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The Naked Sun (The Robot Series) Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 213 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Asimov's Robot Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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. On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots--unthinkable under the laws of Robotics--or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!

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. On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots--unthinkable under the laws of Robotics--or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!
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Product Details

  • Series: The Robot Series (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra Books by Bantam Books (December 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553293397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553293395
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE NAKED SUN is a witty little novel that is unmistakably a product of Isaac Asimov. Not just because of the ubiquitous robots, but because of the familiar themes that Asimov explored over the course of his decades-long career. On the surface, the novel is a science-fiction mystery story told in the author's usual enjoyable style. But by the time I reached the end of the book, I realized that Asimov had been doing something a little cleverer than his normal runaround, and upon reaching the conclusion, I immediately flipped back and started revisiting some of the earlier scenes to catch what I had missed the first time around.
THE NAKED SUN starts up where THE CAVES OF STEEL left off, although you certainly do not need to have read the earlier book to enjoy this one. Earthman Detective Elijah Baley is once again teamed up with R. (for Robot) Daneel Olivaw to solve an unexplained murder. The gimmick this time is that the homicide occurred on one of the mysterious Outer Worlds, and Baley must not only act as policeman, but as an unofficial spy for an Earth government curious as to what the culture is like on those advanced, robot-dependent planets.
The mystery is rather clever, although I did figure out what the murder weapon must have been before Baley did. As usual with Asimov's mysteries, I found myself enjoying the investigation more than the occasional plot logic that's thrown to the audience. In the case of this book, the storyline has some solid twists and turns, the only real flaw being that the cast of characters is so small that one could just pick a suspect at random to have a pretty good shot of correctly identifying the killer.
The real star of this story is the universe that Asimov builds.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Naked Sun is the second book in Asimov's robot series and probably my favorite but all are worth reading. This book continues the futuristic Sherlockian adventure of Elijah Bailey and his straight-man robot sidekick Daneel Olivaw. This time they journey to the planet of Solaria to solve a murder that has political implications across the galaxy.

Asimov creates and socially interesting world in Solaria where people avoid human contact, live miles apart from each other and dependent upon robots to automate their society and keep their standard of living of high. Asimov deftly ties the intricacies of the Solarians into the mystery of the murder and ongoing multi book arc or robot progression. The whole thing is executed with Asimov's straightforward style and the character interaction and relationship between the two main characters is excellent as well.

I highly recommend this series to any science fiction fan as this is really top shelf sci-fi writing from the best. The series should be read in order though and one should start with the I, Robot short story collection before proceeding to The Caves of Steel (which is the predecessor to this novel). Also this series is entirely appropriate for any one of at least high school age.

Bottom Line: This series was revolutionary when it came out in the 50's. It's still one of the best ones out there.
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The Naked Sun is the sequel to The Caves of Steel, and like that is a detective story set on the featuring robot-hating Plainclothesman Baley and, as if to prove Asimov really could predict the future, or movie-making of the '80s anyway, his entirely unsuited partner R Daneel Olivaw, a robot. Unlike CoS it's set on the (spacer) planet Solaria, a planet of few people and many, servile, robots.
I was a little disappointed after reading CoS, and was expecting something of the sort here, but that didn't happen. CoS was set on an Earth which I found awkwardly described - you got the impression Asimov was trying to say things about the way people thought but couldn't quite get them out. No such problem with The Naked Sun, where Baley's future-Earth foibles are out in the open (figuratively and literally), and Asimov also successfully hints for the first time that a utopia made up of a world where everything is done for you and where people can live for hundreds of years may, possibly, be flawed, a thesis that becomes stronger in "Robots of Dawn" and "Robots and Empire."
Asimov wrote that CoS was an attempt to answer a critic that it was impossible to combine the genres of science fiction with detective stories. The Naked Sun is much more than an answer to that challenge, it's one of Asimov's earliest studies of humanity, and it's a well written thoroughly readable one at that.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like all of Asimov's best works, this novel is a tight exploration into how humans operate. He contrasts humans both with robots and with aliens in the work, and though humans have the lower hand here, he offers hope for the future. The book happens to be a well-crafted mystery as well, just as it happens to be science fiction. Good science fiction posits humans in exotic locales doing ultimately familiar things. The fear of Elijah Bailey is a bit odd, since it is of open spaces and sunlight, but we all fear things, and Asimov gets to the heart of what fear is and how it can--and in the humans' situation in the novel--must be overcome. It is an extremely satisfying book, as most mystery novels are not.
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