The Naked Sun (Robot #2)

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 3 stars

The sequel to The Caves of Steel, this time instead of a murder of a Spacer on Earth, there’s a murder on the planet Solaria — an unheard of event — so they ask for Plainclothesman Bailey to come out to investigate, once again being teamed up with R. Daneel Olivaw.

Asimov has used these books to compare and contrast two very different societies: the huge underground cities of Earth, teeming with people who never see the outside world; and Solaria, a planet with a rigidly controlled population, where robots outnumber people 20,000 to one and where the population is spread so thinly that the idea of seeing someone (as opposed to viewing them hologramatically) is repulsive. In this, Asimov succeeds tremendously, although the actual mystery is possibly not as strong as its predecessor.

One thing that interested me here was that Asimov was already developing the notion that robots could cause long-term harm by means of a short-term good (eg not being able to discipline a child although such discipline may be better in the long term), something that he would eventually codify into the Zeroth Law of Robotics in Robots and Empire.

Book details

ISBN: 9780586010167
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year of publication: 1956

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