Scott Rhee's Reviews > The Caves of Steel

The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
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's review
Jul 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in September, 2010

"The Caves of Steel", written in the 1950s by Isaac Asimov, may have been the first successful genre-crossover, combining science fiction with detective fiction. In the distant future, Earth has become over-populated with billions of people crammed into underground cities. Natural resources have become so depleted that food and fuel shortages are common. Tensions are high, as humans regularly protest against robots (each generation of advanced models gradually take over human jobs) and Spacers, the mysterious humans who have gone into space to populate the fifty terra-formed colonized planets, who are responsible for the creation of robots. Detective Elijah Bailey doesn't like robots or Spacers either, but when an impossible crime takes place---the murder of a Spacer in Spacetown (which is a strictly enforced "No Earthling" zone)---he is quickly forced to deal with both. When he is assigned a new partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, Bailey's anti-robot prejudices are quickly put to the test: Olivaw is a robot. The first of his generation, Olivaw looks and (for the most part) acts like a human. "The Caves of Steel" is a joy to read. The tension-filled rapport and eventual camaraderie that develops between Bailey and Olivaw is humorous and endearing. As always, Asimov's future is full of fascinating ideas. Add an equally suspenseful murder mystery to the mix, and you have a great book. Thankfully, "The Caves of Steel" is the first of four Bailey/Olivaw adventures. Why this has not been made into a movie yet is beyond me, as it would be great.
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