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The Caves of Steel (Robot #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  38,922 ratings  ·  1,013 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
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by Turtleback Books (first published 1954)
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Rob Little Its a little bit of a different bird. I, Robot is a collection of short stories with a loose narrative thread tying them together. Caves of Steel is a…moreIts a little bit of a different bird. I, Robot is a collection of short stories with a loose narrative thread tying them together. Caves of Steel is a single cohesive story, structured as a "whodunnit" detective novel. Regardless, it is still Asimov and therefore amazing.(less)
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jan 14, 2010 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Nathan Boole
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
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 07, 2009 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 26, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Sol  Gonzalez
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
J Austill
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
Decent detective story. Gotta love scifi settings that have robots, laser guns, and planetary colonization, but no cellular phones, GPS, or surveillance cameras everywhere. That said, it was written in 1953--so we might forgive the good professor for failing to predict the course of certain technological trifles.

Reveals itself to be a gloss in the margin of Mary Shelley, insofar as Frankenstein is a "Medieval novel describing a robot that turned on its creator" (168), which is an odd way to desc
Julie Davis
Like most people on the over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley has 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 help track down the killer. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the " R" stood for robot.
I snagged a review audiobook of this from SFFaudio.

I originally read this book when I was a te
Mihail Kostov
Ако не броим някои разкази на Рей Бредбъри, това беше първият ми допир с научната фантастика и съответно с Айзък Азимов, когото Радина отдавна ми хвали и препоръчва.
Доста се изненадах, че книгата в голяма степен е криминален роман, но след като я прочетох не мисля, че това е била целта на автора. По-скоро чрез разследването на смъртта на учен космолит (Радина ми каза, че в други издания жителите на космическите колонии се наричат по друг начин) се запознаваме със света на бъдещето, какъвто си го
This book is better than I, Robot, but only slightly. The problems are mostly the same:

1. Characters are strange, acting not as adults, but childishly and incomprehensibly. I want to see normal people in books.

2. The story is detective, but what struck me is that there is nothing like a normal investigation. I didn’t work in police or as detective, but even i can say that investigation couldn’t be conducted like this. The main hero, detective, was just speculating about possible culprit and made
Rob Maynard
A friend loaned this to me when I asked for a science fiction recommendation last year, and the 1972 Fawcett paperback edition languished on my nightstand for a while, but in the last couple of months I picked it up and read it beginning to end. This is actually the first of Asimov's original robot series of books, published in 1954. I don't recommend going to the goodreads link above, as it is wrong not only about the book's place in the sequence but also about the main character Lije (Elijah) ...more
Neelesh Singhal
Confused whether you should read this really old, sci-fi murder mystery this far into the future? You Should!

Caves Of Steel is the first (although Goodreads marks it as No. 2, the first one is a collection of short stories) of 4 books part of the Robot Series written by the Hugo Award winning American author Issac Asimov.

Asimov at the time (and long afterwards) was regarded as a master of hard science fiction. In his life, he wrote hundreds of books, most popular of which are the Foundation Seri
Poo1987 Roykaew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
It's been a while since I read this one: despite its age, definitely worth a reread.

The Caves of Steel is an SF tale in the form of a detective mystery.

Elijah (Lije) Baley is a detective who lives in a future city of New York who is given a controversial murder to resolve. The death of a Spacer is seen as a major incident and something that must be solved in order to avoid potential conflict between the Spacers and the people of Earth who current hold an uneasy, if rather segregated, peace.

I know I read this when I was quite young -- ten or so -- but I found I remembered very, very little of it. I used to read Isaac Asimov obsessively, at that age: the library wouldn't let me take the books out myself, so my mother did it. I racked up an amazing fine for her by keeping The Positronic Man for months.

Anyway, so it's partially nostalgia that makes me love The Caves of Steel so much. And partially my new appreciation for crime novels. Asimov's short mystery stories were very easy to g
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
Megan Baxter
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
J. Steven
This and its sequel, "The Naked Sun" are my two favorite all-time Asimov novels. They work well as mysteries, and I love the contrasting future-cultures that Asimov paints in the novels, the Earthers, living in cramped, domed cities, whose taboos and rituals allow them to thrive in close quarters with limited resources, but whose hatred of robots may have stagnated their progress, and the aloof spacers, whose phobias against germs and love of robots over their fellow man may reflect a loss of hu ...more
John Ess
The beginning of the robot series where Asimov introduced his social philosphy of CFe namely a collabortion of humans (carbon based lifeforms) and robots (iron/steel based lifeforms.) Initally, the collaboration occurred in finding the murderer of the spacer, Dr Sarton, by his lookalike robot and a human detective Elijah Bailey. Great world building in the form of underground cities - the humans entrenched and the spacers attempting to feed the second wave of colonisation throughout the galaxy t ...more
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  • The Fountains of Paradise
  • Isaac Asimov's Caliban (Isaac Asimov's Caliban, #1)
  • The Green Hills of Earth
  • Neutron Star (Known Space)
  • Man Plus
  • Foundation and Chaos (Second Foundation Trilogy, #2)
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
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)
Foundation (Foundation, #1) I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2) Second Foundation (Foundation, #3) The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, #1-3)

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“We're forever teetering on the brink of the unknowable, and trying to understand what can't be understood.” 56 likes
“Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance.” 16 likes
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