—and then, gleefully, proceeds to knock them down.We discover that a full understanding of the morals and ethicsincorporated in the Three Laws is a bit more elusive than a surfacereading would indicate. Asimov's stories demonstrate the "fuzzy logic"inherent in such words as "harm," "protect," and "obey." These wordsseem straightforward enough, but they're actually laden with semanticland mines where the unwary step at their own peril. Asimov admittedthat his Laws were deliberately designed with not-so-obvious loopholesin order to create artistic "wiggle room" for conflict needed to createinteresting stories.Asimov's short stories and novels took the science fiction world bystorm, and rightly so. Here we have cute, lovable robots, sometimesbrilliant, sometimes bumbling, but always with a new slant on what itmeans to be "human." And here we have a man, not a man of action,but a mathematician, a thinker, as hero. I speak of none other than HariSeldon. Seldon and a small group of psychologists developed apsychological profile of the galactic masses, a science of statistics calledpsychohistory which "deals with the reactions of human conglomeratesto fixed social and economic stimuli..."Any ordinary person, science fiction fan or not, would find such claimsto be astonishingly bold. How could anyone, no matter his intellectualachievements, have the audacity to think he could envision the futurehistory of trillions or quadrillions, let alone assume he knew anythingworth knowing about their present lives? This is enough to do seriousdamage to the reader's ability to suspend disbelief, a skill required forenjoying any kind of fiction, especially science fiction. Asimov attemptedto cover himself (and Seldon) by taking great pains to explain thatpsychohistory was never applicable to individuals, that individuals wereso variable, so individual, that they were fundamentally unpredictable."It [the Plan] could not handle too many independent variables. Hecouldn't work with individuals over any length of time; any more thanyou could apply the kinetic theory of gases to single molecules. Heworks with mobs, populations of whole planets, and only blind mobswho do not possess foreknowledge of the results of their own actions. "