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The Caves of Steel (Robot #1)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  53,319 Ratings  ·  1,484 Reviews
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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 12th, 206 pages
Published 1997 by Voyager (first published February 1954)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 04, 2013 Manny rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Isaac Asimov had opinions on everything, and he'd often find ways to insert them into his books. I was reminded of Caves a couple of months ago when I read Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride, which is in many ways an updated version of the Jezebel story from I Kings. Atwood gives Jezebel a rough ride. Here's what Asimov has to say:
The Jezebel of the Bible was a faithful wife and a good one according to her lights. She had no lovers that we know of. After Jezebel's husband, King Ahab, died, her s
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
I thought I'd read this before. I really thought I had. But maybe I just saw it on my Mom's headboard when I was little, with other Asimovs, and thought I'd read it. Because it rang not a bell at all.

Except that I knew within the first 30 pages who the murderer was. So either I had read it and blocked out everything but that, or Asimov didn't construct his mystery particularly well in this case. I think it's the latter. It's a matter of a few extraneous details at a moment that felt far too obvi
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Just re-read this after having first read it many years ago. Asimov was a superb story-teller and his books are almost always fun, easy to read and full of big ideas. This one is no exception.

Set on Earth many millennia before the time when the The Foundation Trilogy takes place, it is a time when humans have been divided into two main groups, the Earthmen and the Spacers. The first are those 8 Billion souls on Earth living in massively croweded "mega cities" (the Caves of Ste
I enjoyed Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel so much more than I did his Foundation. This is essentially a detective story set in a future world of megacities, space exploration, and human/robot interaction. The chief tension in this future society is that of overpopulation. There are too many people and their numbers are constantly growing; soon they will pass the point of sustainability on Earth. The book explores a couple of possible solutions to this problem. One is a return to the soil, a si ...more
Attempt #2. I wrote a very eloquent long review and then lost it :P It's happened to all of us!

Lots of food for thought in this relatively short story.

I tried to read Foundation a while ago and couldn't get into it. I found it dense and difficult to read and put it down after the first chapter, so I was a bit nervous that I'd encounter the same style in The Caves of Steel. I was very pleasantly surprised to find this very easy reading and full of insightful deep ideas to boot! Needless to say I
Caves of Steel is a detective story, set around the murder of a Spacer (a visiting colonist from another world). But I think it's fair to say that Asimov is at least as much interested in building his world as he is in the mystery itself. It's a good thing, because the mystery isn't entirely satisfactory.

The world he builds, on the other hand... Now that's interesting. Earth's population has been sequestered in cities and subjected to strict rationing. Intelligent and vaguely human-like robots a
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Just re-read this after having first read it many years ago. Asimov was a superb story-teller and his books are almost always fun, easy to read and full of big ideas. This one is no exception.

Set on Earth many millennia before the time when the The Foundation Trilogy takes place, it is a time when humans have been divided into two main groups, the Earthmen and the Spacers. The first are those 8 Billion souls on Earth living in massively croweded "mega cities" (the Caves of Ste
Nathan Boole
Jan 18, 2013 Nathan Boole rated it it was ok
So, initially I was going to give this book one star. It is my opinion that Asimov is frightfully overrated, even compared with other authors who were his contemporaries, and therefore lived in, and wrote from, the same social climate.

Nearly all of the human characters were frustratingly stupid throughout most of the book. The one woman in the book was basically just in the story to be hysterical, gullible, and even nonsensical.

The protagonist, though he is allegedly a competent professional det
Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, 2fiction, 1audio
This was fun. I haven't read it in decades & never listened to it before. It was well suited to an audio book & the reader was good.

It was a good murder mystery, although the guilty party was telegraphed early. Just the details were missing. Still, the book wasn't primarily about that, but a look at the human condition in a crowded future. That was interesting, although harmed by out dated technology & I wish he'd steered clear of numbers. The world retreated to urban 'caves of steel
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Caves of Steel (Robot #1), Isaac Asimov
عنوان: غارهای پولادی؛ آیزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: شهریار بهترین؛ تهران، آواره، 1363، در 398 ص؛ داستانهای علمی تخیلی؛
Jan 14, 2010 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good sci-fi
While "I, Robot" may be more recognized as the source for Asimov's famous three laws of robotics, it's his series of books about the partnership between a human detective, Lije Bailey and his android partner, R. Danell Olivaw, that are the more compelling and fascinating.

"The Caves of Steel" is the first (and best of the four) entry in the series, introducing us to Bailey, Daneel and a future world in which humanity lives inside massive, interconnected steel domes. Humans rarely venture outside
You can see why Asimov thinks he's great shakes. This is written early 1950s and he talks of a future world where humans live in huge cities with the utmost efficiency, protected from the environment, entirely dependent upon nuclear power, eating food created by science. Thus earth is still able to support a massive population and rising. Let's just say, we are getting there. The age of the car is well gone -in this world people walk on transport belts that go up to 60 miles/hour. The vehicles ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Randy rated it liked it
Brief synopsis of story: (1-2 paragraphs).
Earth civilization labors under the pressures of overpopulation and all citizens live under vast domes of metal and concrete—the titular caves of steel. Further, robots are making inroads on the human labor market, causing even more distress. On the flipside is Spacetown where ‘Spacers’ live. Spacers are offworld colonists used to low population, relative wealth, and long life spans. They maintain an outpost just outside of the New York City dome, but t
Kavita Ramesh
Oct 28, 2015 Kavita Ramesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My brother would not shut up about this series! He kept pushing it onto me for an entire year before I caved in (heh heh .. bad pun alert!), and read it.

I got instantly hooked!

I read the Robot and Foundation series in quick succession. Then I pondered turning into a necromancer so I could bring Asimov back from the grave, shove a typewriter into his undead hands, and force him to write a few more novels in the Foundation series. Then I wailed into my pillow at night because there is no way to
This "science fiction detective story" by the versatile writer Isaac Asimov is a stimulating cerebral romp through a future, city-oriented Earth society. The mystery itself is competently executed, but it really plays second fiddle to the main thread, which explores the internal and interstellar politics of a future society, the ramifications of a universe with robots, and the prejudices and emotions that are expressed by the humans in such a society.

The book's strength lies in its exploration o
Mar 05, 2016 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jehoshaphat! It's tremendous...!

In the far distant future, Earth has become vastly overcrowded and the strain on resources has forced humanity into living cheek by jowl in massive closed in cities – the caves of steel of the title. They no longer ever venture into the outside world, having basic robots to do any outside work that's needed. Living accommodation is small – meals are taken in huge communal kitchens and bathing and toileting facilities are all contained in the Personals, again commu
Oct 14, 2016 Mir rated it really liked it
Simona Bartolotta
"E il robot disse: «Sto cercando di assimilare, amico Julius, alcune idee che Elijah mi ha trasmesso in questi giorni. E forse ci riuscirò, perché all'improvviso mi pare di capire che l'estirpazione di ciò che non deve essere, ossia ciò che voi uomini chiamate il male, è meno giusta e desiderabile della sua trasformazione in ciò che voi chiamate il bene.»
Esitò, poi, come sorpreso dalle sue stesse parole, disse: «Vai e non peccare più».
Baley sorrise, prese R. Daneel per il gomito e uscirono insie
Charles Dee Mitchell
Mar 02, 2016 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
Now that we hear serious conversations about everything from online medical examinations to robotic baristas, Isaac Asimov’s 1950’s robot novels read, if not as though ripped from today’s headlines, as at least eerily predictive of our very near future. We already hear dire warnings of massive job loss and a general leveling of culture with a scarcity of human-to-human interaction that robotics will bring about.. There are characters in Caves of Steel, known as Medievalists, who dream of an idea ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Drew rated it it was ok
A reread for my book club of a book I really liked when I was 11. I still think Asimov's introduction for the mid-80s reissue, in which he attempts to set up a contrast between Frankenstein-ian morality plays that recommend anti-intellectualism and limits on scientific exploration, and his own fearless exploration into the positive possibilities of artificial intelligence, is a great short work of philosophy and literary criticism. I wish I could speak as highly of the book itself. The fact that ...more
A wonderful book considering that it was written in the early 1950s, involving a murder mystery taking place in a socially vivid futuristic scenario on Earth. The aspect of crime has been neatly interwoven as well, which no doubt is good enough by itself. However, personally I enjoyed more of the descriptions and dialogues within the book related to the future social aspects in an extremely massive society, and of course the Robots, the Spacers, and the Medievalists which have left me ...more
Oct 20, 2012 Ishan rated it it was amazing
absolutely gripping..!!
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 07, 2009 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
Asimov wrote in the introduction Campbell told him that a good science fiction mystery wasn't possible because the author would and could use advanced technology to solve the crime. Asimov stated he "sat down to write a story that would be a classic mystery that would not cheat the reader--and yet would be a true science fiction story." In this story New York City detective Elijah "Lije" Baley teams up with a robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw.

On the whole, the world Asimov creates seems harder fo
Sep 14, 2010 Chuck rated it it was amazing
65 of 100 for 2010.

This is one of those books whose artisty you appreciate the more you read it. It's become somewhat popular amongst some SF types to dismiss Asimov as 'great thinker, not a great writer'--perhaps because, like many other artists, he claimed not to have rewritten (although he did).

The naysayers miss the point of true genius--that they make it look easy.

But this book--when you look at the carefully constructed world he created so seamlessly that you're not aware how much informa
Sol González
Aug 22, 2016 Sol González rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este es uno de mis libros favoritos… y no es ni la primera, ni la segunda vez que lo leo. Lo he leído tantas y tantas veces que creo que he perdido la cuenta… y no quiero ni por un momento aprendermelo de memoria.

Es en este libro en donde aparecen por primera vez Daneel Olivaw y Elijah Baley (o Elias Baley en la traducción al español). Ambos personajes son míticos y aparecen en el resto de la saga… mucho mas Daneel, sin embargo en la memoria de Daneel vivirá siempre su más entrañable amigo Elija
Nandakishore Varma
I somehow prefer the short stories better. From an SF point of view, the novels are good - but not very good whodunits, IMO.

For some weird reason, I used to picture William Shatner as Elijah Bailey and Leonard Nimoy as R. Daneel Olivaw.
Danial Behzadi
Feb 13, 2016 Danial Behzadi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
اسماً بار دومی بود که این کتاب رو می‌خوندم، ولی چون بار قبلی که کتاب رو خونده بودم، بیش‌تر از ده سال پیش بود و اون موقع هم خیلی با دقت نخونده بودمش، چیز زیادی از داستانش یادم نبود و تونستم ازش لذت کامل رو ببرم.
Nov 01, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to James by: Nasus
"Each City became a semiautonomous unit, economically all but self-sufficient. It could roof itself in, gird itself about, burrow itself under. It became a steel cave, a tremendous, self-contained cave of steel and concrete."

This is a book about robots and humans, about racism, about overpopulation, about the differences between the law and justice, about high-density city living, about subsisting in a workfare state, and about overcoming your prejudices to work towards a goal that is bigger and
Oct 26, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
I know that I have read this book at least twice and probably thrice. I’m sure I’ll happily read it again in the future. Why? What’s the great attraction?

Well, two things mostly:

1) The underground world that Asimov creates for the mass of Earth-bound humanity.
2) Robots.

Well, it is science fiction.

But what is so great about this book? Let me spell it out for you: R-O-B-O-T-S.

Dr. Susan Calvin (wait a minute; she doesn’t even make an appearance in this story!)
The Three Laws of Robotics
The Spacers
J Austill
Oct 10, 2012 J Austill rated it liked it
I'd like to start out by contesting the placement of this as the 2nd book in the Robot series, rather than the first. Although Asimov himself put I,Robot (or the complete Robot) ahead of this in the whole series which includes the 3 Galaxy and 7 Foundation books, it doesn't really work. The last two stories in I, Robot deal with complex enough machines to pass off as humans and yet 1000 years later in The Caves of Steel we find out that R. Daneel Olivaw is the first sufficiently complex Robot to ...more
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  • Isaac Asimov's Caliban (Isaac Asimov's Caliban, #1)
  • The Man Who Sold the Moon
  • Against the Fall of Night
  • The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld #2)
  • Planet of Adventure (Planet of Adventure, #1-4)
  • Foundation's Triumph (Second Foundation Trilogy #3)
  • Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, #3)
  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle
  • Tau Zero
  • Time and Again
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 2A
Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
More about Isaac Asimov...

Other Books in the Series

Robot (4 books)
  • The Naked Sun (Robot #2)
  • The Robots of Dawn (Robot #3)
  • Robots and Empire (Robot #4)

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“We're forever teetering on the brink of the unknowable, and trying to understand what can't be understood.” 73 likes
“Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance.” 29 likes
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