Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Caves of Steel (Robot, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Caves of Steel (Robot, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Caves of Steel

(Robot, chronological order #3)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  82,946 ratings  ·  2,915 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
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published April 13th 2011 by Spectra (first published February 1954)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Caves of Steel, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rob 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)
Mainul Islam Not really. This is kinda different series. You are gonna enjoy it if you like detective stories.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  82,946 ratings  ·  2,915 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Caves of Steel (Robot, #1)
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Caves of Steel (Robot #1), Isaac Asimov

The book was first published as a serial in Galaxy magazine, from October to December 1953. A Doubleday hardcover followed in 1954.

The Caves of Steel is a novel by American writer Isaac Asimov. It is essentially a detective story, and illustrates an idea Asimov advocated, that science fiction can be applied to any literary genre, rather than just a limited genre.

In this novel, Isaac Asimov introduces Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw, later his favorit
Manuel Antão
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

C/Fe: "The Caves of Steel" by Isaac Asimov

"There were infinite lights, the luminous walls and ceilings that seemed to drip cool, even phosphorescence; the flashing advertisements screaming for attention; the harsh, steady gleam of the 'lightworms' that directed:
Most of all, there was the noise that was inseparable from lif
mark monday
 photo tumblr_oh3wziQCej1s01qkyo1_500_zpsmukl96wk.gif
Robot 1:

>Speculation On Future Of Human Life >Human Life In Mega-Cities >Ants In Anthill >Living In Caves Of Steel >Reduction Of Space Means Reduction Of Individual Liberties, Reduction Of Privacy, Reduction Of Ability To Do Typical Human Things Like Go Outside Or Eat Alone >Reduction Of Human Mind To Primitive Traits Including Xenophobia And Group-Think >Humans Devolve While Robots Evolve > Predictable Trajectory For Humans And Robots Alike >Stupid Humans >LMAO

 photo tumblr_njkmfaBAUy1s2wio8o1_500_zpsxxhchebq.gif
Robot 2:

Author. is. carefu
Mario the lone bookwolf
Groundbreaking of crime stories with non-human protagonists

It´s an additional layer of suspense if one doesn´t know if humans or robots have committed a crime. With the help of this trope, the author can play with the laws and programming of robots, regarding helping or killing humans. Or helping killing humans.

It will become a real topic, as soon as the first accidents with cyborgs and human-like robots will happen. In the beginning, it might be easier to find the bug or the evil, laughing vil
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, asimov-verse
Mankind, vast, endless and with billions in existence a few centuries from now - 8 billion on Earth all living in domed mega cities ('caves of steel') with limited interactions with robots, and then there's the 'Spacers', descendents from earlier stellar migrations, forward thinking living all over the galaxy and further afield with significant robot industry, help and support. A NY spacer hub is the scene of a Spacer ambassador murder and New York cop Elijay Baley is partnered with the Spacer r ...more
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Merphy Napier
While detective novels aren't my thing (at the moment, I'm still trying) I love Isaac Asimov's books. His worlds, explanations, AIs, and situations he writes are genius and can keep me interested even if it's the type of story I don't usually read ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald, Hillary, Gary and Jill are drinking wine, playing Twister, listening to Coltrane and discussing Isaac Asimov’s 1954 novel Caves of Steel.

Hillary: One of my favorite Asimov stories is the eulogy Vonnegut said for him, as the mourners are gathered he said, “Well, he’s in heaven now.”

Donald: Hilarious Hillary, I rolled a blue left foot, so let me just slide this way. Funny that you mention Heaven as Asimov used much of this futuristic story as a way to discuss some Biblical issues.

Jill: Yel

Isaac Asimov is well known as a science fiction writer and this book is supposed to be a science fiction/detective story "fusion" book. Apparently Asimov wanted to demonstrate that science fiction could meld with other genres (according to the book cover).

The detective partners in the story are a New York detective named Elijah Baley and a very human-looking robot, called R. Daneel Olivaw. But the "detection" seems to consist of the cop just accusing one person after another - he doesn't even q
A wonderful book, I will ponder on the rating and review tomorrow.

So tomorrow accidentally turned into a few days, for various reasons, luckily it was a book I really enjoyed so my memory is still really clear.

I first read this book probably 40 + years and along with the Foundation novels from Asimov they are what make him probably my favourite author (just don't tell JRR Tolkien that). Since that first read, I have probably only read this at most two more times, so this re-read was really enjoy
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
❝ People sometimes mistake their own shortcomings for those of society and want to fix the Cities because they don’t know how to fix themselves.❞

Issac Asimov's expansion of Robot short stories gave birth to this unique novel which balances itself between hard science fiction, philosophy, religious undertones and a classic murder mystery.

In this novel, we are introduced to a highly advanced and a very dystopian New York city which has enwombed the ever growing population of humanity
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Asimov's robot stories!

Here, we start out on Earth, overpopulated and so far in the future, it's positively alien (they hardly understand rain and only know about windows through history books or historical novels).
A New York City cop, Elijah Baley, is tasked with solving a murder mystery. But he has to discover that not only is he distrusted (Earthers and Spacers have no love for one another), but politics result in him being partnered with a Spacer called R. Daneel Olivaw, which means
Megan Baxter
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2021-shelf
Re-read of classic Asimov.

Back in the day, perhaps 40 years after this had originally been written, I already assumed this was a classic tale by a classic SF author. I devoured it, being surprised by the fact it felt like a hard-boiled detective novel while also having some core SF ideas -- you know, like getting our eggs out of one basket, fighting discrimination for alternate intelligences, and the basic problems of feeding and housing billions of people.

It was still enjoyable, and 70 years a
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
I really enjoyed this but Jehoshaphat it was dated!
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A detective novel that takes place in a far future Earth where humans have resourced to live underground so that the entire surface of the planet can be use for agriculture. This is an overpopulated Earth, where as a matter of courtesy you don't look at your neighbor to give each other some sort of privacy. It's also an imagined Earth, but a frightening possible one.

I really liked this book. I'm a fan of Asimov's work but this one is a little different. And it's hard work to make a detective nov
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
Tina ➹ the girl who lives in Fandoms
3.25 Silver Stars

just a quick review

it was good story. unique. mystery, deep characters. but frequently there was an info-dump section, just explaining about the dystopian-like futuristic society, especially lots of "details" even about the exact "shapes" of the devices.
I must mention that the world was rich & well-built, though kind of gray (you know, Steely. *pun intended*)

I guess I generally love underdog characters, mainly it meant the hero who suffers the most & receiving bad luck most of t
Ivana Books Are Magic
The Caves of Steel, the first novel in Asimov's Robot series, is a wonderful introduction to the series. Like other novels in the series, a big part of it is devoted to the conflict between Spacers (humans who live on outer planets) and Earth people. When detective Elijah is asked to explore a murder that happened in Spacetown (territory of Spacers), he gets paired with a robot partner Daneel. Elijah is shocked by his human appearance, but getting adjusted to having a robotic partner seems the l ...more
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
Simona B
I read and reread this book whenever I can, and each time, it tells me a different story. If something like infinity is within our grasp, well, as far as I'm concerned, then it's to be found in The Caves of Steel. ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, classics
It’s Isaac Asimov. Need I say more? I just finished several hours of reading so the review may not be well written, but I’ll do my best!

The Caves of Steel was an awesome sci-fi mystery, the first I’ve read. I’m not big on mysteries but this one was great!

The back drop of this book begins way in the future where Earthmen fear and hate robots and Spacers. (Spacers are humans who went to colonize space.) Many of the Earthmen became Medievalists who dream of exiting the Caves of Steel and reestabl
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asimov, Isaac. Caves of Steel. Daneel No. 1. 1953. Voyager, 1997.
Before I retired, commuting to work in the summer, leaving my airconditioned home, getting into an airconditioned car and driving to an airconditioned building, I could imagine myself living in the metal cocoon city of Caves of Steel. Technology that cuts us from the natural world is an ancient trope in science fiction. Asimov’s “Medievalists,” who dream unrealistically of going back to the land, are expressing a romantic impulse t
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, 1audio, 2fiction
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' in the fac
I read this in 2008, pre-GR, so I’m not able to deliver a good review other than to say I enjoyed it. And now that I’ve read Foundation and Foundation and Empire, I liked it a whole lot better than them!
Nandakishore Mridula
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1)
  • Childhood's End
  • En la arena estelar: Isaac Asimov
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1)
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • Dune (Dune, #1)
  • Starship Troopers
  • Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #3)
  • Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2)
  • Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • Solaris
  • Contact
  • Ubik
  • 2010: Odyssey Two (Space Odyssey, #2)
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Odyssey (Isaac Asimov's Robot City, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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 one of the most prolific writers 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 o

Other books in the series

Robot, chronological order (6 books)
  • I, Robot (Robot, #0.1)
  • The Rest of the Robots (Robot, #0.2)
  • The Naked Sun (Robot, #2)
  • The Robots of Dawn (Robot, #3)
  • Robots and Empire (Robot, #4)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
66 likes · 17 comments
“We're forever teetering on the brink of the unknowable, and trying to understand what can't be understood.” 93 likes
“Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance.” 46 likes
More quotes…