An Uncanny Resemblance


An Uncanny Resemblance

“Did you know it’s Dr. Seuss’ Birthday,” my son asked as I walked in the door this evening?

“Yes.  I did, as a matter of fact.”

This was followed, incessantly, with “Oh, the places you’ll go” and “the sun did not shine, it was too wet to play…”

Reading has been a maxim in my home, ever since I can remember.  I have fond early memories of my Mom putting me down for a nap and reading “Winnie the Pooh” and “Chicken Soup with Rice.”

This evening my son came to me wanting ideas for his new AR goal.  That, for those who aren’t into the new common core system yet, is a goal that kids have to meet every quarter.  They have to find a book at or above their reading level and take a test on the book afterward.  If they meet the test’s goal they get points.  My son has read everything from Eragon to Wildwood.

This same son is in love with stop-frame animation.  He was obsessed with seeing the movie The Box Trolls.  He sat and watched an entire documentary on the man who made the original Clash of the Titans.  (Not the new one, which I had high hopes for only to have them dashed)

I asked him if he’d like to read an old copy of mine of a book by Isaac Asimov – The Caves of Steel.

“Is it just a sci-fi book about robots?”
“Nope, it’s a murder-mystery.”
“With robots in the title.”
“How does that work?”

I could tell he was intrigued, just not intrigued enough.

The thing is, I can see an uncanny resemblance in this little creature to my own self at this age.  I loved Doctor Who and read The Hobbit.  I was shy, closed-in, and smart but didn’t understand the social graces needed to interact with other people so well.  He isn’t too different.  He may have blonde hair and blue eyes but inside I can relate to him all too well.

My son looked up the book, short as it looks in paperback, and the clincher was the high point value.

He was in.

“Is this the one with a bunch of short stories?”
“No, that’s I, Robot.”

He stared a bit.

“He wrote a whole lot of books.  Most of these are like textbooks.”
“Well, he’s how we have modern robotics.  It is his writing that sparked the ideas and the imagination of today’s technology.”

My son read the back of the book, looked at the ’60s-ish artwork, and said “so his partner’s a robot but nobody knows?”
“Yep,” I said, matter-of-factly, “R. Daneel, Olivaw.”
“You still remember that?”
“Oh, yeah.  I loved that book.  That…The Naked Sun, Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire…I was an Asimov freak at your age.”
“Because they were smart…but read almost like an old Noir or pulp novel.  It’s science, but at its heart it’s a murder mystery.”

“A murder mystery?!”

My other son overheard this . . . and immediately perked up.

“Can I read it when you’re done?”

My boys.

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