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Publisher's Summary

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the "R" stood for robot - and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

©1954 Isaac Asimov (P)2014 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HL
  • 09-16-14

Sci-Fi Mystery at its Best!

Where does The Caves of Steel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Listening to The Caves of Steel was a delightful experience. The story takes place in a future New York City, after Man has colonized other worlds. The problems on earth include overpopulation, food shortages, and vast unemployment due to technology. The story was not too science-y and the police procedural aspects were interesting. I think the Fox t.v. show "Almost Human" takes many of the themes from this book regarding robot police officers.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The protagonist, Elijah, was my favorite. He was obviously torn between idolizing earth's simpler past and embracing a technological future. Having read other Asimov works...I would say that character development is not something seen in many of Asimov's other books. Here, though, we have a well-rounded character who struggles and grows as the story unfolds.

What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought Mr. Dufris did a good job of narration. His R. Daneel Olivaw was robotic, but not stereotypical. His other voices were just different enough to recognize characters without being too "out there".

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Overall, I was very happy with this audiobook purchase.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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It is difficult to catch the wonder of a classic.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Caves of Steel to be better than the print version?

The audio version is almost as good as I remember from my first reading the original when a teenager.

What did you like best about this story?

The best of the story is the extrapolation from 1953 to what might be. Mostly with success, but some of the failures are even more interesting. Asimov has the trend but some details seem strange to us now, and lest we become complacent we should reflect that the future technology of a single decade will very likely make our own "newest thing" seem dated. Asimov did not get bogged down in the small details but focused on some big questions.

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to name, but all feature the uncertain boundary between biological and electronic ("positronic") intelligence (AI). If a machine can appear human, what is a human other than a biological machine? This is close to Alan Turing's problem. How do we humans put the spirit into the machine? Is it possible? Does R. Daneel have a spirit? What do we mean by "spirit"? These are hard and interesting questions.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it is an old favorite of mine, and I like to savor it bit by bit. I think there is much content here.

Any additional comments?

The performance of Jessie was unexpectedly good for a male narrator. Asimov's notion of artificial intelligence was brilliant for the time in which The Caves of Steel was written. We are still working on that hard problem, and may need many more creative ideas before we solve it! The (undeserved) hatred of the Spacers may be seen to have an unfortunately large variety of present day implications.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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amazing sci-fi mystery

this book is Asimov's statement that sci-fi can mix with mystery and other genres. His ability to build on the foundation of the chronologically earlier "Robot" stories in creating such an intriguing and thought provoking setting/atnosphere is remarkable. That he was able to prove his contemporaries, who said that the two genres couldn't mix, wrong is an understatement as this is one of his masterpieces. This story sets the stage for the Robot Mystery series with diverse characters: a protagonist you can relate to in a world we would find to be wholly unearthly. The series itself provides readers with a great bridge between the stories revolving around more primitive robots and The Foundation series; it is the stepping stone between his vision of man taking a major leap and the great fall it ensures millennia later.

I also must give credit to an excellent production, as the narrator used a variety of distinct voices to help the reader tremendously both with the dialog, character thought, and exposition. I had already read the book and heard a different audio book, and this was my favorite of all three options. I look forward to hearing his reading of the rest of the series!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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good book, poor narration

The narrator's character voices are grating and caetoonish, and make it impossible to take the excellent (if somewhat dated) science fiction story as seriously as it deserves.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • The BW
  • Woodbridge, VA United States
  • 06-29-16

classic

All things Asimov have an edge to them, but the robot series is exceptional. This is the start of the great work that has been the foundation of almost every robot story since. From any author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard to believe it was written so long ago!

Smart guy!

Quick paced interesting story! I didn't care so much for the main characters voice. It sounded like Putty on Seinfeld.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great read

I've always loved Isaac Asimov since my husband got me hooked and this narrator did a wonderful job bringing these people to life ..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story in only 8 hours.

I was hooked from the very beginning. The reader is solid and the story is a classic. I was surprised to hear the book was written in 1953. Isaac was way ahead of his time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Deeply engrossing story.

The world of this story is very typical for Asamov, as are the three laws which play such a large roll, but each character is fascinating and human (even those that aren't) to such a degree that you will have selfish have to listen in one sitting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dry story overly narrated

I prefer narrators whom distinguish characters with nuance. If only Brick narrated the entire Robot series. He'd bring out the wit in Asimov's writing.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful