Complete Robot” (1982)
N = “Nightfall and Other Stories” (1969)
ERE = “Earth is Room Enough” (1957)
BM = “The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories” (1976)
BJ = “Buy Jupiter and Other Stories” (1975)
BIA = “The Best of Isaac Asimov” (1973)
RD = “Robot Dreams” (1986)
RV = “Robot Visions” (1990)
G = “Gold” (1995)
EA = “The Early Asimov” (1972)
FF = “Foundations Friends (1989)
RG = The Best of Randall Garrett (1982) (Randall Garrett collection)
T = Takeoff! (1980) (Another Randall Garrett collection)


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