This is the first in a series of the Robot Novels by Isaac Asimov. The main characters in this book are Elijah “Lije” Baley, a plainclothes cop, and R. Daneel Olivaw, a humaniform robot. The story takes place on futuristic Earth, approximately 3021 AD. Earth is heavily populated and most cities are mostly underground and interconnected. The major Cities such as New York are referred to with the capital C because of their massive size. New York City’s population is somewhere around 20million and Earth’s population tops 8 billion. Some people criticize Asimov by because Earth’s population will top 8 billion by 2020 according to many calculations. We have to remember that this is just a fiction book written in the 1950’s after all. These massive Cities are essentially enclosed underground and agoraphobia is common among most of the population.
This is the second book in the Robot Novel series by Asimov. A year has passed since The Caves of Steel. Lije Baley is summoned once again to solve a murder. The Department of Justice received a request from the Spacers asking specifically for Baley’s help with the case. This time the murder is not on Earth, but on the 50th Spacer world, Solaria.
At this point if you have not read both The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, this review will contain plot spoilers for those novels. I highly suggest reading both of those before even reading this review.
The Robots of Dawn takes place 2 years after the events in The Naked Sun. At the conclusion of The Naked Sun Elijah Baley is resolved to push Earth toward space expansion. He must face the open spaces of Earth and encourage others so they can prepare for colonization. His goal is to approach Aurora, the most powerful Spacer planet to petition for approval for expansion. The Outer Worlds have cut off Earth from immigrating to them, so the only solution is to expand to new worlds. This essentially was the goal Dr. Han Falstofe spoke of in The Caves of Steel. The long-lived Spacers haven’t colonized a planet in over two centuries, and according to Falstofe the future of colonization must lie with Earthers.
At this point if you have not read The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn, this review will contain plot spoilers for those novels. I highly suggest reading both of them before even reading this review.
The events in Robots and Empire take place about 200 years after The Robots of Dawn. Elijah Baley’s victory in exonerating Dr. Han Falstofe in the death of R. Jander Parnell secured his powerful position in Auroran government. Kelden Amadiro which was implicated in the death of Jander hasn’t forgotten his bitter defeat. With his support Earth was allowed to develop its colonization plans. The number of Settler worlds is increasing, and no new settlement from Spacer worlds has taken place. Actually, Solaria has severed all contact with everyone and is rumored to be empty.