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on 25 April 2003
While this is basically a second science fiction/mystery featuring the team of Earth NYC police detective Elijah Bailey and android R. Daneel Olivaw, the future history thread is taken further as Bailey's determination to spur interest on Earth in colonization on other worlds steadily increases. As he works to deal with his agoraphobia, having never been outside Earth's "caves of steel" previously, this determination becomes ever more obsessive.
The mystery itself borrows from the classic "locked room" mystery genre. This murder could not have happened because the Solarians can't stand being in each other's presence long enough to murder another. However, it did happen and since husbands and wives do need to be in each other's presence for purposes of procreation, the victim's wife is the obvious suspect.
Bailey is hampered in his investigation by three factors: his agoraphobia, the Solarians' aversion to be in another's presence (presence of an Earthman being even worse than the presence of another Solarian since Earthmen are considered disease carriers), and R. Daneel Olivaw's over-protectiveness due to his adherence to the three laws of robots.
All in all, this is indeed a well-crafted mystery as well as science fiction novel, and an excellant early novel in Asimov's future history.
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2004
Asimov was a creative thinker, and a beloved science fiction author. Sad to say, he was not the best writer in the world, having no notion of character development and falling into cliche far too often. Having said that, it's possible to read Asimov's books with great enjoyment if you overlook these faux pas.
"The Naked Sun" is a continuation of "The Caves of Steel", introducing the detective pair Lije Bailey, human, and Daneel Olivaw, robot. In "Caves", the pair team up for the first time to solve the murder of a Spacer, an outworlder living on steel-clad, subterranean Earth. Based on their success, the duo are tapped to solve a murder mystery on Solaria, one of the Spacer planets, along with Aurora, that are the first extra-terrestrial settlements of human beings.
Solaria is a peculiar place. The invention of tri-dimensional television projection (which sounded futuristic when the novel was written but now sounds plausible) was adopted by the Solarians with fervor, so much so, that actual physical contact and presence is considered on par with bathroom subjects. The rich planet, with its lavish estates of orchards, factories or farms, is presided over by a limited number of Solarians who live in splendid isolation, surrounded by fleets of robots to run their enterprises. From status (only a few people and many robots) the Solarians first limited physical contact as a way of showing wealth, then it became a mania, a sort of agoraphobia, where breathing the air that is polluted by another's presence is considered more than a bit distasteful. Solarians are quite social--but all socializing is done via tridimensional projection. Only husbands and wives (and the occasional doctor) are ever tolerated up close.
So, in a world where physical proximity and of course, sexual intercourse a necessary but unpleasant evil (they hadn't considered artificial implantation?) how does a MURDER occur if an individual could not stand to be in the presence of another and all robots are guided by the Three Laws and cannot harm a person? This is the puzzle Lije and Daneel are to solve. It's complicated by the disturbing presence of Gladia, the beautiful widow of the victim. She is the prime suspect, of course, but what was her motive?
Lije is sadly, cloned from the hard-boiled detective cliche like Sergeant Friday of "Dragnet", but less so in "Naked Sun" than "Caves of Steel." Gladia, however, is quite successful as the troubled woman. The plot of this book is intricate, and the novel flies by--a page-turner. Along with "The Gods Themselves", I think this is one of Asimov's best novels.
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on 12 June 1999
This is the second of Asimovs' Elijah Bayley and R. Daneel Olivaw detective trilogy. They met in 'Caves of Steel' which are the overcrowded permanantly covered cities of Earth. In 'Naked Sun' earth detective Elijah is plucked from his home world and transported to Solaria a world with 10,000 robots to each human to team up again with human like robot R. Daneel Olivaw to solve a murder case with galactic consequences. In doing so he has to fight his agrophobia and be out in the 'Naked Sun' for the first time in his life. To Solarians Earthmen are disease ridden, short lived and take the disgusting habit of actually being in the presence of other humans for granted. On Solaria inhabitants never actually 'see' each other in person only 'view' each other over holographic links. Meetings between husband and wife are exclusively for procreation and not spoken of in polite society. So who could have visciously smashed the skull of a prominent 'good' Solarian roboticist leaving an unknown robot with a permanantly frozen brain and where was the murder weapon? As the story unfolds Elijah forms an increasingly dependant bond with his robot partner and a strange relationship with the murdered mans young widow Gladia. Asimovs talent for story telling and weaving mystery into a well crafted plot is well displayed in this book. The people who live such strange lives are so believable. Bayleys intuitive blundering and Daneels constant logicality and desire to protect the Earthman suck the reader in to a world so far removed from our own in space and time and yet we understand and symperthize. If you read and enjoyed 'Caves of Steel' you will enjoy 'Naked Sun' and at the end you'll be hooked and need to read its sequel 'Robots of Dawn'.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2014
Having recently decided to invest in reading classic sci-fi, Asimov was pretty high on my list of authors to look into. This is both the second book in the robot series as well as the second of his titles I have so far read and I must admit while I enjoyed the first book (Caves of Steel) a lot, The Naked Sun takes the core of what made it good and expands on it making it not only a great sequel, but an all round great book.

The story once again focuses on Elijah Baley a detective on Earth who has been charged with investigating a murder, this murder is on another planet ruled by colonists called spacers, no earthman has ever set foot there before and it's an uncomfortable experience for both sides.

What I loved about Caves of Steel is in abundance here, this isn't a book about police, murder, or even robots though all three aspects are present, it's about the differences in culture between earth and the spacers, how they live so differently based on their environments and upbringing with the earthmen living in super cities almost like hives, eating and showering communally, every inch of space earned through career for small extra luxuries compared with one planet of the spacers where they have so much space and robots to tend their every need that even being in sight of each other physically makes them feel sick. The, I suppose psychology would be the word, of it all and experience Baley goes through trying to understand it all rather hooked me so I read The Naked Sun happily in one day (It is fairly short regardless).

Rather a shame that books three and four in the series (Robots of Dawn & Robots and Empire) to reasons unknown to me aren't available on the kindle at time of writing this. Still I have purchased the physical books as I will not miss the next in the series. If you're looking for a sci-fi series with more to it than space ships and lasers then this is a good bet.

+ Clever detective novel.
+ Different ways humans have evolved to live is fascinating.
+ Interesting look at technology.
+ Excellent themes.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2016
This is the second of Asimov's full length robot novels featuring Earth detective Elijah Bailey and Robot Daneel Olivaw. Another re-read from my youth, this is one of my all time favourite novels. It's the perfect blend of brilliant dialogue and detective ratiocination by "Partner Elijah", as Olivaw (out of action for over a third of the novel, but still a great character) calls him. Set almost entirely on the planet Solaria, where human individualism and dependence on robots has found its ultimate expression, the characters are rather more memorable than those in its predecessor novel, The Caves of Steel, and their ways of thinking, contrasting with those of Elijah and his fellow Earthmen, are vividly and memorably drawn. Wonderful stuff.
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on 27 July 2016
A tremendous detective story set in space in an oddly retro future. By far the best of the three Asimovs featuring plainclothesman Baley, not being lumbered with long passages about changed societies. Very interesting to read in the context of modern AI and robotics, and a good balance between adventure and "hard" sci-fi.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2001
The 'Naked Sun' is the 2nd of Issac Asimov's SF detective novels, and is probably the best (the only other contender is this books forerunner 'The Caves of Steel.' Asimov presents us with a future where much of humanity has left for the stars and the Earth has become a sort of overcrowded ghetto for those who remain. Earthmen are now generally confined to their planet, and it is extremely unusal for any to leave. Earthmen are now considered inferior by the instellar colonists who call themselves 'Spacers.'
As well as presenting a compelling mystery and reuniting the two main characters from the previous book Daneel Olivaw and Elijah Bayley, 'The Naked Sun' paints a compelling picture of a society far removed from our own. Not all of Issac Asimov's work tallied with his legendary status...but if you want a book that will demonstrate how he achieved it, this ones for you
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on 30 June 2016
The second book in the 'Lige Bailey' trilogy, where he once again proved very wrong those critics who'd said it was impossible to write a successful detective mystery set against a future, science-fiction background! A brilliant book! I just LOVE Azimov!
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on 29 November 2015
As a book I would give this 5 stars but my review is specifically for the eBook and the problem here is that for some reason the publishers have seen fit to remove all ebook versions of Asimovs Robot series and Foundation novels after the first 2 in the series, making it impossible to actually follow the series in ebook format. These are classic novels and it is ridiculous that they are not available in ebook format.
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on 18 March 2014
To really enjoy this you need to have read Asimov's "The Steel Sky" first, otherwise you won't fully understand the relationship between Earth detective Elijah Bailey and his robot friend and colleague R.Daneel Olivaw or the reasons for Bailey's intense agoraphobia, both of which are important plot devices. As in "The Steel Sky", Asimov's human hero is both fallible and prone to jumping to wrong conclusions, which is part of the story's charm and a handy way of tying up loose ends at the conclusion, ensuring Bailey reaches a decision which, although deliberately wrong, has massive implications for the future of humanity, a theme Asimov explored in the long-awaited sequel to this novel, "The Robots of Dawn", and in his Galactic Empire and Foundation series of novels. On the other hand, you could just treat this as a fairly good detective story with several unlikely twists.
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