The Caves of Steel (Robot 1) ペーパーバック – 2018/3/5
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Isaac Asimov's ROBOT series - from the iconic collection I, ROBOT to four classic novels - contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the THREE LAWS OF ROBOTICS, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day. In the vast, domed cities of Earth, artificial intelligence is strictly controlled; in the distant Outer Worlds, colonists and robots live side by side. A Spacer ambassador is found dead and detective Elijah Baley is assigned to find the killer. But with relations between the two cultures in the balance, the Spacers insist that he work with a partner of their choosing - a robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw. Baley has never seen a robot like Daneel before - almost indistinguishable from a human - and soon, though the Three Laws of Robotics should render the crime impossible, Baley's partner becomes his prime suspect.
`One of the classic presentations of the womb-city, metropolis as mother, which has haunted imaginations ever since... The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun are the best books Isaac Asimov ever wrote' The Guardian `Isaac Asimov was one of the great explainers of the age...It will never be known how many practicing scientists today, in how many countries, owe their initial inspiration to a book, article, or short story by Isaac Asimov' Carl Sagan `Asimov displayed one of the most dynamic imaginations in science fiction' Daily Telegraph `Asimov's career was one of the most formidable in science fiction' The Times商品の説明をすべて表示する
Figured I'd start at the beginning of Asimov's journey with establishing the foundations of his now-canon robot ideas, as much as I dislike the writing style of early sci fi (it's usually unreadable for me).
So. It wasn't terrible, but still. Disliked it for use of dated words and presentations. Could have cheerfully lived without any biblical stuff (can't I escape this even in robot sci fi?), and use of "golly" or "gosh" from the obedient teenage son and "Jehoshaphat" as a "curse word" from the dad. Please. And the wife crying and acting like Lucy Ricardo, oh, that was painful. I was a 60s kid and was continually disappointed back then for idiotic tv, movie, and book depictions of women. This is no exception. Child-woman, terrified of society and husband's disapproval! I never met any in my family...and seldom anywhere else in real life, either.
But. This kind of junk is always part of old science fiction. Grit your teeth and move on. This is the way men wrote fiction then. (Most women too, trying to meet common expectations for their readers.) These bigger ideas trapped in the silly sexist pages still deserve a hearing, in all fairness. These writers were products of their time, as we ALL are. Someday people will be laughing at MY pretensions.
So, fellow and sister explorer. Read it for the ideas and not for the stupid dialog. Asimov was a brilliant man, and this is clearly an early but earnest effort. He is a better writer than he sounds from this review. He can tell a story, and he's learning here.
Try it. I found myself rewriting the dialog as I went, and still could work with the story. But try the story...take the journey with Asimov and his ideas.
The Spacers have established an embassy on Earth on the outskirts of New York, called Spacetown. The book goes into great length contrasting the culture of the Spacers verses the Earthers, and this is necessary to understand the significance and possible motive of the murder of a Spacer in Spacetown.
Plain-clothes man Elijah Baley is assigned the case and in an unprecedented move is partnered with a Spacer robot, R. Daneel Olivaw.
The book succeeds as both a great work of Science Fiction speculation and as a fine mystery. Asimov does not cheat the reader, providing many clues to solve the perplexing murder.
This robot novel introduces the human looking robot R. Daneel Olivaw who would appear in many other robot novels as well as the continuing Foundation novels. This book is top notch.
I'm of the generation that grew up devouring Asimov - who, among others, got me imagining a fantastic future - but now that vision is revealed as much less imaginative than was once thought. What value this book retains is in nostalgia for those who read it long ago, or as a semi-important example of the development of the genre. (The Foundation Trilogy being a better example of the latter.) I give one star for each, though I cant disagree with anyone who rated this 1 star overall, that's likewise reasonable.
As for the "mystery" element - that wasn't good when the book was new. Our hero stumbles along doing pretty much nothing worthwhile (though we do get descriptions of Asimov's future New York), then the solution - jehosphat! - just pops into his head a few pages from the end.
Today it is just as enjoyable to return to these books. They have lost very little of their impact despite the many years that have gone by - in the case of The Caves of Steel, nearly 65 years ago (it was first published in February of 1954). In fact, it is remarkable how well this story has aged.
The title 'Caves of Steel' refers to how Earth has evolved into massive cities, where the population lives, works and recreates without ever departing into the 'real world' of sunlight, wind and rain. Mankind has separated into two groups, the majority remaining on earth and a smaller number who have emigrated to other planets. Robots are an established part of both groups, but the humans who have remained on Earth are distrustful of robots.
Asimov's famous 'Three Laws of Robotics' are integral to the story:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
This is a refreshing, enjoyable and worthwhile story that reminds me how great Asimov was, and remains.