"Liar!" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the May 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and was reprinted in the collections I, Robot (1950) and The Complete Robot (1982). It was Asimov's third published positronic robot story. Although the word "robot" was introduced to the public by Czech writer Karel Čapek in his 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), Asimov's story "Liar!" contains the first recorded use of the word "robotics" according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The events of this short story are also mentioned in the novel The Robots of Dawn written by the same author.
|Published in||Astounding Science Fiction|
|Publisher||Street & Smith|
|Media type||Print (magazine, hardback and paperback)|
|Publication date||May 1941|
|Preceded by||"Catch that Rabbit"|
|Followed by||"Satisfaction Guaranteed"|
Through a fault in manufacturing, a robot, RB-34 (also known as Herbie), is created that possesses telepathic abilities. While the roboticists at U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men investigate how this occurred, the robot tells them what other people are thinking. But the First Law still applies to this robot, and so it deliberately lies when necessary to avoid hurting their feelings and to make people happy, especially in terms of romance.
However, by lying, it is hurting them anyway. When it is confronted with this fact by Susan Calvin (to whom it falsely claimed her coworker was infatuated with her - a particularly painful lie), the robot experiences an insoluble logical conflict and becomes catatonic.
"Catch that Rabbit"
The Complete Robot
The Liar is a short story by Henry James which first appeared in The Century Magazine in May–June 1888, and in book form the following year (Macmillan and Co., London).
It is the story of a young man's dilemma when he meets a woman he used to love, and finds her married to a man of a vile, dishonest nature. Concerned that her own purity has been spoilt, he tests her to see whether she is only shielding her husband out of love, and is shocked to find that she will go even to the lengths of sacrificing an innocent victim rather than admitting her husband's true character.