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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asimovs first detective story set in the future..
This book introduces an Earth inhabited by billions of city dwellers, frightened to go outside, suckling in the warm continual buzz of the enclosed steel cave which is the city they are born,live and die in. Earth people hate and fear robots who take their jobs. They fear even more the 'Spacers'. Humans who left Earth generations ago to found colonies on 50 other...
Published on 12 Jun 1999

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars scifi mystery, a major building block in his future history
This is one of the seminal novels in Asimov's massive, disorganized (in my view), and self-contadictory history of the future. It all started with the Foundation Trilogy, which is one of the greatest works of the golden age of scifi, but it continued far too long, perhaps in part to the brute necessity of making a living as a writer. Asimov had a massive ego and wrote too...
Published on 18 Jun 2011 by rob crawford


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asimovs first detective story set in the future.., 12 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This book introduces an Earth inhabited by billions of city dwellers, frightened to go outside, suckling in the warm continual buzz of the enclosed steel cave which is the city they are born,live and die in. Earth people hate and fear robots who take their jobs. They fear even more the 'Spacers'. Humans who left Earth generations ago to found colonies on 50 other planetary systems. 'Spacers' are tall and noble featured, disease free, live in the open and are totally dependant on their robots. 'Spacers' have the power and it is 'Spacers' who are forcing robots on Earthmen. When a brilliant 'Spacer' roboticist is murdered on Earth, Elijah Bayley, the Earth detective called in to investige is forced to team up with a special 'Spacer' robot R. Daneel Olivaw which looks just like a human. Asimov displays his mastery of the growing relationship between the intuitive, blundering human and the constantly logical robot as they piece together the elements of the crime and capture the murderer. Togther with its sequels, 'the Naked Sun' and 'Robots of Dawn', 'the Caves of Steel' shows Asimov at his best. The reader is drawn inextricably into the world of the future, a thrilling detective story is told and a solid base laid as the first three books in Asimovs 14 book 'history of the future'. One word of warning DON'T TRUST THE COVER PICTURES on any of Asimovs books, they are totally miss leading and seem designed to put you off. All Asimovs books are about real Humans their actions and reactions, especially those which also involve robots.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best starting point for Asimov's future history, 25 April 2003
By 
Neal C. Reynolds (Indianapolis, Indiana) - See all my reviews
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Some of the stories in THE COMPLETE ROBOT indicate the beginning of galactic civilization with the concept of hyperspace, but this novel shows the beginning of Earth's expansion into the galaxy.
However, that is only one of the factors in this science fiction/mystery novel. It works well on both levels. I've seen some criticism of the mystery elements, but with careful reading, the seasoned mystery reader will spot the necessary clues leading to the conclusion.
The basic plot involves New York City detective Elijah Bailey's teaming with R. Daneel Olivaw, a spacer android, to solve the murder of a prominent spacer scientist. Earth's population is, as a whole, fearful of the growing use of robots. There's a combination of distrust of the robots and fear of robots taking over even complex jobs on an overcrowded Earth, and the police detective himself resents having to work with a non-human. Naturally, this changes in time as the two work together to solve the crime and as Bailey learns of the outer worlds' objective of inspiring Earth's participation in colonizing other worlds.
As a whole, the story is well plotted and should encourage those new to Asimov to continue reading the robot series and then the Empire and Foundation books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Early Asimov, 5 Oct 1999
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This really is a classic example of the early genius which Asimov displays in his novels. The first in this set of robot books, the story gently eases the reader into the world of the future as seen by the sci-fi master himself. This is a great way to get into Asimov books if you have never read one before, and also an excellent introduction to the robot series as a whole. While being relativly short in length, the book has enough content and explanation of 'roboticism' to give readers a firm concept of where Asimov is coming from. A thourghly good, though somewhat short read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laws and Robots, 21 Mar 1999
By A Customer
The first time I read this book was when a friend gave me an old copy complete with rather poor cover. Had I judged the book by its cover I would have missed one of my favourite books.
The story relates the tale of an Earth where the human race has split into two factions: the Spacers - humans who have settled on other worlds, and the humans descended from those who remained behind. Each dislikes the other and so when a Spacer scientist is murdered on Earth it falls to an Earth detective and a Spacer robot to combine their knowledge and track down the killer.
I enjoyed this book as a young teenager and have read it a couple of times since then. Each time I have enjoyed it and its sequels (The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn). Asimov was a master storyteller and this book is no exception.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A far-future detective yarn packed with solid SF ideas, 10 Sep 2013
After reading The Naked Sun, I was keen to read the very first book featuring future detective Elijah Baley and his robot partner Daneel. Fortunately both novels are self-contained stories so can be enjoyed independently.

The Caves of Steel is the first full-length novel Isaac Asimov wrote featuring the famous Three Laws of Robotics which he established in a series of short stories in the 1940s and 1950s. He portrays a detailed vision of an Earth where the vast population live within colossal underground Cities, while the superior 'Spacers' have colonised other worlds and mostly shun their more Earthbound ancestors, treating them as primitives.

Asimov's brilliant exploration of robotics is well-known, but this novel is a surprisingly incisive look at sociology too. It's easy to imagine the way of life within the Cities, based on our own overpopulated world, including the secret Medievalist groups who want a return to life outdoors. There's also a witty mention of C/Fe culture - C for carbon-based life (humans), Fe for iron (robots). It's hard not to hear C/Fe as 'sci-fi', at a time when the term was something of a dirty word!

Elijah Baley is an appealing central character, a classic headstrong detective whose emotions sometimes get the better of his deductive skills. The calm logic of the first humaniform robot, Daneel, makes a wonderful counterpoint as their relationship gradually crosses the anti-robot prejudice barrier and proves effective. It's easy to imagine that these characters formed the basis for Star Trek's Kirk and Spock, invented a decade later.

At the heart of this book is a detective story, involving murders, clues, suspicious behaviour, chases, fights and old-fashioned investigation. Asimov's genius is to tell this tale while also imagining the far future and incorporating some solid science fiction concepts. Despite the writing style now being a little old-fashioned, The Caves of Steel still stands as a classic story that can be enjoyed today.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic introduction to robotics, 12 Nov 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
The leading light in robot technology and design is murdered outside the city of New York. The murderer, it appears, is an Earthman, a human, and the murder is destined to drive an even greater wedge between the human city dwellers and those who live beyond its boundaries in the colony of the Spacers, people who have been born and raised on distant planets. It is the Spacers who advocate the further development and use of robots - to the Earthmen, these are totally alien creatures whose only purpose is to do them out of a job. But the police have to investigate the murder, and that means collaborating with both Spacers and robots.
"Caves of Steel" was written in the early-1950's, so it truly is a vintage work. This is Asimov speculating on the role, function, and morality of the robot, elaborating the rules which will ensure they cannot hurt a human. If the science seems a little quaint by modern standards, this is a future world conceived at the mid-point of the last century. It really is an essay from another world.
What Asimov achieves, however, is an enquiry into how we perceive strangers, how we tolerate, or fail to tolerate, what we find alien. We struggle to hold on to traditional values, but those values were themselves once novel and alien, and often have rather tenuous provenance. There is a timeless quality in his enquiry into intolerance and discrimination.
As a detective story, Asimov twists and turns the plot, but this is hardly a science fiction whodunnit. It is more of an investigation of how we could use artificial intelligence, written at a time when computing was in its infancy. The passage of time does make the science fiction appear quaint, and as a detective story it has severe limitations. However, this is a neatly paced and well written little novel which retains considerable fascination as an early classic of computing and robotics, and is a must read for anyone who considers him/herself a fan of science fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read from one of the legends of SC-FI, 28 May 2013
By 
Steven Holliday (Chessington, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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Loved the book, I only wish that more of his books are available on the kindle! Please can the publisher / Amazon organise this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deeper than I expected., 25 Aug 2014
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This book has been my first foray into the world of Issac Asimov and I must admit I finished it quite impressed with it.

The plot focuses on earth in the far flung future where humanity's numbers have swelled to immense proportions causing the creation of "cities", giant enclosed superstructures capable of housing millions of people where food and space are planned and regulated accordingly. Hummanity has also spread out to the stars and colonized other planets without the overpopulation or resource limitations causing a rather large rift between them and earth, they are know as "spacers".

One of these spacers has been murdered on earth potentially causing diplomatic problems between the two already struggling cultures. In steps detective Baley, an earthman who doesn't like robots to investigate. The spacers are willing to hold off consequences on the condition that one of them investigate with him, problem is Daneel is a robot.

For a book about the police and robots there is surprisingly little action, instead it focuses on the possibility of humanities future, it's struggling differences, and it's use of advancing technology and the divide that causes. I enjoyed the book all the more for that and found it not only interesting material but also rather clever in it's examination of culture and survival.

All in all a good book if a little short, next up the sequel The Naked Sun, I can see myself becoming an Asimov fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing but praise, 15 Dec 2013
By 
J. Smith (UK) - See all my reviews
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On an Earth, with a population of 8 billion people, an agoraphobic Mankind is reduced to living in mega-cities (the eponymous caves) whilst looking with fear and envy at the 50 Spacer worlds, colonised centuries earlier and with a sparse population relying heavily on robot labour. Then one of the members of the Spacer outpost on Earth is murdered and detective Lije Bailey has to solve the crime with the aid of a robot partner. Read on, it's worth it. This story is Asimov at his very best (and his worst was brilliant!).

Most books that have been transcribed from paper to Kindle usually have some typing errors or words changed (I guess by the OCR software) that can ruin the flow when reading. I did not notice a single error in this book and the story flowed from start to finish. It was well worth spending a few pence more to get a very high quality book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Writing Should be About, 29 Oct 2013
I really enjoyed this book, I felt it brought out the best of both genres. You had the discussion of how the future population and technology would work (considering this was written half a century ago some of the items were scarily accurate) and rules that would be implemented into something such as a "thinking robot" on the science fiction side, and the constantly gathering and discarding of facts and suspects from the mystery genre.

At times I would have liked terms in the early part of the book explained more directly (for examples how Cities differ from our cities, I had confusing images in my head during the riot scene), but you catch on quick enough for this to not eave you completely blindsided or losing facts in the mystery.

A great novel. I know it is part of series, but a friend recommended it as a stand alone. I am unsure at the moment if I will read more despite my enjoyment
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The Caves of Steel
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov (School & Library Binding - Oct 1999)
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