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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Robots of Dawn (Panther Books)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 September 2014
The Robots of Dawn is the third large novel about robots from the legendary sci-fi author Issac Asimov.

(The first book being Caves of Steel, the second, The Naked Sun and I would also recommend reading Robot Visions before this as though not necessary some of the short robot stories are referenced in The Robots of Dawn and I found the background knowledge of these made certain story aspects clearer)

The storyline follows a similiar premise to the previous book. Once again Elijah Baley is set in the middle between hummanity's two factions, Earth, the planet of his origin and the far more powerful spacers, 50 colony planets that broke away from their mother planet forming completely different ideas and cultures. Baley is a policeman, quite a good one by all accounts, and having solved a deliate murder on the spacer world of Solaria previously has once again been called upon by the spacers to solve a murder on their most powerful homeworld Aurora. This murder however is of a robot, the accused claims he is innocent but also admits he is the only man who has the skill or knowledge to do it. Baley's task seems to be an impossible one but for his own career and possibly the fate of Earth, he has to try.

I enjoyed this book immensely. While there are robots in the story, they aren't the real focus, it's people's use of the technology in society, how they are viewed, used and occasionally manipulated though never malicious thanks to Asimov's adhered to 3 laws of robotics that form the story, in short this book is fantastic because it's not about robots, but people.

Asimov explores how this technology would change society, effect culture, and the psychological impact, or culture shock if you like, of these different things. Baley being an Earthman has lived in giant hive caved in cities so going outside for him is an unknown and even feared experience, Aurorans find it hard to work together due to their extended lives and Solarians rarely meet other people and live their lives alone, the thought of touching another human repellent. Mixing these elements together with a murder mystery makes for very interesting reading though it can be a tad slow at times.

I recommend both this book and the rest of the series.

+ View of technology and how it effects society is absorbing.
+ Interesting characters.
+ Deep well thought out cultures.
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on 29 June 2017
Book is very nice, but the edition is horrendous with mistakes. Print quality is also horrendous with inconsistent printing and pages are all over the place. Many pages are printed so that the ends of the words are in the binding. Readable, but terribly cheap edition. I've bought all of the books by the Voyager publisher and all of them are like that. Shameful print, if I could give 0 stars I would
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on 5 August 2017
great book by asimov
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on 21 April 2017
It is 20 years since I last read The Caves of Steel, and The Naked Sun; I re-read them and wondered if there were more. The Robots of Dawn did not disappoint. One of those few books which take almost as long to read as the action takes to unfold, and considering how little actually happens it was amazing how my interest and enjoyment was maintained by the sheer skill of the dialogue.
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on 19 March 2017
Isaac Asimov made a great job with his "first period books" (the Foundation Triolgy, the Gods Themselves, Lucky Starr...) then he went on devising his Robots series that deepened the concepts developed in I Robot. In my opinion this proved to be a dead end. It seems that Asimov failed to grasp what informatics or artificial intelligence were about. Instead, he stayed anchored in what by 60's standards was an outdated mentality. Even when this novel ackonwledges the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, his robots are not that: they are clumsy machines that, driven by the Three Laws are somewhat better than computers on legs, but not alternate humans. That is what this novel is about.
Elijah Baley, an Earth policeman, is called to Dawn (the capital planet of Spatian federation, that hates and despises Earth) to solve the supposed killing of a humanoid robot.
There he will work with his old colleage robot Daneel Olivaw, some other robots and Gladia, the female main character in "The naked sun". The novel serves the author to explore the interaction between men and humanoid robots, of different sexual cultures and roles, the possiblities for space exploration... And also to make a prequel bridge to join his Foundation Trilogy and his Robotics series.
However, the experiment fails and he writes a dense novel, where lots of unfair tricks are used to make the plot. Robots are superior and then not, supositions, inferences, etc. are made to help the plot develop, but without further proof in the narrative. Asimov critiziced this in his police novels. Yet he betrayes the reader in the same way.
It is surprising that Asimov elaborates about sexual mores and the possibilities opened by humanoid robots, of societies where sex is no more than a coreograpy or where human contact is so scarce that even sex is better avoided...
All this could make a great novel, but too much writing comes in between, too many assumptions, and in the end I was bored with so much talk than in the end was not useful for the tale. 5000 words less would have been better.
This is a must for you if you are an Asimov fan, or if you want some harmless amusement near the swimming pool durign the summer, but else Asimov has much better books.
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on 15 November 1998
I was 17 when I first read this book and by then I had read quite a few books by the good Doctor. This bowled me over. From the increasing intensity of its characters, storyline and arguments this book drew me. This is the third book of a generally overlooked classic Asimov series - the Lije Baley and R.Daneel Olivaw stories. The first, The Caves of Steel was an excellent book. The second, The Naked Sun was equally good, but this one was and continues to be the most memorable book I have ever read.
The basic premise is of a time when the human race has split into two factions: the agoraphobic Earthers who live in vast underground cities aka Caves of Steel; and the Spacers, descended from earlier explorers, now settled on other worlds. As the Earthers begin to shake of the shackles of their agoraphobia and seek to reach for the stars once again, so the Spacers have become attached to their new worlds with little desire to continue their explorations. To some Spacers the thought of the diseased Earthers regaining a foothold in space is just too much. They must rveise their own exploration plans and that requires the use of humaniform robots, robots which look and act like humans, extremely sophisticated machines. Only one man, a Spacer, has the expertise to construct such robots and he stands accused of the "murder" of the prototype. He alone has the skill to have destroyed its mind, he has the motive, being a supporter of the Earther's new desire to explore. He enlists the aid of Earther detective Lije Baley and early prototype humaniform robot Daneel Olivaw to prove his innocence. What follows is a well crafted and brilliantly written SF mystery novel of the highest order. If you must read one Asimov then read this one.
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on 13 October 2017
What a slog this book is. Tedious dialogue and little else.
Very, very dull.
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on 19 May 2003
This was written much later than the original two robot novels, the three Empire novels, and the Foundation trilogy. It and the following book, ROBOTS AND EMPIRE, link the first two robot books with the Empire series and leads up to Foundation.
There are a couple of points easy to miss here. First, psychohistory is first suggested by Dr. Fastolfe, and then advanced by the two robots. Secondly, while there is a mystery involved here, the emphasis is on the future of space exploration and who is going to be in it. The original pioneers into space have become spoiled by their reliance on their robots and no longer have the spirit of adventure necessary to continue further exploration, and yet they are fearful of the idea of generally despised Earth people colonizing planets.
So much indeed is at stake here. For full enjoyment, I suggest reading first the Susan Calvin stories and also "The Bicentennial Man" which are in Asimov's THE COMPLETE ROBOT, and then THE CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED SUN, the first two Elijah Bailey & R. Daneel Olivaw novels. And be prepared for this book to be more centered on mankind's future venturing into space than in the mystery element.
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on 20 August 2003
The problem with ninety percent of SF is that the characters are often forgotten in favour of the larger picture. Asimov's Robots of Dawn is a detective story with an SF twist, mixing a traditional detective mystery with SF traditions on a world where robots exist along with humans in a curious master/slave relationship. Elijah Baley is called offworld to investigate a case of roboticide, when one of these curiously human robots malfunctions. Much of the awkwardness of this tale comes from the curious mish-mash of detective story and SF story. The robotic element of the story often seems uneccesary and manages to dilute the human elements leaving the reader cold: who cares about each suspect's motives? Who even cares about the concerns of the curiously blank Elijah Baley?
Of course, that's not to say the book is without merit: Asimov shines when discussing the rules of robotics and the philosophical implications of robots that act almost like humans but with limitations placed upon their actions by their creators. These sequences work well and many of the ideas presented are interesting and worthy of debate. But as a story - as pure entertainment - Robots of Dawn fails on a lot of levels. The emotional interest is next to zero and the detective story element is cliched and laughable. The femme-fatale is a femme-fatale in the ultimately traditional sense, making her dull and uninteresting. Elijah Baley has mild moments of interest but ultimately Asimov fails to play his character through convincingly; he becomes just another 'tec going through the motions.
It is not, despite the foregoing criticism, a bad book. But as someone who enjoys both SF and Crime fiction it failed for me because it was ultimately a poor marriage of the two, failing especially on the side of characterisation and the mystery element of the story. If you're a fan of Asimov's writing, of course (Personally I find him variable)this will be worth a read. It passes the time but, personally, I was quite unmoved by anything within the pages.
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on 12 June 1999
'Robots of Dawn' is the last of the Elijah Bayley and R. Daneel Olivaw detective mysteries and by far the best. Asimov brilliantly counterpoises the hopes and ambitions of powerful, brilliant, flawed men and women of the planet Aurora (or Dawn), faithful, constant robots striving to do nothing but please their masters and the hapless intuitive blundering of an Earth detective plucked against his will to solve an unsolvable crime upon which rides the future of mankind. You should read 'Caves of Steel' and 'Naked Sun' before 'Robots of Dawn' as the context they provide will enhance the enjoyment of this book and they are good in their own right. After 'Robots of Dawn' you will not be able to resist its sequel 'Robots and Empire' which is even better and finalises the early part of Asimovs 'history of the future'.
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