About the Book

Book Protagonist: Susan Calvin
Publication Date: 1950
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Non-Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction


I, Robot

By Isaac Asimov

'I, Robot' is a well-loved collection of science fiction short stories by author Isaac Asimov. It contains nine short stories that were published throughout the 1940s and 1950s and a variety of interesting characters. 

Some of the characters on this list, like Gregory Powell and Michael Donovan, are recurring, appearing in more than one short story in the collection. But others are confined to a single section of the novel. There are multiple antagonists throughout the entire collection, some of whom are humans, and others are robots. But, all the stories are united in the same frame narrative in which Susan Calvin is relaying robot-related stories from her career to an unnamed interviewer.


Susan Calvin 

A character who first appears in the frame story sets up the stories that follow. She has worked for decades at the US Robots and Mechanical Men company and is telling each of the stories that follow. These are all based on experiences she heard or lived. 

The Interviewer 

The Interviewer goes unnamed throughout the entire book. This is the person who, in the future, is interviewing Susan Calvin about her experiences. He’s someone who has spent a lot of time with robots. 

Peter Bogert 

Peter Bogert is a mathematician who works for US Robots. He’s an unlikeable character who is very ambitious. He strives to improve his lot in life, often by less-than-ideal means. He later becomes the Director of Research. 

Gregory Powell 

Gregory Powell is one of the main reoccurring characters in ‘I, Robot.’ He appears alongside Michael Donovan in multiple stories, including “Reason” and “Catch that Rabbit.” 

Michael Donovan 

As with Powell, Donovan first appears in “Runaround,” the second story in the collection. The pair struggle to solve issues that their robots seem incapable of fixing themselves. Speedy, their main robot, is not working but through clever manipulation of the First Law, they fix him. 

Michael Donovan also features in “Reason” and “Catch that Rabbit.” The latter follows Donovan and Powell as they investigate a mining robot named Dave. Dave struggles to deal with emergencies by himself and melts down. But the two are able to fix him in a unique way. 


A robot in the story of the same name. He is a nursemaid whose job is to take care of a child named Gloria Weston. He is loved by her but unappreciated by her parents. He’s eventually sent to work in a factory, where he later rescues Gloria when they come to visit. 

Gloria Weston 

A character in “Robbie.” She is a child who has a robot named Robbie, who works as her nursemaid. Her mom doesn’t appreciate Robbie, based on local prejudice, and the family decides to get rid of Robbie. Gloria later sees Robbie working at a robot factory and almost loses her life as she tries to get to him. 


A robot belonging to Gregory Powell and Michael Donovan is not working properly in the story “Runaround.” 


Another robot appears alongside Gregory Powell and Michael Donovan. They are investigating Cutie to see if the robot has the potential to run a space station. Cutie has one central issue, though—he doesn’t believe in Earth. He’s never seen Earth, so he’s incapable of believing it exists. 


A robot that features in the story “Catch that Rabbit.” He’s a mining robot who struggles to deal with emergencies when people aren’t present. He eventually improves when Powell and Donovan shoot another robot, and Dave is able to save them. 


A robot who features in “Liar!” He has the ability to read minds and often tells people what they want to hear, avoiding the negative thoughts others have. He features alongside Susan Calvin in the story as well as Peter Bogart. Herbie goes insane at the end of the story, unable to reconcile the need, to tell the truth with the First Law (robots can’t hurt humans). 

Lawrence Robertson 

Lawrence Robertson is the founder of a company that may have invented the positronic brain (the brain type that’s used by all advanced robots). He is the president of an unnamed company and is not very important in any of the stories.

Dr. Alfred Planning 

He is the Director of Research at US Robots and Mechanical Men. He plays the role of manager or boss in any of his stories.

Stephen Byerley 

Stephen Byerley runs for mayor of an unnamed city and may or may not be a robot. He is intelligent, good, moral, and more likable than some of the other characters in Asimov’s collection. He eventually became World Co-Ordinator. 

Francis Quinn 

Francis Quinn is a character who sets himself against Stephen Byerley and who doesn’t believe in Byerley’s good intentions. He plays dirty and tries to keep Byerley from being elected. 

The Machines 

Inhuman robots that appear late in the short story collection. They are devoid of personality. 


Who is the main character in I, Robot by Isaac Asimov?

The main character in ‘I, Robot‘ is Susan Calvin, a robo-psychologist who works for US Robotics. She is telling all the stories in the novel to an interviewer but only features in a couple. She is also usually considered to be the protagonist of the collection. 

Who is the villain in I, Robot by Isaac Asimov?

Determining a villain or antagonist in ‘I, Robot is slightly difficult because there are different conflicts in each of the nine stories. Some of the antagonists are Francis Quinn, Nestor-10, Herbie, Mrs. Weston, and Cutie. 

What is I, Robot about? 

The story of ‘I, Robot is about the different conflicts between robots and humans. It is a story about technology, ethics, and responsibility and how each affects the other. Most stories end with humans and robots united. 

What are the Three Laws of Robotics?

The Three Laws of Robotics are a set of rules created by Isaac Asimov that govern the behavior of robots in the fictional universe of ‘I, Robot.’ The laws are: (1) “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. (2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. (3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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