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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
115
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Caves of Steel (Robot Series)
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on 29 May 2017
My introduction to Elijah Bale and his robot assistant R. Daneel Olivaw, and their series of robot mysteries. As usual, Asimov illustrates that he's not just a great science fiction writer, but a brilliant author overall. Loved the mystery throughout as well as the final denouement. Looking forward to reading the next novel in the series - The Naked Sun. Highly recommended, and not just for science fiction fans.
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on 1 September 2017
Good book, terrible edition. I've purchased the whole series from this publisher Voyager in the newest edition and pages are all over the place. For £1 it would be worth it.
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on 15 August 2017
If you want to explore Asimov's galaxy, this is a good place to start. Asimov's style is direct but the plots are full of engaging twists. Written early in his career, this book also holds a mirror to post-war New York and perhaps more generally to the society of that day. Its a crime story set in the future. Oh, and by the way there are robots in it!
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on 7 March 2017
This books reads as well today as when I first read it in the fifties and it is amazing how many of Asimov's predictions have come true.
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on 31 August 2017
a great story
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on 9 July 2017
classic
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on 11 July 2017
Good read, nothing to dislike. Good intro to real robotic sci fi. If you enjoy this you will really enjoy the rest of the series.
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on 14 June 2017
A great book from a visionary writer. I couldn't put the book down read it through in just one day.
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on 25 April 2003
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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on 19 July 2017
Well, this smashed my expectations! For reasons I can't explain now or then I was reluctant to start this. It was so. good. friends.

If this is our future, friends, it's bleak. I think I'd be with the Medievalists on this one and shout 'Back to the soil!' (quietly, in my room where no one can hear me because I'm too socially awkward to do it in public) but then again maybe that's just because I don't know anything else. It's hard to imagine a future where people don't remember what windows were used for.

In The Caves of Steel, every aspect of life is planned for you. Depending on your social status defined by your job level, you might eat in a soup kitchen every night and shower in a communal bathroom, because resources are too tight to use all the water you want, or buy as much fresh produce as you want. Not that there is much fresh produce; even meat is mass-produced using chemistry. Barely anyone can afford the real thing, but once they do it's a privilege they'd rather not lose.

Cities aren't like we know them now but gigantic steel caves, shielding the people inside from fresh air, actual sunshine, and the night sky. In fact, people have become so used to living inside their domes, that the idea of walking outside for any length of time seems impossible.

Elija Baley lives inside such a City, and like most Earthmen he is deeply suspicious of robots. So he's not impressed when his boss asks him to solve a murder with a robot as his partner - but not just any robot. Daneel is a Spacer robot, and if there's one thing Earthmen despise more than robots its Spacers.  Earthmen see Spacers as terrible snobs, while Spacers see Earthmen as filthy residue, so when I say he's not impressed...

Daneel looks more real than any robot Baley has ever seen, and it's not long before Baley suspects Daneel of being the murderer. And he really wants to crack this case, too, because if he does he's promised a higher social rank and therefore more privileges (like actual, fresh meat every now and again).

I love how this book looks back on our time now in such a nostalgic way, and I'm truly amazed with what Asimov did here. His vision for the future was so vivid reading this, and I think that was one of my worries; that this would just be another scifi book talking about flying cars and robots who are superior in every way, but it's not like that at all. Baley even points out once or twice why robots aren't that superior. It all feels so believable, so well thought through. And it becomes even more incredible when I remember that this book was written in 1954, when all this must have been even more astounding.
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