The Bicentennial Man was a short story written by Isaac Asimov. It is about a robot who becomes a man. My copy appeared in a volume of short stories entitled "The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories". This story was later rewritten with help from Robert Silverberg and entitled "The Positronic Man". Finally, there was a 1999 movie adaptation (starring Robin Williams), that was merely entitled "Bicentennial Man".

This story follows the life and times of Andrew Martin. Andrew began his life as NDR, a household robot working for Gerald Martin. He was one of the first non-industrial robots ever created and his brain was of a different (looser) design than that used in later robots.

Andrew was first given the name "Andrew" by his owner's daughter (whom he called "Little Miss"), it seems that she couldn't pronounce his serial number. It was "Little Miss" that first discovered the spark of humanity hidden within Andrew's circuitry. She ordered him to create a wood carving for her. He did, and when Gerald Martin saw it he was amazed. For it was an original design, created by a robot.

Andrew was soon doing a lot of carving, woodworking, and furniture making. His owner eventually set up a trust fund for him. As the years went by Andrew became more and more human. Eventually he desired freedom. By this point he was the only truly "sentient" robot left, as the company that made the robots stopped producing the generic ones almost as soon as they learned of Andrew's independent thought. Andrew eventually earned the legal right to be indpendent, but alienated his former owner in the process. But his children (now grown up) still adored him as much as they ever did.

After his original owner finally died, Andrew begun wearing human clothes. Which quickly got him into trouble when a pair of young punks saw him and tried to get him to dismantle himself. That incident led to the introduction of laws giving basic "robot rights", but said laws were technically unenforceable. But they were enough, and no one ever tried that stunt with Andrew again. Soon Andrew desired a more human body. He managed to convince U.S. Robots to give him an android body, but only after his lawyer threatened a long and painful legal battle. You see U.S. Robots really wanted to be rid of Andrew entirely, they saw him as a threat.

After receiving his android body, he became more and more interested in becoming a "man" rather than a robot. Andrew's next step was designing for himself a way to eat, which he convinced U.S. Robotics to install, this time by offering them use of the patent he had on the device. He soon underwent more operations and became a respected scientist in the field of artificial organs. His humanity grew in leaps and bounds during this time period. He found himself able to give orders to humans, even command an entire research lab.

As Andrew neared his 200th birthday he decided that he wanted to be declared human. The legal battle was long, and it appeared that Andrew would lose his case for sure. But he had something up his sleeve. He had underwent an operation that made him as mortal as any other man. He had at most a year to live, and the government declared him a man. He died shortly afterwards, desperately clinging to the thought that he was a man. His last words were merely a whisper, "Little Miss", the name of the one who started him on the road to humanity.

The movie version of this story was slightly different, as it introduced a major element to the story that the written version did not have, sex. In the movie Andrew has a major love interest in the form of Portia Charney. Who is played by Embeth Davidtz (who also plays Little Miss). The addition of robot sex changed the story in a major way, as it eventually became as important as Andrew's quest for humanity.

The movie also introduced a roboticist (played by Oliver Platt) and a subplot concerning Andrew's search for other sentient robots, both of which seemed altogether absent in the original story. Finally the movie also downplayed the evil aspect of the robot company, and removed the (truthfully minor) "space" subplot.

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