Norby Down To Earth review

Norby Down to Earth by Janet and Isaac Asimov

Walker and Company, 1989. 978-0-8027-6867-4

Synopsis: Jeff Wells and his mixed-up robot, Norby, live at the Space Acedemy where Jeff is studying to become a Space Cadet. He has a week off from classes during which time he intends on studying space dynamics, but he learns that his brother Fargo has been in an accident and must go to Earth to help him while he recuperates. When Jeff and Norby get to Earth, they find that there is someone who has been shooting robots and a ring of thefts in computer stores all over the city of Manhattan. Without meaning to, Norby jumps into the middle of the investigation in search of information about his maker, MacGillicuddy, and starts to learn more about his strange family.

Why I picked it up: Isaac Asimov wrote a book series with his wife not for grownups? What?!

Why I finished it: The story is funny, humorous, and contains many of the same elements Asimov is famous for in his other works, like the Foundation Trilogy. Norby is far from the robots of the future that we imagine: he always has good intentions, but somehow manages to make what he is trying to fix more problematic. Jeff is very patient with his robot friend and quick to remind Norby of his mix-ups, but the mix-ups are part of what makes the story so charming. It’s not in the same vein as some of Asimov’s other robot stories, but the audience is also different. I was a little disappointed in the pace of the story, because I felt like it took a while to get going, but once it picked up, the book was impossible to put down. Part of a series, this book makes reference to events and persons from previous stories that are often hard for the reader to place, though often a one sentence explanation is given. Each story seems to stand on its own, but having not read the rest of the series, don’t know if I am missing anything by not reading the prelude volumes.

Other related materials: Norby Through Time and Space by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby and Yobo’s Great Adventure by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby and the Oldest Dragon by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby and the Terrified Taxi by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby and Court Jester by Janet and Isaac Asimov; The Norby Chronicles by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby: Robot for Hire by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby Finds a Villian by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby the Mixed-Up Robot by Janet and Isaac Asimov; Norby’s Other Secret by Janet and Isaac Asimov

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