Insert Knob A in Hole B

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"Insert Knob A in Hole B" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. The story was first published in the December 1957 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and reprinted in the 1969 collection Nightfall and Other Stories.

The story is unusually short, totalling just 350 words,[1] and arose from a televised panel discussion that Asimov took part in on 21 August 1957. During the panel discussion, Asimov was challenged to write a story on the spot. He accepted, and this story is the result. Asimov later admitted to some preparation prior to the interview, as he suspected that other panel members might make such a request. [1]

Plot summary[edit]

Two men on a remote space station, which receives its equipment from Earth unassembled, waste large amounts of time assembling the devices which are shipped to them, and they can not adequately build their equipment because the shipments are accompanied by vague and confusing instructions. They eagerly await the arrival of a complex and sophisticated assembly robot that will do the job for them.

Upon its arrival, they are dismayed to discover that the robot has been shipped unassembled and accompanied by vague, confusing instructions.


  1. ^ a b Asimov, Isaac (1969). "Preface to Insert Knob A In Hole B". Nightfall and Other Stories. 

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