Study Guide

I, Robot What's Up With the Title?

By Isaac Asimov

What's Up With the Title?

Asimov did not like this title. He wanted to name this book Mind and Iron, which is a phrase Calvin uses in the Introduction (Introduction.32); she seems to be saying that people think robots are just "mind and iron," but really robots are much more. But the publishers overruled Asimov and decided to name the book I, Robot. Which is weird because science fiction writer Eando Binder had already written a story in 1939 named "I, Robot," which was about a sympathetic robot. Why would the publishers want to remind people of this other story?

Also, "I, Robot" doesn't really fit this book. "I, ____" is a good title for an autobiography or a confession, but it doesn't make sense for a biography of someone else's life. For instance, the 1934 Robert Graves novel I, Claudius tells the story from Claudius's point of view and the 1939 Binder story "I, Robot" is the robot's own confession. But Asimov's I, Robot is mostly the story of robots as told by Susan Calvin. Shouldn't the publishers have titled this book You, Robot, or Those Robots Over There? Or maybe I, Susan. That might not sound like a good title, but it's a better fit.