The Caves of Steel : Robots

  • by Isaac Asimov
  • Narrated by William Dufris
  • Series: Robots
  • 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Elsie MacGregor

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.

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- David Arnett

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-15-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio