13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A bridge from the Robot novels to Empire to Foundation.....,
This review is from: Robots and Empire: 4/4 (Panther science fiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
Ah yes, this might not be the very best Asimov, but it is good reading and prepares the reader first for the three Empire novels and then the Foundation series.
This takes up 200 years after ROBOTS OF DAWN and Elijah Bailey is long dead. However, R. Daneel Olivaw and Giscard continue and are actually the primary movers in this novel, although Gladia, a villainous descendent of hers, a descendent of Elijah's and a continuing villain from the earlier book are all important characters.
There's a lot of rather philosophical dialog between the two robots which slows down the story quite a bit, as they ponder over the ramifications of the three robotic laws and come up the the zeroth law which will in time enable R. Daneel Olivaw to return in later books.
It helps explain how Earth's descendents gain the edge over the spacers in their expansion in the galaxy. It also explains Earth's radioactivity which is referred to in later volumes.
This is straight science fiction without any of the mystery subplotting of the previous novels. There are hints of the types of power struggle which permeate the following books. Also, one must realize that this book and the preceding robot novel were written after the three Empire novels and the Foundation Trilogy.
All in all, a satisfying enough read best enjoyed when read in chronological sequence.