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Robot #4

Robots and Empire

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Long after his humiliating defeat at the hands of Earthman Elijah Baley, Keldon Amadiro embarked on a plan to destroy planet Earth. But even after his death, Baley's vision continued to guide his robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, who had the wisdom of a great man behind him and an indestructable will to win....

512 pages, Paperback

First published August 20, 1985

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About the author

Isaac Asimov

3,300 books23.3k followers
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 of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (lacking only an entry in the 100s category of Philosophy).

Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

Most of Asimov's popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include his Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery.

Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as "brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs" He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction, a Brooklyn, NY elementary school, and two different Isaac Asimov Awards are named in his honor.

Isaac Asimov. (2007, November 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:50, November 29, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_As...

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
October 21, 2021
Robots and Empire (Robot #4), Isaac Asimov

The Earthman Elijah Baley (the detective hero of the previous Robot books) has died nearly two centuries earlier.

During these two centuries, Earth-people have overcome their agoraphobia and resumed space colonization, using faster-than-light drive to reach distant planets beyond the earlier "Spacer" worlds.

Long after his humiliating defeat at the hands of Earthman Elijah Baley, Keldon Amadiro embarked on a plan to destroy planet Earth.

But even after his death, Baley's vision continued to guide his robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, who had the wisdom of a great man behind him and an indestructible will to win.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: امپراطوری روباتها (کتاب چهار از سری روبات)؛ «امپراتوری روباتها»؛ نویسنده: آیزاک آسیموف؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژانویه سال1994میلادی

عنوان: امپراطوری روباتها (کتاب چهار از سری روبات)؛ نویسنده: آیزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: کامبیز شمس؛ تهران، شقایق، سال1371؛ در523ص؛ چاپ دوم با عنوان: امپراتوری روباتها، سال1373؛ در523ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای علمی خیال انگیز از نویسندگان روس تبار ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

سری روبات: کتاب یک: غارهای پولادی؛ کتاب دو: خورشید عریان؛ کتاب سه: روباتهای سپیده دم؛ کتاب چهار: امپراتوری روباتها؛

این چهار کتاب را، بارها و بارها، خوانده و لذت بسزا برده ام؛ داستانی از سه جامعه ی «زمین»، «اورورا»، و «سولاریا» است؛ «زمینی»های ضد روبات، در صلح و صفا، «اورورا»، به عنوان جامعه ای روبات زده، و «سولاریا» جامعه ای که تعداد روباتهایش از انسانیها بیشتر، و رو به انحطاط است؛

نقل آغاز داستان: («گلادیا» صندلی چمنی را لمس کرد، تا مظمئن شود، که مرطوب نیست، و سپس نشست، یک تماس با کنترل، باعث میشد که صندلی، به حالت، نیمه خوابیده قرار گیرد، و با تماس دیگر، میدان دیامغناطیسی فعال شده، و مانند همیشه، در او احساس سستی مطلق، ایجاد میکرد؛ «گلادیا»، در حقیقت در یک سانتیمتری سطح زمین، شناور بود...)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 28/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Baba.
3,530 reviews790 followers
February 26, 2022
Robot series, book #4 - Two centuries have passed and the tensions between the Spacers and the Earth continue as the Settlers have, and are, colonising numerous planets. Focusing on the long-lived 'Spacer' and robot characters from the previous books, Asimov focused on the next significant steps for mankind's growth and reach for the stars, and the hurdles that needed to be overcome to reach them.

Despite being written over 30 years after the first novel in the series Asimov manages to hold true and provide extensive continuity from the novels and the short story collections. The world building in this series is second to none as it spans centuries, and in effect, documents the developments of the human race through the eyes of a few key individuals and two robots. He uses this book to further tie-in psychohistory and the Foundation series, but above everything is in depth look at the working of robot physiology and psychology are peerless. A fascinating, and surprisingly compelling read/narrative. Asimov's intention with this (and the previous) book was to bridge the Robot and Galactic Empire/Foundation serials, which he does, so goddamn well! 8.5 out of 12.

2012 read
Profile Image for Adrian.
552 reviews196 followers
August 22, 2021
Group Read August 2021
So this was Group Read for the SF Afficianados Group for August 2021. So I have to say that this is one of my favourite books. In some strange way, I find it very emotional, the love of a true friend, just strikes a chord with me. R Daneel and R Giskard, robots that had been true friends of the Earth detective, Elijah Bailey and now they are helping his many times descendant.
As I said 2 years ago when I read this, Asimov has to be one of the world's greatest story tellers, and these detective "Robot" novels and the subsequent (intrinsically linked) Foundation novels are in my opinion certainly on a par with JRR Tolkein's LOTR.

Holiday Read October 2019
This is the third book I’ve finished on this holiday and the second I’ve borrowed from the “library” in these fabulous apartments.
The fact that I actually have it at home is neither here nor there, I fancied reading it and like, there it was sandwiched between 2 gooey romances, about the only sf book in the shelves. So in between swims, walks and food (yum) I have finished a second book over 400 pages (Origin being the first).
Those who read my reviews, (are there any of you ??), will know that I have a penchant for Golden Age SciFi, and whilst I know this is not truly Golden Age it is Asimov. And I’m my humble opinion a real classic of his despite his advancing years when he wrote it.
(As an aside, apologies for any spooling mastooks, I’m on my iPhone as trying to write a review on a Kindle is worse, why is that Amazon ?)

So this book reacquaints us with Gladia Solaria, R Daneel and R Giskard, the latter 2 being favourite novel characters of mine. In addition there are even a couple of flashbacks to scenes with Lije Bayley, add in a typical Asimov mystery ( See Caves of Steel etc) and one has to ask, what is not to enjoy 😉
Seriously this book races along at a fair old crack and gives you everything you want from an Asimov “Robot” novel. Drama, excitement, adventure, pathos and sadness. Yes sadness, I won’t say when, but on one occasion I even had tears in my eyes. I reckon it was just the sun tan lotion 😬
I am now thinking that I must read the rest of the Robot and Lije Bayley novels on my return to England
An easy 5 ⭐️s
Profile Image for Davyne DeSye.
Author 10 books116 followers
July 14, 2021
Sigh. Love this book. It’s always bittersweet for me to read since it is the last of the four Robot novels, and I will miss the characters (until my next reading in a couple of years!). (As usual, this book can be read as a standalone book without having to read the previous books in the series.)

This story, again, features Elijah Baley, the hard-boiled detective from Earth (although in a surprising way – no spoiler here!), and his robot partner, Daneel Olivaw. We also still have Gladia who has been the love interest in the two books previous to this one. She really comes into herself in this book, and I just love her. Daneel is joined in his work by another robot, Giskard, who was featured very briefly in the book before this one, but this time, Giskard wins your heart.

In this story, it is planet Earth that is in danger of destruction, and a large part of the mystery in the book is not who is going to destroy it, but how. We know there’s an “evil plot” and a truly unlikable “dastardly doer.” What we must discover along with our detectives is how it is to be done – so they can stop it, of course.

I must say, there is a part of this book that gets me crying every time… even when I know it’s coming. Considering I read everything aloud to my hubby, you can imagine how difficult this passage is as I am choking on my words, sniffling, and trying to swallow around the lump in my throat as I read. And yet, that passage is so wonderful that I have to read it, I have to wallow for those moments. No, I’m not going to give even one detail, but I consider it a testimony to the writing and the character development, that I am consistently reduced to a sniveling wreck.

Finally, while this book was written three decades after the first book in the Empire series, this book is a good lead up to the first book in that series (which isn’t actually a series – they are three standalone novels that much later have been dubbed “a series”), which makes for a very satisfying jumping off point if you are interested in reading on… Happily, if you are not interested in reading on and getting into the next series, the ending of this book very nicely finishes up the Robot series, and leaves you completely satisfied.
Profile Image for Jeraviz.
902 reviews388 followers
September 10, 2021
Y así termina la saga de los Robots de Asimov. Una gran saga que me ha entretenido mucho pero que esta última entrega no llega al nivel de los anteriores.

Me ha dado la sensación de que Asimov quería dejar cerrada la unión con la saga del Imperio Galáctico y más adelante con Fundación y acelera bastante los hechos para que la unión sea efectiva.

Sitúa los hechos 200 años en el futuro y ya no aparece Elijah Bailey como protagonista, centrando la acción en sus robots Daneel y Giskard. Al principio los vemos solamente como acompañantes de Gladia, la otra protagonista que aparece en otros libros, pero poco a poco van cogiendo peso y creo que la relación entre los dos robots es lo mejor del libro. Cómo se analizan las Tres Leyes de la Robótica y cómo se plantea una nueva ley me hace pensar que Asimov le dio vueltas durante toda su vida a este concepto y aquí lo termina de afinar.

Las conversaciones entre los robots es lo más disfrutable pero el resto de personajes y la trama no están a la misma altura. En esta ocasión no hay nada que el lector tenga que ir averiguando junto a los personajes: sabemos quiénes son los malos, sabemos lo que van a hacer y sabemos que al final van a estar los robots para intentar impedirlo.

Aún así, Asimov consigue salvar el final terminando la saga de una manera muy decente y dejando buen sabor de boca sabiendo lo que ocurrirá en el futuro.
Profile Image for César Bustíos.
270 reviews99 followers
April 17, 2020
"Queremos la Galaxia, toda la Galaxia. Queremos colonizar y poblar cada planeta habitable que haya en ella, y establecer nada menos que el Imperio Galáctico."

Admito que soy víctima de la subjetividad, existe algún tipo de inercia literaria acumulada por la satisfacción de sus novelas anteriores. A mí me ha fascinado desde muy joven el universo de Asimov y, aunque empecé por la saga final, Fundación, decidí retroceder miles de años en su línea del tiempo para leerlo todo y ¡vaya que ha valido la pena!

Me gusta pensar que el inicio de todo es "El fin de la eternidad", la novela con la que se hace posible el viaje interestelar; y que "Némesis" es el punto medio entre la era pre- y post-interestelar, antes de "Bóvedas de acero". No sé si esto estaba dentro de los planes de Asimov pero es algo que prefiero no descartar.

Han pasado dos siglos desde los eventos ocurridos en "Los robots del amanecer", se le ha dado un poco más de peso a Gladia, lo cual me gustó, aunque el verdadero protagonismo es el de los robots. Estoy seguro de no haber sido el único que se ha emocionado con las escenas de Daneel y el legendario Elijah (es increible cómo sientes que extrañas ese personaje), con el discurso de Gladia en Baleymundo, o con la última escena entre Daneel y Giskard. Ahora también sabemos que es en este punto en donde se empiezan a tejer los primeros hilos de la psicohistoria. Todavía no puedo decir que su intento de integrar todo su universo haya sido satisfactorio pero no cabe duda de que ha sido un cierre magistral para la saga de los robots. Te lo debemos, Susan Calvin. ¡Que siga la carrera expansionista!

Profile Image for A. Raca.
723 reviews144 followers
August 20, 2019
"Bir kompüter insana benzemez. İnsan onu fark bile etmez. Belki teknik bakımdan kompüterle robot birbirine benzer. Ama psikolojik bakımdan aralarında dünyalar kadar fark vardır."

Yine çok beğendim. Asimov'un evreni beni çok heyecanlandırıyor. O dönem hayal ettiği, kurduğu şeyler çok çok iyi.

Şimdi gelsin İmparatorluk Serisi...
Profile Image for Malice.
245 reviews29 followers
January 18, 2021
Con este termino la serie de los robots y creo que fue un excelente cierre. Ahora entiendo muchas cosas que pasaron en los libros referentes a la Fundación, pero que en su momento no había comprendido.

Estoy siguiendo la lectura en el orden cronológico de la historia, por lo que ahora seguiré con la trilogía del Imperio.
10 reviews4 followers
February 3, 2008
It should be noted that I am a long-standing Asimov fan, so my opinion is perhaps not entirely objective. Having said that, Robots and Empire stands out to me as one of his top works. It serves to bridge his Empire/Foundation and Robots series; this is a dangerous venture, because there is always the risk of fouling one or both stories in the process. Asimov handles it admirably though, in a way that gives a satisfactory conclusion to the Elijah Baley story, and sets the scene for the way into the Galactic Empire.

The story focuses around familiar faces; Gladia, Daneel, and Giskard. The true focus of the novel is on the robots, which has always been Asimovs great strength. The passages of the novel that are essentially discussions and deliberations between the two robots are some of the most interesting parts of the novel; they are at once dear friends, earnest protectors, and subtly but pointedly inhuman. Their struggle to both serve and protect, and their discussions revolving around this dichotomy, give new depth to the characters.

Overall I highly recommend this novel to fans of either Empire, Foundation, or Robots.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,517 reviews10.9k followers
January 3, 2011
4.0 stars. While listed as the last of the Robot series, this is probably better discribed as the bridge novel between the Robot novels and the Foundation series. In it we see the beginnings of how the Galactic Empire got started and why there are no Robots in the distant future of the Foundation novels (except of course for R. Daneel Olivaw) who becomes the only central character to appear in both series.

In addition to being a pivotal novel in the Robot/Foundation series, it is also top space opera and a lot of fun (as I feel about all of this group of books). Good quality entertainment from one of the masters of the genre. Recommended!!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,911 followers
March 3, 2021
More of a 3.5 stars, really.

I had to balance this one in my head as a re-read from long ago, my impression of humanity's exodus into the stars, my enjoyment of Asimov in general, against a tale compared against all of SF in general.

As a friend points out regularly, one cannot judge a book on ideas alone, even if I do appreciate Asimov for his clarity and ideas. The story, the full novel, is, frankly, kinda boring. At least, I was bored.

On the other hand, I did enjoy getting a full tour of the spacer worlds, getting to know so many kinds of people, and I really enjoyed the discussions between the two awesome robots even if I didn't care all that much about the humans. It still wasn't enough to carry the full tale.

BUT. This is a necessary book for the grand future history that Asimov wrote, from Robots, to Empire, to Foundation, to beyond. I'm willing to ignore the usual complaints as long as it forwards the foundation. :)
Profile Image for Yukino.
990 reviews
June 28, 2021

Lettura di gruppo E&L

Che sono di parte lo sapete, ma questo libro mi è davvero piaciuto. Non mi ricordavo che fosse ambientato 200 anni dopo le vicende degli scorsi libri e che non ci fosse Baley. Ma grazie ai ricordi di Gladia e di Daneel non ne ho sentito la mancanza.
Inoltre il complotto di Mandamus e Amadiro tiene incollato alle pagine. Per non parlare del duo Daneel\Giskard che investiga e cerca di sventare la crisi.
Abbiamo anche il risvolto romantico Gladia con DG. Chi l'avrebbe detto?

Il finale devo dire che è stato triste. Ora Daneel è solo.

Non vedo l'ora di leggere il prossimo!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Massimo.
234 reviews
June 15, 2021
Un libro che mi ha lasciato soddisfatto anche se con un pò di tristezza per la sua conclusione. Il racconto parte un pò sottotono e si avverte la mancanza di Baley, ma si riprende velocemente con vari avvenimenti che sostengono la storia. I due robot sono i veri protagonisti, con una serie continua ed incalzante di dialoghi che simulano le investigazioni di Baley e che in realtà analizzano sia i terrestri (e i coloni) che gli spaziali. Bello anche il ruolo di Gladia, forse un pò troppo femme fatale.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,877 reviews3,383 followers
March 3, 2021
Well well well, look who we’ve got here. If it isn’t the idiot from the pervious novel, Amadiro. And once again, he’s up to no good.

It’s been about 200 years since Earther detective Baley has died. Yes, that made me more sad than I thought it would. He lives on in the memory of Gladia (with whom he has had an affair) and his robotic partner, R. Daneel Olivaw.
Also among the departed is Dr. Fastolfe, the creator of Daneel as well as a second robot which also belongs to Gladia (thanks to Fastolfe’s will). This other robot, R. Giskard Reventlov, has a very interesting gift considering that (technically) he’s no living human being: .
So in this new future, the people of Earth have finally overcome their fear and have started colonizing space, reaching regions even farther away than those settled by the Spacers. Which is probably why they call themselves the Settlers.
Some such Settlers have been trying to visit Solaris (the planet we were on in the previous novel) and have never been seen or heard of again. This is especially puzzling since there are no humans left on that planet, just their former robotic servants (numbering in the millions).

Which brings us to one gigantic problem the invention of the positronic brain has caused: . Personally, I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem the robots are causing directly; it’s more the extrapolation of a fundamental psychological problem with humans, called laziness.

As in the other novels before, an investigation is launched, this time conducted by Baley’s great-great-…-grandson Daneel Giskard (D.G.).
Meanwhile, the two robots are engaged in quite the desperate struggle with Amadiro and Fastolfe’s daughter (who gave R. Giskard Reventlov his ability) who have teamed up with a lunatic wanting to eradicate the humans of Earth through radioactivity.

So yeah, LOTS was happening here with many places being basically a theatre for some great drama. After all, Asimov takes us from an explored Milky Way Galaxy to a Galactic Empire with nothing less than the future of the human race being at stake along the way! Which might explain the introduction of the Zeroth Law.*

Where it all leads shall remain a secret (just read the book) but it was an awesome bridge to the Foundation books, let me tell you!


Perhaps I liked this best of the Robot novels thus far (except for my heavy criticism is the spoiler tag). I can’t quite say why. Maybe because we’re finally at a point where humanity has to face up to the problems hinted at and pointed to in the previous stories and which humanity had ignored so far. It felt a bit as if this was indeed the culmination of the first three novels and itself the build-up to Foundation. So we’re coming full circle (which was a bit of a surprise to me at first because I hadn’t known about these taking place in the same universe).

There is not much I can say about the writing style that I haven’t already said. It’s cozy and the novels have aged rather well. Though sometimes I think Asimov could have told the same story in a shorter book (especially novel #3). And he really was more about the ideas than the characters themselves (except for Daneel). But I love the universe he has built with his stories!

Very cool to know the beginnings of the future and I think I’ll indulge myself by (re-)reading at least a few of the robot short stories now as well.

So, ranked, these are the robot novels:
This 4th novel is my favorite as it had the biggest impact, story-wise, despite the problems. Then comes the 1st novel as it was the start of it all and thus has a charm all on its own. The 2nd novel had us on another planet for the very first time which also has a certain charm. The 3rd was my least favorite because it was far too long for the story it told and the sex bits were too weird.
Profile Image for Krissi .
110 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2021
Lettura n. 33 - 2021 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Finito finalmente e, come al soluto, mi è piaciuto proprio tanto.
Avevo questo dubbio che, , la storia sarebbe stata un po' sottotono e forse anche un tantino noioso. Una volta abituata all'idea, però, devo dire che ho adorato anche questo sesto volume.
Il mio punto debole è lei: Gladia.
Sarà che non mi è mai sembrata all'altezza del grande Elijah Baley. È sempre stata un po' smorta, grigia ... anche se, confesso, c'è stato un leggero miglioramento. Senza contare che, finalmente!!, è riuscita a trovare 🤣
Bellissimo poi il rapporto e l'amicizia che pian pianino si instaura tra i due robot. Sono proprio una bella squadra. O meglio,
Profile Image for Giulia.
394 reviews177 followers
June 10, 2021
Lettura super veloce, più coinvolgente rispetto ai primi volumi, lo schema è diverso, migliore, a mio avviso. Tuttavia il modo in cui è scritto non mi entusiasma, forse è invecchiato male.
Profile Image for Pat the Book Goblin .
423 reviews125 followers
November 10, 2018
What an adventure! I can't believe the Robot series is over. This was a very bitter sweet book for many reasons. Not only is it the ending of a series, but many things happened I didn't expect. I loved Baley, Daneel and Giskard and it just wasn't the same without detective Elijah Baley. When I heard that he died in the first chapter I immediately knew this was going to be a long trek to the end. I was happy Daneel was still alive but it wasn't the same without the two together. Overall, it was a great ending to a great series. I will definitely reread this series in the future.
Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 12 books1,268 followers
November 28, 2021
THE‌ ‌GREAT‌ ‌COMPLETIST‌ ‌CHALLENGE:‌ ‌In‌ ‌which‌ ‌I‌ ‌revisit‌ ‌older‌ ‌authors‌ ‌and‌ ‌attempt‌ ‌to‌ ‌read‌ every‌ ‌book‌ ‌they‌ ‌ever‌ ‌wrote‌

Currently‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌challenge:‌ ‌Isaac‌ ‌Asimov's‌ ‌Robot/Empire/Foundation‌ |‌ ‌Margaret‌ Atwood‌ |‌ ‌JG‌ ‌Ballard‌ |‌ Clive‌ ‌Barker‌ |‌ Christopher‌ Buckley‌ |‌ ‌Jim Butcher's Dresden Files | ‌Lee Child's Jack Reacher | ‌Philip‌ ‌K‌ ‌Dick‌ |‌ ‌Ian Fleming | William‌ ‌Gibson‌ |‌ ‌Michel‌ Houellebecq‌ |‌ John‌ ‌Irving‌ |‌ ‌Kazuo‌ ‌Ishiguro‌ |‌ Shirley‌ Jackson‌ | ‌John‌ ‌Le‌ ‌Carre‌ |‌ Bernard‌ ‌Malamud‌ |‌ Cormac McCarthy | China‌ ‌Mieville‌ |‌ Toni Morrison | ‌VS‌ Naipaul‌ |‌ Chuck‌ ‌Palahniuk‌ |‌ ‌Tim‌ ‌Powers‌ |‌ ‌Terry‌ ‌Pratchett's‌ ‌Discworld‌ |‌ Philip‌ ‌Roth‌ |‌ Neal‌ Stephenson‌ |‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌Thompson‌ |‌ John‌ ‌Updike‌ |‌ Kurt‌ ‌Vonnegut‌ |‌ Jeanette Winterson | PG‌ ‌Wodehouse‌ ‌

And so we finally come to the end of my reading of Isaac Asimov's "Robot" series, from 1950's I, Robot to today's 1985 Robots and Empire; and I have to confess, I'm relieved to do so, because the last two novels of this series that Asimov wrote in the '80s are pretty lousy indeed, with Robots and Empire seriously in the running for perhaps the worst novel he ever wrote. The motivation was noble, I'll give him that, which is one of the reasons I'm reading the entire run in the first place; namely, after writing three unrelated science-fiction trilogies back in the '50s concerning three different subjects (the "Robot" books, set in a day-after-tomorrow universe that looks similar to our own; the "Empire" books, set several millennia later, when humanity has expanded out into thousands of worlds across the galaxy; and the "Foundation" books, set several millennia after that, in which a shadowy group of intellectuals attempt to save humanity after the collapse of said empire), Asimov reapproached these books at the end of his life and realized that by writing a small number of "bridging" novels, he could turn the entire thing into one uninterrupted 15-book series chronicling 23,000 years of the human race's "future history," in the same vein as the similarly named series by his buddy Robert A. Heinlein, a series which took second place to Asimov's Foundation books when attendees of the 1966 World Science Fiction Convention voted for the greatest science-fiction series of all time*.

[*And by the way, it's fascinating to take a look at the other nominees for that award, including E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Lensmen" series from the 1930s, and Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Barsoom" series from the 1910s, and realize what a huge indication that is of the state of science-fiction in the 1960s versus now. If in the 2020s you tried to suggest to a hardcore fan that this is the best the genre has to offer, in most cases you'd get laughed right out of the room, which says a lot about how much this genre has grown and expanded in the half-century since this symbolic award was given out.]

The problem with these bridging novels, though, as I already detailed in my write-up of The Robots of Dawn last time, is that Asimov didn't have much more of an agenda with them than the need to impart about a short story's worth of information to help explain inconsistencies between the different series' settings (for example, the "Empire" books portray a galaxy where robots don't exist, and Earth is a radioactive wasteland, the exact opposite situation from the "Robot" books); but with Asimov now having achieved "grand old master" status by the last decade of his life, his publisher Doubleday wanted to milk these new novels for all they were worth, and so each of them needed to be a hefty 400 pages or so in order to justify the accolades that people were lining up ahead of time to give them.

And so that led to these cartoonishly bloated, ridiculously overwritten tomes, with Robots and Empire so far being the most guilty example out of all of them, with entire ten-page dialogue scenes that exist solely and exclusively to impart exactly one sentence of information, and even the characters often acknowledging this by exasperatingly blurting at the end of the ten pages, "Look, will you just tell me in plain words what you're trying to say?" Say what you will about 1950s science-fiction (and believe me, there's plenty to say); but at least the lack of respect and money back then, coupled with the fact that most new full-length stories in those days were first published serially in pulp magazines, led to novels that were lean and tight by necessity. By the '80s, though, when such megasuccessful franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek had brought the genre into mainstream acceptance, and a mainstream publisher with deep pockets like Doubleday made a bit more money with each extra page one of their books contained, this allowed writers like Asimov to work without a leash; and unfortunately Asimov really needed that leash in order to produce his best work, because when left alone to the delight of the sound of his own voice, he got lost in these endlessly looping conversations that would just say the same thing over and over and over, for thousands upon thousands of words at a stretch.

Plus I have to confess that I was profoundly disappointed with Asimov's decision to clean up the inconsistencies between these series by inventing a robot that happens to have telepathic abilities (revealed in the previous book in this series, which is why I don't consider it a spoiler for this book in the series), a literal definition of the "deus ex machina" copout that lazy writers have been using for thousands of years to easily get themselves out of plot jams. Asimov prided himself on his love of rationality and science, and was a champion of "hard" (i.e. actual science-based) science-fiction his entire career; so for him to clean up these series' timelines by basically saying "and then a wizard showed up and waved his magic wand and solved everything" is a huge letdown, and dishonors the science-heavy novels that first established him as a beloved master of this genre.

And of course this novel also suffers from the same thing The Robots of Dawn did immediately preceding it, which is Asimov doubling-down at the end of his life on the overt sexism and subsumed racism that people were already criticizing even in the '80s (but for more, again see my review of the previous novel), with all kinds of skeevy references here to women's pendulous breasts and pinchable asses, and seemingly no one in the future having any problem with the habit of calling robots "boy" in order to "put them in their place." As I mentioned last time, these kinds of details were only barely justifiable in the first place way back in the '50s when he first started using them, because at least he was reflecting the actual mores and language of society at the time; but for him to be consciously aware of his fans' complaints about these details by the '80s, at a time when it was most decidedly no longer kosher to say such things, just to respond by coldly declaring, "I couldn't possibly care whether the people who support my career are offended by these things or not, and just to prove it I'm going to deliberately keep using them despite their complaints," marks the sad end of a cranky old man's legacy, a former pioneer and one-time social activist who should've known better than this, and could've reacted to these issues with a lot more grace and mindfulness than he did, lending credence to the argument that this attitude had become an impenetrable fortress in the sci-fi community by the Woke 21st century, with no other option than to violently tear it down altogether.

So yes, I'm glad I took the time to read all the old "Robot" novels at least once more in my life, and read all the new ones for the first time; but whew, I'm also glad it's over, a reading experience that was checkered to say the least. Next time, the first of the "Empire" books, 1951's The Stars, Like Dust, also notable for being the very first novel Asimov ever published, so I hope you'll have a chance to join me again then.

Isaac Asimov books being reviewed for this series: I, Robot (1950) | The Caves of Steel (1954) | The Naked Sun (1957) | The Robots of Dawn (1983) | Robots and Empire (1985) | The Stars, Like Dust (1951) | The Currents of Space (1952) | Pebble in the Sky (1950) | Prelude to Foundation (1988) | Forward the Foundation (1993) | Foundation (1951) | Foundation and Empire (1952) | Second Foundation (1953) | Foundation's Edge (1982) | Foundation and Earth (1986)
Profile Image for Sharly.
241 reviews10 followers
July 15, 2021

Este libro hace de transición entre la serie de Robots y las precuelas de la Fundación. Y lo hace de maravilla, introduce el concepto de psico-historia, que utilizará Harry Seldon en futuras novelas, y universaliza las leyes de la robótica.

El libro parte de limitaciones importantes: cómo unir tramas escritas por Asimov con 30 años de diferencia y cómo justificar incoherencias entre las sagas de Robots y Trantor (e.g., el peso de los robots en el imperio galáctico; qué ocurre con la tierra). Para mí esta es la parte más solida y meritoria de la novela.

Por reseñar algunas deficiencias: encuentro algunos personajes con falta de carisma, como D.G Baley, y la trama en algunas partes es irrelevante. Pero en general me parece un libro recomendable.
Profile Image for Juan Nalerio.
446 reviews72 followers
September 29, 2022
Robots e imperio pistonea entre las novelas policiales “Los robots del amanecer”, “El sol desnudo” y la saga Fundación. El objetivo es crear las condiciones que van a propiciar el futuro imperio y posteriormente la Fundación y el nacimiento de la psicohistoria. Todo cierra para el amigo Issac.

La novela deja los elementos detectivescos de sus antecesoras y se sumerge en extensos diálogos, al estilo Asimov, muy prolijos y formales donde se hace filosofía sobre hombres y robots. La acción es mínima y el lector desea pasar al siguiente libro de la mesita de luz.
Profile Image for Χρήστος Αζαριάδης.
Author 2 books26 followers
February 21, 2022
Προετοιμάστηκα κατάλληλα για αυτό το βιβλίο. Ήταν βλέπετε το ενδέκατο βιβλίο του Ασίμωφ που διαβάζω, αλλά το τελευταίο βιβλίο του σύμπαντος των Ρομπότ. (Όποιος θέλει πληροφορίες ή συζήτηση για τα βιβλία του Ισαάκ δηλώνω διαθέσιμος).

Λοιπόν, οι φαν του Ασίμωφ θα λατρέψουν αυτό το βιβλίο. Μπορεί ο Ηλάια Μπέιλι εδώ και δεκαετίες να είναι σκόνη και θρυψαλα, αλλά η παρουσία του είναι κάτι παραπάνω από αισθητή. Θα έλεγα ότι ως βιβλίο αφήνει τα όρια του crime Sci-fi (μέσα στα οποία κινήθηκαν τα προηγούμενα βιβλία της σειράς) και κινείται περισσότερο προς το σύμπαν του Θεμελίου.

Θεωρώ ότι ήταν το καλύτερο βιβλίο της Robot series. Ο ιδανικός επίλογος μιας εμβληματικής σειράς.
Profile Image for Nikola Pavlovic.
269 reviews40 followers
September 11, 2018
Odlicna knjiga, najbolja u serijalu do sada. > Ziskar i Deniel vuku kunce u igri koja odlucuje sudbinu covecanstva. U ovom nastavku se po prvi put namece i pitanje nultog zakona i veoma je zanimljivo kako se on budi u pozitronskom mozgu Daniela R. Olivava. Gladija nalazi novi smisao zivota postajuci ambasador mira i samoproklamovani posrednik u odnosu izmedju ljudi i svemiraca. Ostali karakteri koji se pojavljuju u ovoj knjizi su takodje od krucijalnog znacaja, neki ce vas razocarati a neki drugi opet iznenaditi. Da li iz mrznje i straha moze da se rodi nesto dobro i koliko smo blizu Galktickog Carstva. Ova knjiga odgovara na sva ta pitanja.
Profile Image for Ana Cristina Lee.
641 reviews237 followers
July 4, 2020
Última entrega de la saga de los Robots que, a diferencia de los tres últimos, Bóvedas de acero, El sol desnudo y Los robots del amanecer, ya no tiene como protagonista al detective Elijah Baley ni sigue el formato del misterio autoconclusivo. Aquí se trata más bien de enlazar con las otras grandes sagas de Asimov, Fundación e Imperio.

Los protagonistas, 200 años después de la anterior novela, son los robots R. Daneel Olivaw y Giskard. También aparece Gladia, que ya conocemos de las dos obras anteriores, y que merced a su biología mejorada accesible a los Espaciales – habitantes de los Mundos Exteriores – todavía vive y tiene a los dos robots a su servicio. De hecho, tendrá un importante protagonismo, ya que junto a un descendiente de Elijah, intentará mediar en los recurrentes conflictos entre la Tierra y los Espacianos, donde está en juego el destino de la humanidad.

Esta obra, junto con la anterior, constituyen una clara precuela de la saga de la Fundación, sentando las bases para el universo Asimov, como el concepto de psicohistoria o la adición de una cuarta ley a las conocidas tres que regulan las relaciones entre los humanos y los robots.

En general, es una lectura más densa que las dos primeras novelas, hay muchos diálogos con ideas interesantes, pero menos acción. Muy recomendada para fans que quieran conocer la obra de Asimov. 3,5*

Para una reseña más completa:
Profile Image for Donna.
541 reviews182 followers
June 30, 2022
I am sorry to give this book two stars because there was a good story in it. But that story never had a chance to take off when bogged down with pages and pages of dialogue between characters debating their options, or individual characters contemplating their lives or desires. And as much as I liked the robots in this book, the author having them stand motionless while discussing how to save Earth and its inhabitants from those plotting against them just wasn’t very compelling, no matter that the future of humankind was at stake. To top it off, the author decided to show certain events from multiple viewpoints which had him repeating those elements in the story to the detriment of it.

I knew going into this book that it wasn’t going to measure up to the previous books in the series when missing a vital main character from them, as well as a good criminal mystery. So it’s unsurprising that the best parts of this book were the looking back scenes in which Daneel, the humanoid robot, thought about “Partner Elijah,” the detective from Earth who, against all odds, formed a personal bond with him while solving crimes.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue reading more of Asimov in the future, but if I do, it will be from his Foundation series which I’ve heard Daneel appears in. Either way, I’m glad I read the Robot series. I had been wishing to read about robots who weren’t bent on destroying their creators. I found that and so much more in Daneel, especially when he paired up with Detective Elijah Baley in the previous novels in this series. These were truly memorable characters that had me forgiving the author for all the flawed elements in this classic series.
Profile Image for ☠tsukino☠.
1,177 reviews130 followers
July 9, 2021
Gdl con Edicola & Libreria: le nostre passioni...

Nonostante in questo volume non ci sia più (e mi è spiaciuto), la sua presenza è tangibile non solo nei ricordi ma anche perchè è evidente l'influenza (nel bene e nel male) che ha avuto su tutti, su Daneel in primis, ma anche sui terrestri, sugli spaziali e sui coloni.
Ho adorato le interazioni tra Daneel, Giskard e Gladia; quest'ultima è maturata come personaggio, anche se mi sono chiesta più volte che fine avesse fatto la sua disinibizione 🤭
Mi sono emozionata al ricordo
Ho trovato alcune parti un po' noiose e un po' troppo filosofeggianti, per esempio quella con Amadiro, Mandamus e Vasilia, sicuramente essenziale ma un po' ripetitiva.
È stata furba la manovra per superare
483 reviews10 followers
August 13, 2016
Out of all the Foundation-and-related books, this one is definitely in line for being declared the weakest.

We find out how things happened, but what would have been brilliant as 2-3 pages of exposition was stretched out to hundreds of pages of endless flashbacks, somewhat dull dialogue, and at least 70 repetitions of the words "nuclear intensifier".

Especially annoying highlights:
Vasilia made Giskard into what he is. All fine and good, but one of the characters even mentions that this is extremely unlikely to have happened, no practical explanation is ever given, and the entire setup feels badly built and seems to exist only for the sole purpose of explaining how this information became known to certain other parties. One would think that easier approaches could have been made.

D & G endlessly discuss their approach to the zeroth law, and expound it to various humans at various times. Yes, we get it, there's no need to hammer it home. The modern reader is bored by constant repetition of the same thing, especially when it serves no meaningful purpose.

The first law which gets violated left and right, especially given how any violation of it should have put Daneel and company into permanent brain freeze immediately.

Giskard endlessly complains of how using his powers is dangerous and must be done with extreme care, yet apparently keeps doing it on the fly to everyone he meets.

What the end of the book sounds like: "Friend Daneel, I can give you this power, but it shall suck for you, so I won't. Soon, however, you shall have this power. Any moment now, I will give it to you, but not yet. I am looking forward to providing you with it very much."

And on and on.
Generally, I'd recommend you skip it and read something else out of Asimov's works.
Profile Image for Josh.
387 reviews17 followers
May 13, 2020
Like every other Asimov book, a snappy, fantastic read full of crisp dialogue and an absorbing plot with elements of sci-fi and mystery. I will never get over his ability to craft books without a single dull moment despite the fact that 99% of the action is just people talking. They're either hashing out a logical argument or painstakingly explaining one of the few actual bits of action, and I will never get tired of it.

If you're new to Asimov, thank you for reading this review, but let me stop you right here. This should be, at minimum, the fifth book you read, after the three previous books in the Robot series, as well as I, Robot. But seasoned Asimov readers will get what they've come for and should not be disappointed. I'm not sure why I never got around to reading this series before now, but glad to have finally done so.

*Stands up, turns chair backwards, and sits back down, hunkering down over the chair back indicating that I'm going to "get down" with you here*

Now it's time for some Real Talk. Real Ike Asimov Talk.

So, Ike wrote all the classic books in the Foundation, Robot, and Galactic Empire books in the 1950s. They had some links and similar elements, but were mostly their own things. For the most part, there they sat for a while as he churned out all kinds of other fiction and nonfiction. In the '80s he decided he wanted to link them together better, and produced two prequels and two sequels to Foundation, and a couple of sequels to Robots.

It's been a while since I've read the '80s Foundation books (edit: I re-read 'em) and I could stand a refresh, but my opinion today is that the latter two Robot books succeed where Asimov's '80s add-ons to the Foundation series failed. Those felt awkward and unnecessary. Whereas The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire expanded the universe created in the original books and gave them a more galactic scope. I only wish there were more.
Profile Image for Jay Wright.
1,500 reviews3 followers
March 9, 2020
Asimov's action is more on a intellectual plane. The characters were developed in the earlier works. The most important of characters being two Robots. Do the three laws of robotics cover everything or is there something missing? The question is simply should no harm come to man or should it be more universal in that no harm should come to mankind. Generally up until now, Robots could cause no harm to a human being, but the question is posed what if the actions of that protected man cause harm to other humans or mankind in general. This book sets out to answer this question.
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