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The Caves of Steel (R. Daneel Olivaw, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1991
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up—Isaac Asimov's mid-20th century tale artfully combines science fiction and detection. William Dufris performs it in multiple voices and with just enough camp to pull in contemporary listeners by playing to the ironies of the period in which the story was written. A human police detective, Baley, lives in New York City a thousand years hence. He's tapped to help solve a murder in a community where robots are not reviled and ends up with a partner, Daneel, who is a highly sophisticated, humanoid machine. Baley and Daneel don't have an easy time with each other or with those New Yorkers, called Medievalists, who despise robots. The action moves swiftly, yet there is time for Asimov to weave in some engaging and edifying glosses on the Bible as literature—and for Baley to smoke, making this as an adult book of the period. While most of Dufris's voices are successful, his interpretation of Baley's 16-year-old son reduces the latter to sounding like a whiney 8-year-old. Asimov's story is a great way to introduce young readers to a polymath who captured the "American century" through futurism and literate character development.—Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"William Dufris breathes new life into this classic science fiction mystery.... Ultimately, he is the perfect narrator for the series, which includes three more novels." ---AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The novel begins with a mystery but rather than being a mystery novel it focuses on investigating sociological aspects of technology, overpopulation and colonisation of space. It is an interesting a thought provoking read and leaves one with wanting to know more about Asimov's universe with its human colonies and robot servants. For that's what the robots are in these novels: friendly and loyal servants for whom it is impossible to turn against their creators. Yet the fundamental laws of robotics may cause interesting twists in their behaviour - a robot cannot harm a human being but it can be manipulated by a human and in this book alone Asimov uses that fact to steer the story.
Despite the four stars I cannot overstate the importance of this novel and recommend it to everyone without reservation.
Second: How robots can help and be the human partner for a better future.
He does this by sucking you into a murder mystery that a human and a partner robot investigate. A story with unexpected twists and turns that makes you react in awe.
This story is of itself great without the extra meaning behind it, with the extra meaning it gets better.
Highly recommended. :)
As to the story: this is a fun story, one of my favorites by Asimov. Honestly, I love all his Robot novels, but stories with androids and AI's always catch my interest. So what could be more fun than a detective novel with a Humanoid robot?
My only complaint is how the hero builds up these grand reveals... Only to fall flat on his face. That always strikes me as amateurish, because real world detectives would not do that. They might explore a theory, but not set up some sort of big scene to "trap the killer."
Aside from the issues that can understandably be attributed to an author who was still relatively new to his craft at the time, I loved the story the first time, and I still do. This would make an excellent movie adaptation... Far better than that Will Smith movie.
If you're wondering whether to read this book... If you like Asimov's other works, you will enjoy this. If you don't like classic SF, complete with the shallow characterization and amusing language, then try his short stories first, to see if his writing does it for you.
As for me, I will be re-buying the rest of this series. It's been too long, and they are too much fun to pass up.
I love everyone of his books, and each brings a great story to the table, if you are looking for a good Saga to start reading, check out his Foundation / Robot series. I've read them all the way through several times and each time, loved each book. Each book builds off the one prior and adds a whole new dynamic to the overall universe while still being able to be enjoyed individually. If you are reading this review, Just check out the book, I guarantee it will be worth it.