Reviews of Caves of Steel, the (1954)
Review by kadambi (2007-05-28)
The start of Asimov's Robot series! It proves again that Asimov is as good a mystery writer as a sci-fi writer.
Set in the far future, when mankind has colonized many worlds, Asimov explores statism that has crept into both worlds: Earth and the outer worlds.
The premise of the book is that colonizing outer worlds is key to man's progress and prosperity.
The outer worlds, under-populated, has descended into a sort of smug self-satisfaction. They stop exploring other worlds. Faced with under-population, some feel that the future of humanity is in danger unless the instinct of exploration is revitalized. The solution is to convince over-populated earth to start colonizing new worlds: with the help of their advanced robots. However, earthmen, used to enclosed city life are wary of exploring outer spaces on earth, let alone outer worlds!
The rest deals with the fascinating interplay between the protagonist Lije Bailey (Earthman- Police detactive) and R. Daniel Olivaw (Spacer Robit) in their quest to solve a murder mystery whose outcome can determine the fate of future of humanity.
(This review refers to the 1954 version titled “Caves of Steel, the”)
Review by rootbeer (2003-03-10)
My second favorite Asimov book, The Caves of Steel does what science fiction is supposed to do, it explores the consequences of a concept taking to its extreme in the future. We see how men and robots get along, we see how the arrogant Spacers look down at the earthbound, and we see the various advantages and disadvantages of robots compared with human beings. R. Daneel Olivaw is one of the most fully fleshed-out robot characters ever in science fiction, and I can easily see our society headed in the direction Asimov fears it to be headed in.