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The Caves of Steel (Robot Series) Paperback – 25 Oct 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (25 Oct. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586008357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586008355
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘One of the classic presentations of the womb-city, metropolis as mother, which has haunted imaginations ever since… The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun are the best books Isaac Asimov ever wrote’ The Guardian

From the Inside Flap

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's "Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the "R" stood for robot--and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By FallenGrace TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.

+ Clever.
+ Well developed themes running throughout.
+ Interesting characters.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Is such a shame that whoever wrote the synopsis for amazon didn't actually bother to read the book before they write it. Anyone who actually does read the book will discover early on that the New York City we know lasted for at least 3000 years before the New York City that becomes The City of the story comes into being and this new City is several hundred years old at this point.

Ok, that's the gripe about the synopsis over and done with.

Earth, thousands of years into the future. Massively overpopulated ever everyone loves in one of 800 Cities - enormous structures that protect their population from the outside, the feed them, Clothe then and nurture them. There is nothing wrong with the outside, it's just that people have been closeted in the Cities for so long that they simply don't go outside. On the outskirts of New York is Spacertown. A reminder to earth that it lost the war against is one time colonies of in the stars. Spacertown is where the ever arrogant and superior spaces stay when visiting old Earth. And now one of them is dead. Murdered. A major diplomatic incident needs to be avoided as any such week price very costly for dear old Earth. Plainclothesman Elijah Baley , C5 rated, of the New York police department is assigned the case along with a partner from the space community. Solving the case will save Earth and will also save Elijah Baley and his family , because fake is not an option.

I've always loved the good doctors books and these books that start what turned into the Robots and Foundation series, a massive conglomeration of a lot of his scifi works, are among my favourites of all.
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