On the “Spacer” planet of Aurora, the woman Gladia’s life is a long succession of days filled with ennnui. Despite being descended from the first humans to settle other planets, her society is stagnating. Spacers live long, empty lives. Robots run all menial work and intricate rules of conduct control much of life. Into this drops D.G. Baley, descendant of Elijah Baley of The Caves of Steel and The Robots of Dawn (when Gladia met Elijah). Baley is a “Settler”, part of a new wave of colonizers from Earth who are much more dynamic than the Spacers, and are overtaking them in influence. The Settlers oppose the Spacers. He asks Gladia to come with him to help investigate a mystery. Meanwhile, powerful men plot the defeat of the Settlers.
This is the last Robot novel by Asimov. It is part of his efforts to unify the Robot series with the Empire/Foundation series. Asimov has great ideas as usual but I found the writing hopelessly tedious. The fact that the Spacers are amazingly annoying people, haughty, self-centered and stuck up, does not help matters. I kept thinking that if I met Gladia I would have wanted to slap her. She is constantly bitching and moaning about trivialities.
As usual with Asimov, there is almost only dialogue and very little actual action. That is not a bad thing per se, but here it has been taken to an absurd extreme. Robot Daneel and Robot Giskard spend page after page discussing events (such as there are) in excruciating detail. No eventuality or possibility is left undiscussed. One character, on two separate occasions, refuses to listen to something he needs to hear until he is convinced that he needs to hear it. Both times it is a 5-10 page ordeal. I know Asimov is trying to make the point that Spacer society is stagnating and is stuck with all these rules, but it makes reading very boring. Overall, that would be the word to describe this novel: boring.
I made it two thirds in before giving up.
Some genius came up with the idea that three different writers should write a new trilogy about Asimov’s Foundation. While I admire the sentiment, I would say that it’s a very tall order. I only got as far as the first book. Correction: I only got as far as the first third of the first book, because I kept falling asleep from boredom. It is utterly dull and as far as I can see there is no story. Go read the excellent original Foundation series instead.
An expansion of an earlier story with the same name by Asimov. Very interesting novel about a planet with six suns. This astronomical oddity results in a world that (almost) never knows night, and has never seen the stars. Astronomy is all about calculating the orbits of the suns. An astronomer figures out that night is going to fall soon, for the first time in 2049 years. Chaos and madness follow.
An expansion of an earlier story by Asimov in which scientists retrieve a Neanderthal child from the past. A nurse feels empathy for the boy and helps him escape. Competently written, but mostly interesting due to the questions it raises about scientific ethics. Published as “Child of Time” in the UK.
One of Asimov’s later works, and not his best. His prose has certainly become more modern and, dare I say it, refined, since Foundation, but his ideas have not. Not a struggle to get through, but it is not a very original story. There’s a classic roving habitat, impending doom, and some youngsters.
The final Robot novel by Asimov, in which Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw travel to one of the original fifty colonies, Aurora, to solve the murder of a robot. Once again, Asimov proves his mastery with cool interpretations of the three Laws of Robotics.
Excellent novel in Asimov’s Robot series. Supercop Elijah Baley teams up with robot R. Daneel Olivaw to solve a murder. Great milieus and a great take on racism and discrimination. Well worth a read, especially if you like Golden Age Science Fiction.
Although written in the same style as the forgettable The Currents of Space, this novel has a better story. A 62 year old retired tailor from 20th century Chicago is transported to a future earth so poor that citizens are euthanized at 60. His arrival and subsequent actions change the world. If you want to read Asimov (and you should), read the Robot books or Foundation instead.
Incidentally, this particular cover uses one of my favorite pieces of art of all time, by the late Peter Elson.
Typical Asimov fare, in which our hero Rik is mindwiped and abandoned. Naturally, the information in his mind which he can no longer remember will bring down the reigning world order and so on. Not one of Asimov’s best, with an annoying lack of descriptions for environments and so on.