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The Caves of Steel (The Robot Series)

The Caves of Steel (The Robot Series)

4.4 88
by Isaac Asimov

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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.  Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.  Like most


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.  Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.  Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions.  But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer.  The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start.  Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner:  R. Daneel Olivaw.  Worst of all was that the "R" stood for robot—and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 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

From the Publisher
"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

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Robot Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.76(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“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

Meet the Author

Isaac Asimov began his Foundation series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned more than 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas, which include the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America, Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decades. He died, at the age of seventy-two, in April 1992.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
January 20, 1920
Date of Death:
April 6, 1992
Place of Birth:
Petrovichi, Russia
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Columbia University, B.S. in chemistry, 1939; M.A. in chemistry, 1941; Ph.D. in biochemistry, 1948

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The Caves of Steel (The Robot Series) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't read this in years but I needed to leave a review for one of my favorite books of all-time. This book got me into reading in general, not just sci-fi. Asimov was a master of his craft, and this book could easily appeal to those who would otherwise have no interest in sci-fi because it reads well as a mystery, too. I read this a decade ago and the world that is created within still stays with me. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big sci-fi fan and I love Asimov but this book was extraordinary and it hooked me into the trilogy. It has to be one of the best books I have ever read and recommend it to everyone. The thing that made it so enoyable was the way he combined mystery and sci-fi together, a pure masterpiece. If you do not love this book by the end then sci-fi is not your genre.
Starfire32210 More than 1 year ago
Readable over and over and over.
Eric Riley More than 1 year ago
Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel is a tribute all in itself to the author, who had not only the talent of writing a story both part science fiction and part mystery, but the gift to create something as complex as psychology - robot psychology. For once we can truly understand robots, and can view ourselves from their eyes. It is both a humbling and a disturbing image that we glimpse, but that is what makes Asimov's works so great: They are true to reality. I think this belongs in a genre of its own, along with the Foundation novels: Intellectual Thriller.
Michael Hamilton More than 1 year ago
I just read Caves of Steel this past week. It had been some time since I had read anything related to Asimov's Robots serirs; the last time being in highdchool, circa 1999. What really surprises me, though this novel was written in the 1950s, the narrative still holds up very well. Certainly, there are some items in the narrative which date the story a little bit, but these are easily over-looked. Asimov is a great writer, and can easily get you to keep turning the pages to find out whst happens next. Fun read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a huge Asimov fan growing up and still find the books entertaining 20 years later. a lot of the novel is kind of clunky and hokey, but on the other find I find many of the ideas still very compelling. Is there something in humankind that would be resistant to getting robot assistance, even if that meant making their lives more difficult? Still a fascinating look at possible future psychology, and how the human race is in danger of undergoing a type of speciation if groups are too separate. It is also entertaining how Asimov puts so many diverse threads into one book- detective thriller, speculative future, history lesson, even a kind of love story. As an entree into the robot/galactic empire/foundation world of asimov, this book is indispensible, along with I Robot. It is fascinating how different this book is from the Foundation stories- Asimov may not have been a stylist on the level of a Ray Bradbury or Theodore Sturgeon, but he was certainly capable of a diverse array of writing styles.
Digifreke More than 1 year ago
I'd read I, Robot and, liking robots as much as I do, I was told by some friends from college that I should pick this one up. I loved it! I was expecting the first chapter or two to go like it did in I, Robot (which I couldn't put down, by the way), but once I got into chapter 3, I literally stayed up hours to finish reading it. Earth created robots, but when humanity branched out into space, the Spacers took the robots and most of Earth doesn't want anything to do with them-- and suddenly, an Earth detective is assigned a highly advanced robot to help solve the murder of the same Spacer who created that robot! A really great book if you love the futuristic, robotic side of Science Fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So many people express their distaste of the strange genre of science fiction, including myself until reading this novel. What makes Isaac Asimov such a great sci-fi writer is that the world he creates is so visually complete that we can really picture it in our imagination. But fortunately, the grand technology of the future doesn't take center stage. It is the characters and the intriguing plot that draw us into the story. While it is a satisfying mystery, it is also a story of hope in a future filled with friction between humans and progressing technology.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book, I never expected it to lead me to voraciously reading another 10 books after it. It's amazing how all of Asimov's works interweave with each other. From the Robot novels you should move to the Foundation Series (starting with Prelude to Foundation and then Foward the Foundation, etc.) I love how he ties both series together. A set of books that I will read over and over again and not tire of to be sure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have already read I, robot. It is awesome, and my favorite is 'Robbie'. At first, I did not know it was short stories, but then I got it. The book is beat; it fell into a bowl of juice when i took a vacation to yellowstone, and it is beat up, but it is simply an awesome book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is pretty tight. You should get the whole robot series. Asimov is awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, this is neither complex or a masterpice, yet it is a great story that is wonderfully descriptive a awesome. Science fiction, yet you may actually lear a thing or two. Read this book and find out what I mean.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful and complex science fiction mystery. Very good ending (it's always who you least suspect)!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a very captivating, complex plot sure to impress and please any sci-fi/fantisy enthusiast. It is the best most well written science fiction book i've ever read. The creativity, details, concepts, mystey, human and robotic reactions and interactions are outstanding and come together to form A MUST READ MASTERPIECE!.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was summond here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts to pant then goes to nursery
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Not very long. I'm ready to fight though." he stood and stretched.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi Tidechaser. My bio is up under Leafstar and co.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*leans on a tree and sharpens her claws with a rock* "hey nightshade, want to get a lesson or two done today?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fu<_>cking bit<_>ch.
mnsb More than 1 year ago
still great even if a bit old fashioned
PatrickKanouse More than 1 year ago
Years ago I read, The Caves of Steel (R. Daneel Olivaw, Book 1) by Isaac Asimov, and I have re-read it just recently. Asimov's writing has, in general, lost its golden luster in my eyes--in my youth I was awed by Asimov, particularly the Foundation series. However, while the writing may have lost its luster, his ideas have not (even if specific ones seem out of date now), and I think that this book is one of his better written books. The story starts after the murder of Sarton, a Spacer who had been living on Earth in the special Spacer colony. Lije Baley, a New York detective is teamed up with R. Daneel Olivaw, a robot assigned by the Spacers to work with the Earthers in solving the crime. In the past, riots against Spacers and robots have led to tensions, and it is feared that Sarton's murder will spark a complete break. Lije must navigate his personal life and own ambivalences in dealing with Olivaw, who has a nearly perfect human appearance. Lije tests out several theories with Olivaw in who the murderer could be before finally figuring it out correctly. The Caves of Steel is a detective story set in the future, and that is its primary forward momentum. As populations grew, megacities developed, which are essentially enclosed, cramped spaces where humans do nearly everything communally. Promotions and added responsibilities increase a person's ranking, providing greater living space, more privacy, real chicken, and so on. However, the primary theme of the novel, for me, is that of xenophobia. Xenophobia of spacers and robots. What's interesting is that Lije (and many others) is not wholly inaccurate. The Spacers do have a hidden agenda (even if benevolent) and the robots are replacing humans in jobs--but the society amplifies these real concerns into hateful stereotypes that are destructive, the block Lije's and Earth's ability to escape its disastrous future.  Let's not forget, of course, that this novel fleshes out more the Three Laws of Robotics. While not central to the novel, they do come in to play in how Lije evaluates Olivaw. AI, &quot;personhood,&quot; and robotics have two--to me--particularly interesting turns in this novel. The first is that human live in these megacities (i.e., caves of steel), while the Spacers and their robots live, in Spacetown on Earth, in the open. Many see cities as antithetical to being &quot;human,&quot; particularly in cramped, subsistence existence. Who is more &quot;unnatural&quot; in this sense? Lije or Olivaw? Also, at one point, a human created robot--which one cannot mistake for anything but a robot--is killed. Most of the people around Lije don't view it as a homicide because it's just a robot. Property damage. But Lije has clearly shifted in his thinking, but he explicitly calls it murder. His contact with Olivaw has allowed him to see sentience as what gives a &quot;thing&quot; &quot;personhoood&quot;--thus murder is possible. Very much recommended. A classic of science fiction that has earned the designation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good mystery, good characters, OK resolution. It's classic Asimov, though, so read it if you haven't!