"Galley Slave" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, originally published in the December 1957 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction and reprinted in the collections The Rest of the Robots (1964), The Complete Robot (1982), and Robot Visions (1990). Asimov identified it as his favorite among those of his robot stories featuring the character of Susan Calvin.
The story is a courtroom drama. It opens in 2033, with Simon Ninheimer, a professor of sociology, suing US Robots for loss of professional reputation. He contends that robot EZ-27 (aka "Easy"), while leased to North Eastern University for use as a proofreader, deliberately altered and rewrote parts of his book Social Tensions Involved in Space Flight and their Resolution when it checked the galley proofs (hence the title). Ninheimer holds that the alterations to his book make him appear an incompetent scholar who has misrepresented the work of his professional colleagues in fields such as criminal justice in absurd ways.
Susan Calvin (US Robots' Chief Robopsychologist) is convinced that the robot could not have acted as Ninheimer claims and that it was ordered to do so, but infers from its refusal to answer questions about the matter that it has been ordered into silence by Ninheimer. For Calvin, it is easy to find this out by careful questioning and a process of elimination. However, a robot's testimony in its own defence is not legally admissible as evidence.
During the trial, Ninheimer is called as a witness for the defence in the presence of EZ-27, and is led into giving testimony which acts to release EZ-27 from Ninheimer's earlier orders silencing the robot. Seeing Ninheimer about to suffer harm, EZ-27 stands up to lie on his behalf, its First Law conditioning overriding all other commands and conditioning. Ninheimer shouts "I told you not to say anything!" He thus implicitly confesses to having attempted to pervert the course of justice, and his case is dismissed.
The story's final scene consists in the post-trial encounter between Ninheimer and Calvin in which Ninheimer explains his attempt to frame EZ-27 in order to bring disgrace on US Robots. He was motivated by his fear that the automation of academic work would destroy the dignity of scholarship and argues that EZ-27 is a harbinger of a world in which a scholar would be left with only a barren choice as to what orders to issue to robot researchers. The critic Joseph Patrouch has pointed out that the speech Asimov gives Ninheimer is an eloquent self-exculpation rather than a caricatured luddite tract and cites the story as an example of a general rule that Asimov's best stories are those in which his personal technophile optimism is thus qualified.
"The Law of an Ancient God" and the Editing of Hemingway's Garden of Eden: The Final Corrected Typescript and Galleys
Mar 22, 2001; Introduction EDITED BY TOM JENKS and published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1986, The Garden of Eden is the most controversial...