on October 9, 2002
Although, in this year 2002, I have just recently finished reading The Robots of Dawn directly after its prequel, The Naked Sun, and thus did not have to endure the 25-year wait between the novels as many who read that book when it came out did, I can assume that they, as I, considered it worth the wait. This is a very good novel, indeed. When Asimov first began writing his robot stories in the 40's, the concept itself was relatively new and bold - and, to many, unthinkable. Of course, when this book finally came out, in 1983, robots were no longer a novelty - and the dictations of their behavior had, by then, moved beyond Asimov's original fundamental Three Laws of Robotics. Still, the conflicts in this book, as in virtually all of Asimov's other robot stories, hinge crucially on those Three Laws, and the complications inherent therein. It is amazing that, as much as Asimov had already written on the subject up to that point, he could still come up with new and novel twists relating to them - but he does, indeed, and does so very well here. Although the actual unraveling of the mystery itself, as in The Naked Sun, never quite reaches the peak of intensity and excitement as did the plot of The Caves of Steel (the first novel in this series), this is, nevertheless, a far more ambitious work than the previous two books - not only in length, but also in scope. With this book, Asimov also begins to tie in the Robot series with the Empire and Foundation serieses (as he does in the sequel, Robots and Empire) to create one grand, monumental fictional universe. This is a testament to the skill and unique visionary perspective of one of the greatest fiction - not just science fiction writers - of the 20th century. Anyone who loved The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun will undoubtedly love this further amazing edition to the series.
... With a backdrop of human cultures on several worlds with enormous social and political differences, the context of the story creates subtle plot lines that can be followed many ways. There is the crowded planet Earth, where the population has retreated under domes and no longer experiences weather and has extreme phobias towards robots. The Spacer worlds are sparsely populated, and the population avoids human contact, except when necessary for breeding. Nearly all of the work on the Spacer worlds is done by robots, which outnumber the humans by hundreds to one. The Spacer worlds consider humans to be dirty creatures, harboring many infectious agents and it is socially unacceptable for humans to travel to Spacer worlds.
However, there is no better investigator than Lije Baley, and when a prized robot on a Spacer world has it's mind destroyed, he is called from Earth to solve the mystery. Like Asimov's other robot stories, the plot hinges many times on conflicts arising from the three laws of robotics. So simple to state, the number of nuances that Asimov can generate from them is amazing. ... there are so many possible angles to the story that the ending was truly a surprise.
At this time, no one really knows what the structure of the brain of the first truly intelligent robots will be like. However, it is certain that social and legal pressures will dictate that the three laws of robotics must be embedded into their behavior. Asimov has given us a glimpse into the future in his stories about robots and their potential behaviors. The scientific predictions may fail, but there is no doubt that he is accurate concerning the behavior of robots. ...
on March 22, 2002
Police Investigator Lije Baley has solved several mysteries with his robot partner and friend R. Daneel Olivaw, but now he is presented with an impossible situation--and a situation that Earth's and humanity's survival depends upon. A human-formed robot has been 'killed,' yet the only man with the capacity to destroy the robot in this way is the man whose efforts may save Earth. Worse, Baley's investigations take place on Aurora, the planet of dawn. And on Aurora, as in all the spacer world, Earth-humans are regarded as sewers of disease, short life, and ignorance.
Author Isaac Asimov develops his most emotionally compelling stories in his robot series and THE ROBOTS OF DAWN certainly shows this lineage. Not only is Baley re-united with his partner, but he also finds himself involved with the spacer woman who holds a special place in his heart. Using a combination of logic, bull-headed determination, and intuitive leaps, Baley proves that good investigative techniques are a universal, whether on Earth or in the spacer worlds.
Asimov, one of the masters of the golden age of Science Fiction, further develops his wonderful partnership between human and robot. While perhaps not as powerfully compelling as the two earlier works in this series (THE CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED SUN), fans of these books will find THE ROBOTS OF DAWN completely enjoyable. Likewise, fans of Asimov's FOUNDATION series will find that Asimov used ROBOTS as a transitional novel between these two series, explaining how the society described in the Robot books is able to transform into that of FOUNDATION.
Written in the early 1980s, ROBOTS shows a mixture of sophisticated futurism and curious misses. I was amused by the way Asimov's robots skillfully input data into the computer system--surely any robot sophisticated enough to be self-aware would be able to input data directly (e.g., through a wireless, wired, or infra-red link) rather than requiring digital manipulation. Readers who consider the pre-PC era in which this novel was written, however, will appreciate Asimov's reach in his futurism rather than his misses.
on April 24, 2001
On the world of Aurora, politics dominates the day. The prominent roboticist who created the humaniform robots is accused by his political nemesis of a very serious crime. Once again, he calls upon Elijah Baley, the now galactically-reknowned police detective from Earth. And once again, Baley must travel to another Spacer world, where by his very Earth-nativity, he is treated with hostility. Again, Asimov sheds light on the dichotomy of the Earth and Spacer cultures, where reliance on robots on the Spacer worlds has made them weak in a sense, while the human aversion to anything robotic has also failed in its prejudice. At stake is the very future of the Earth natives ability to expend outward as they once did to found the Spacer worlds, a future very much opposed by the majority of the Spacer populace. If Baley fails to exonerate the accused, then the reactionary elements of Aurora's political entity will prevent any Earth colonizations. Again, Baley teams with R. Daneel Olivaw to solve the mystery. It was this novel in which first we began to see Asimov tying together his three marked series: Robot, Empire, and Foundation. Again, as with the previous two Robot novels, Asimov shed more light on the nature of humanity after expansion into space, while setting the groundwork for the far-flung future of his following series.
on April 20, 1999
The best science fiction places more emphasis on the art of fiction than on the excitement inherent in the promise of future science. It is Asimov's brilliance to place timeless themes of human conflict in a unique setting, permitting an examination of those themse from previously unknown perspectives.
And so in "Robots Of Dawn" Elijah Baley, the quintessential Everyman, is thrust into conflict by forces beyond his control and is forced to confront a succession of seemingly intractable problems charged with terrible geo-political and personal ramifications Baley is armed only with his relentlessly honest character, and two very useful, but also very limited aids, in the robots Daneel and Giskard. The dialogue that Baley has with his robot assistants is near-perfect in pitch, as the three work relentlessly, with a combination of pure logic on the part of the robots and logic tempered by knowledge of human nature on the part of Baley, through each hurdle presented by a hopelessly insoluable murder mystery.
That the mystery will be solved is left in doubt to the very end of the story, and each suceeding chapter brings the reader both closer to and farther from the solution. In the course of unveiling clues to the murder, clues to nature of human conflict, to Asimov's "Psychohistory," are also revealed, and carefully explored.
In the end, while the solution to the murder is wholly satisfying, it is the depth of the characters, their extraordinarily real personalities, that stays with the reader. This book is not just for science fiction readers, but for anyone who enjoys beautiful, clear, and highly intelligent writing.
on January 26, 1999
Just when you thought the first two books "Caves of Steel" and "The Naked Sun" were as good as Asimov gets, here comes "The Robots of Dawn" and knocks them both down in one blow.
In this novel, a middle aged Detective Elijah Baley sets out on his most defying investigation ever. His journey takes him to the capital of the Spacer Worlds; the planet Aurora, where he is reunited with his old partner R. Daneel Olivaw.
The story has everything that I missed in the first two books, including some romance with the sexy Gladia Delmarre (which Lije was always too cautious about in "The Naked Sun").
Asimov hooks you on the "whodunnit" trail right from the start, and gives you a knock on the head right at the end. Truly spectacular, a work of a genuis.
In this book, Asimov makes Aurora feel like your own world, describing every bit of detail with superb depictions and without a single sense of tediousness. For the first time, the relationship of robots with humans when it comes to sexual intercourse is explored, and how the three laws of robotics handle it.
An absolute MUST read for all those who adored the first two books of the robot series. Isaac Asimov, I personaly salute you.
on September 2, 1998
Robots of Dawn was the first fiction book that I ever read that I just had to finish. Before I read this great book I had read mostly non-fiction: History; economics; religion; political science; sociology; psychology. I had always considered fiction as non-reality, and it mattered not if I finished a fictional book. However, it all changed with this wonderful Science Fiction Mystery Novel.
The Robots of Dawn made me a devoted Asimov Fan. I read every work of fiction that I could find that had been written by Isaac Asimov, after completing this wonderful novel.
The Story shows an intuitive understanding of computers that few in the world could posses, and yet I understand that Isaac Asimov was not trained in the science of cybernetics. The man was pure visionary genius, to say the least.
Asimov was not all science. He was very human. And humanness came through in this book and all the fiction written by the Grand Master.
I can usually figure out who done it, in a mystery novel. They don't usually present a challenge to me. But in this one, I missed it. I had to know who had done the foul evil deed. Asimov hooked me from the start--the mark of a great mystery writer.
Though there were many more in this series, and Asimov was big on series, he could take an idea and run with it forever, no other Asimov book was the solid mystery that Robots of Dawn is. The story was masterfully written by one of the three writers who established modern science fiction. Asimov said in one of his autobiographies, he wrote three autobiographies and they are all very interesting, that Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and himself, were considered to have laid the foundation for modern science fiction. I would accept that as fact. All these writers were great scientists. A scientist who can write fiction seems to have a great intuition for what is possible in science. Asimov certainly was a visionary in the field of Science.
If you like Science fiction, you will love this great book. If you like mystery stories, and don't hate science fiction, you will adore this wonderful story written by one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time.
on May 10, 2004
The robot novels were always my favorite of Asimov's work. This book was written by the science-fiction master well into his career, demonstrating a significant improvement in his powers. This builds on the characters introduced in Caves of Steel and Naked Sun. You should read those before venturing into this novel.
Asimov combines the mystery genre and many of his futurist ideas together in this series. Not only do you get to experience a great mystery-adventure, but you're also exploring the social consequences of near-human robots. Daneel Olivaw, the robot partner to detective Elijah Baley, is one of the most memorable characters in the field of speculative fiction.
This is the best place to start reading Asimov. The sequel, Robots and Empire, is excellent as well. After reading the Robots books, try the Foundation series, which starts slower but gets very good--and ultimately rewards readers of the Robot books by tieing it all together.
on February 13, 2004
"The Robots of Dawn" is the third fascinating novel in the awesome science fiction series involving Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw. The gifted roboticist Han Fastolfe asks the agoraphobic (afraid of open places) plainclothes cop Elijah Baley, since he solved previous mysteries, to unravel a crime committed on Aurora. The offense entails the murder of one Jander Parnell and as Fastolfe is the most likely candidate to have caused the crime, he trusts only Elijah and Daneel, a technological masterpiece restricted in his behavior by the Laws of Robotics, to pursue the case. Although Elijah faced the open airs of Solaria, he will struggle with his phobia on Aurora while becoming accustomed to the robots of a different society. Another lovable robot enters the picture to associate with the dynamic duo in the crime solving process. The story is well written and kept me interested throughout with a gripping ending.
on December 11, 1999
Well, here it is: the final robots mystery starring Baley and Daneel. Personally, I think this falls to second or third place in the trilogy, with The Naked Sun as first place. This is in no way a knock of the book, mind you. This book's plot is more involved, making the mystery aspect even tougher to solve. I had thought of the solution, but never given it any thought. This novel takes place on Aurora, the main Spacer world. Its a pleasent mix--not population saturated like Earth, but not robot city like Solaria. My only sort of complaint--sometimes it seemed a bit too long. However, when I finished it, I wished it was longer. Go figure. Now that this novel is done, and Baley has solved his final case, there is only one place to go-- Robots and Empire