Old short obscure sci-fi book

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Old short obscure sci-fi book

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Editado: Jun 25, 2015, 12:20am

EDIT: After 7 odd years of searching, I managed to work it out! By finding Bookfinder.com and using the keyword search of 'robot is bomb', lo and behold I have found: Unwise Child by Randall Garrett (1963). Thanks to everyone for helping!!

Argh I've tried googling every variation possible!! Please help if you can :(

I'm trying to find a book that I read ages ago (and have subsequently misplaced) that seems impossible to find because it has a robot in it and there are so many.
It was a short book that was definitely very old, I got it in a 2nd hand bookstore for like $2. As time goes on, I remember less of the story but this is what I've retained thus far:

There is one robot in this story, who has a bomb set up inside (I don't think it knows). The premise was that this crew of people were on a spaceship, en route to an abandoned moon or something to safely dismantle or destroy this robot but they had to do it without the robot finding out. The protagonist was a male who had a crush on the female scientist or doctor, who had red-hair. The lady was very close with the robot- they had been friends for a long time or something.

The robot of course soon enough realises what is happening and things start getting strange (like, people start dying or something? unsure). One part I vividly remember is the protagonist looking for the lady and he hears her voice outside (they'd landed somewhere... snowy...) so he goes out and you see that the robot had imitated her voice and tricked him.

That's all I remember :'( I've tried googling all sorts of things but there's just so many other robot books that pop up instead and it can't have been a hugely famous book or else it would have come up. I have no idea who wrote it and I can't remember the title. I have searched for this book for years with no luck, so if anyone on here has any idea then that'd be great :) I'm sorry it's so vague but it is all I can remember!

Jun 24, 2015, 4:24am

It reminds me a ton of an Asimov Robot story I have read. Problem is that there are so many ;). The lady scientist could be Dr. Susan Calvin. My gut says it could be in I, Robot, but I can't really find it...

Jun 24, 2015, 5:16am

Jun 24, 2015, 7:03am

Soooo many robot stories, it is the problem I'm stuck with!!! I've never read I, Robot :(

Jun 24, 2015, 7:06am

I've had someone suggest Impostor before but reading the plot summary it just doesn't seem to mesh with the scraps of the story I remember :( Plus it appears to only be available as a short story in a magazine or something? I definitely owned a paperback book that was entirely this one story :( I would buy a copy of it to read anyway to find out but it doesn't seem like you can even buy it??

Jun 24, 2015, 7:43am

>4 trubbish: But Asimov's robot stories are in a lot more books, collection, anthologies, whatever. They are everywhere ;)

Jun 24, 2015, 7:53am

(I haven't used this site before, not sure how to make my reply to a direct user!)

Would it have been a book by itself though? If it was a short story that was possibly part of a series or related group then I would have read the rest :) This was definitely it's own story. As an example- it was the same size as a book like Syzygy by Michael G. Coney

Jun 24, 2015, 8:51am

>7 trubbish: If you enter the angled bracket and the message number the member name and link to that message are added automatically

Jun 24, 2015, 8:59am

>8 MarthaJeanne: Awesome, thank you!! :D

Editado: Jun 24, 2015, 9:06am

A listing of some of Impostor's publication history can be found here:


Sometimes looking through the publication history can help remind you of an anthology title you once read, but I don't see the story publishing as an independent work -- it's quite short; the PDF I found online was only ten pages:


(>7 trubbish: In order to make a reply to a specific user, like how divinenanny did at >6 divinenanny:, key in greater than symbol -- '>' -- followed by the number of the comment you're replying to. The system will automatically set the username and colon when your comment publishes. The 'reply' hyperlink, set at the end of each message by system default, actually only opens up a general new message that will publish at the next sequential numerical order and not a sub-reply to that specific message.)

ETA: Yes, what >8 MarthaJeanne: said!

Editado: Jun 24, 2015, 10:33pm

>10 MyriadBooks: I looked at that database site yesterday- I'm very slowly going through all the robot tags :P Impostor seems to share a couple of similarities but it is not the same story. The robot in the story I'm trying to find did not think it was someone else or anything. It was a story probably around 200 pages long, give or take :( I think it must have been a fairly unknown author and didn't get much reception so it's just impossible to find!

Editado: Jun 25, 2015, 7:41am

Congratulations (I just read your EDIT on the first posting).

Jun 25, 2015, 8:05am

Jun 25, 2015, 10:25am

I read the story when it was new, but don't remember the robot having a bomb inside. IIRC the humans wanted the robot off the Earth because it was very good at inventing superweapons, and they didn't want it handing these technologies to random people. I may well be wrong.

The story is free at Project Gutenberg.

Glad you found it.

Jun 25, 2015, 10:39am

Ah, the SF of decades past:

Meet Mike the Angel. Full name: Michael Raphael Gabriel. (His mother had tagged that on him at the time of his baptism, which had made his father wince in anticipated compassion, but there had been nothing for him to say—not in the middle of the ceremony.)

Naturally, he had been tagged “Mike the Angel.” Six feet seven. Two hundred sixty pounds. Thirty-four years of age. Hair: golden yellow. Eyes: deep blue. Cash value of holdings: well into eight figures. Credit: almost unlimited. Marital status: highly eligible, if the right woman could tackle him.

Jun 25, 2015, 10:51am

OK if it's on Gutenberg, I'll give it a try.

Jun 25, 2015, 11:19am

There's a lot of Garrett on Gutenberg for some reason. This one's OK if you overlook the usual early-1960s sexism and so forth. Anything You Can Do is a sort of superman story that's OK (IIRC: I read these when a teenager in the 1960s and can't always trust that youngster's judgment).

Jun 25, 2015, 11:31am

>17 dukedom_enough: Reason seems to be that the copyright hasn't been renewed. Another might be that someone donated a stack of his books.

I don't trust my memories of books I read a lot more recently that that! Rereading a lot of Asimov this year that I first read in the 70s is showing me that either the books have changed or I've gotten a lot pickier about my science fiction. Is it age? Have the other books really gotten a lot better? But I still enjoy reading older books. I just don't take them very seriously any more.

Jun 26, 2015, 3:56am

>12 bnielsen: thank you!!

>14 dukedom_enough: yeah turns out the robot makes super bombs, it isn't a super bomb. I bet it would've taken me a lot less time to find it if my memory had been accurate!! I've ordered an identical copy off eBay so I will be re-reading it, in any case ;)

Editado: Ago 10, 2015, 4:49pm

I'm enjoying this, except for the way everyone smokes all the time. Normal male society, but there is a major female character, and she is more than just a blow up doll. In other words, for 60s science fiction, pretty good.