Author: Isaac Asimov
Title: The Caves of Steel
Publication Date: 1954, republished 1991
Number of Pages: 270
Part of a Series: yes, the first in the Robot Series, there are 4 books in this series
Subject Heading(s): Pioneer Library System () and NoveList (NL)
- Life of other planets
- Science fiction
- Interplanetary relations
- Space colonies
Geographical Setting/ Time Period: New York City, thousands of years in the future
- Elijah (Lije) Baley- no-nonsense human policeman who distrusts robots;
- R. Daneel Olivaw- a Spacer humanoid robot policeman who searches for justice
Plot Summary: By this time Earthmen live in enclosed spaces without access to fresh air and Spacers (those on Earth) are living in small spaces open to the air, one of many differences between the two peoples. Lije and R. Daneel must work together to solve the murder of one of the Spacers by an Earthman before the incident creates enough clamor that indemnity ships are sent to Earth to collect payment for the murder. Lije must learn to work with robots and in the process discovers many things about life. Daneel and the Spacers learn more about the Earthmen as well through the course of the investigation.
Appeal: This is a mystery with several twists. It is fast paced and has an interesting version of how Earth, and life on it, has changed in thousands of years. The overall tone of the book is a little darker as it deals with the problems of overpopulation, murder and distrust of those different from “Earthmen”.
Brief quote: “Perhaps it had been different in Medieval times when languages had varied and dietaries as well. Nowadays, yeast products were just the same from Shanghai to Tashkent and from Winnipeg to Buenos Aires; and English might not be the “English” of Shakespeare or Churchill, but it was the final potpourri that was current over all the continents and, with some modification, on the Outer Worlds as well.” (p. 138)
Prizes or Awards: no awards for this particular book but many for his other works including the Hugo, Locus and Nebula Awards.
- the Dirk Gently series by Douglas Adams, humorous private investigator and science fiction
- the other items in the Robot series (next title is The Naked Sun) by Isaac Asimov, continues the story of Lije and Daneel
- Gun, with occasional music by Jonathan Lethem, science fiction and mystery
Reviewer’s Name: Erin Bedford
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.