Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Synopsis: "It was bad enough when Lije Baley, a simple plainclothes cop, was ordered to solve a totally baffling mystery - the murder of a prominent Spacer. It was worse when he found that the smug, self-satisfied Spacers were behind the pressure to provide an impossibly quick solution. But then Lije discovered the worst of all bad news. The Spacers, distrusting all Earthmen, insisted  he must work with an investigator of their choice. And that investigator turned out to R. Daneel Olivaw. R stood for robot - and Lije hated and feared robots deeply, bitterly and pathologically. (From the back of the book)

Review: This is the first of my cache I've read. Not sure why I picked it up, other then I enjoyed I, Robot (The movie. Haven't read the book) and I've been intending to read more Asimov - as he is the considered one of the three greats in Science Fiction (along with Heilein and Clarke).
Set in the same world as I, Robot, although thousands of years in the future, it wrestles with similar questions about the integration of human and machine.
Police Officer Lije Baley has a grudge against robots - personal and professional - so when he's asked to work with one to solve the murder of a Spacer, the only reason he accepts is the promise of a rating increase. Spacers and Earthmen hate each other - a hate built on distrust, war and fear As Baley and his partner, the robot Daneel get closer to the truth, Baley begins to see things about his world, about Earth, his marriage and his culture he never noticed. And he begins to questions things that people don't want him to question  - and will kill for.
Rumor is that Asimov wrote this because someone else said you can't combine classic who-dun-its and science fiction. For my opinion, he proved that someone incorrect. This has all the pieces of a fine mystery - the rogue police office, the unwanted new partner, the political savvy commissioner, the twists and turns, the sleezy suspect, the fanatical terrorist and the requisite chase through the streets. Or, what passes for streets in The City. True, I guessed the suspect before the big reveal, but I didn't guess the motive or what happened next. I enjoyed reading about Baley's growth as a character, watching his mental world expand.
In the end, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys classic science fiction or mystery with a bit of a deeper strain.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel for 1954

Date Finished: 09-02-2013
Pages: 268

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