Mar. 3rd, 2010

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The Naked Sun (Robot 2) The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The society of the planet Solaria is the polar opposite of that of Earth. There are a mere twenty thousand spacers living there, and they in turn are outnumbered by robots by a factor of ten thousand to one. This wealth of resources and space allows the Solarians to live lives of splendid isolation on their large estates, communicating with each other solely by remote holographic viewing and devoting their time to the pursuit of academic studies or art rather than physical labour which is the purview of the robots. The robots in turn have an elaborate system of communication between themselves so that they can respond instantly and appropriately to any human need.

It is a society in which crime is not only unknown, but practically unimaginable. When a murder is committed the Solarians have no alternative but to call for the services of Earth detective Elijah Baley, once more partnered with robot Daneel Olivaw. It seems that there is only one suspect, but also that there is no possible way that this suspect could have committed the crime. A mystery is once again afoot, although this time Baley will have to conquer his fear of leaving the safe enclosure of his cosy city to walk outside beneath the naked sun of an alien world.

This is not quite as taut a novel as its predecessor 'The Caves of Steel'. It is structured like a classical murder mystery with each suspect being introduced and interviewed in turn, followed by the traditional drawing room dénouement with the motive, means and opportunity being explained before the murderer is unmasked. The interest comes from the explanation of the functioning of Solarian society with all of its strange mores, and the realisation of just how very different it is from that of Earth. Asimov also uses this novel to expound further on the workings of his famous three laws of robotics and just how they would function in a true C/Fe (or human/robot) society.

Classic golden age sf of the highest calibre.

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Mar. 3rd, 2010 06:48 pm
thermalsatsuma: (Default)
The skies were not quite as blue today, but it was dry and not too cold, so I didn't mind too much. I'm really starting to feel that Spring is on the way, even if there is still the tail end of Winter to get through yet.

Awake at four in the morning again, but not for too long. It doesn't seem to make much difference what time I go to bed, as to whether or not I'm awake in the wee smalls, so my reasoning is that I should just go to bed when I'm tired rather than fighting to stay awake longer than my body wants.

Work has been busy with some planning as well as fire fighting issues that I'm going to have to go on site tomorrow to do some work on. There's not actually all that much to do physically when I'm there, but a spot of pragmatic diplomacy is called for once again.


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September 2010


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