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The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
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4,804741,466 (3.89)99

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Plainclothesman Elijah Bailey travels to Solaria to help solve a murder that seems so to the point as far as Solarian customs goes that it should solve itself. But Bailey and his partner Daneel find themselves questioning the obvious and they try to dig deeper through very rigid Solarian customs. In the end, everything was as it appeared from everyone else's point of view. Just that the actual course of actions may not be as others had thought within the character mindsets. There definitely was some meddling with the There Laws of Robotics in order for the end result to actually happen as it seemed.

This puts the first hints of what is to come out eventually in the open. Right now things are nebulous in the Robot/Foundation series. But that is for other stories farther down the line. I find it fascinating to see where Asimov got the idea of his Robot/Foundation universe connection and how it came about. I can't wait to finish the series so I can compare it to the Foundation series I've read previously. Definitely recommended. ( )
  krgulick | Jun 19, 2019 |
I always enjoy the old Asimov books. Are they the best written? No. Are there mind blowing plot twist? Not necessarily. I still enjoy the stories. This one is typical of his style. If you like any of his robot books then this one is similar. If you are bored by this one then Asimov robot stories are not for you and that's OK.

None of his books will get five stars but I still enjoy them. ( )
  ikeman100 | Sep 15, 2018 |
To his chagrin, Detective Elijah Baley must leave Earth to investigate a murder on the sparsely populated outer world of Solaria where crime is practically nonexistent and robots far outnumber their human masters. In fact, humans on Solaria have evolved into isolationists, communicating with one another solely by holographic projection, otherwise known as “viewing.” The mere suggestion of physical contact or even close proximity is taboo—even for married couples.

This custom only complicates Baley’s investigation into the murder of biologist Rikaine Delmarre. Allegedly alone in his lab at the time, Delmarre was found bludgeoned to death with his wife, Gladia, lying unconscious beside him and a malfunctioning robot standing over them. Gladia is the prime suspect simply because she was the only person Rikaine would permit to see him. Certainly, the robot could not blamed, as robots cannot kill humans. Baley is not convinced, especially since no weapon has yet been found.

What of the robot? Solarian robots are constructed with positronic brains, programmed with the Three Laws of Robotics—a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Further inhibiting Baley’s investigation is his innate fear of the outdoors, resulting from a lifetime in the enclosed, underground cities of Earth. However, Baley forces himself to cope as he journeys across Solaria with his partner, R. Daneel Olivaw to interview various people in Delmarre’s life. A robot indistinguishable from a human, Olivaw was assigned to the investigation from the planet Aurora, another of Earth’s colonies.

With all of these impediments—and more—Baley must delve into Solarian sociology and psychology in his quest to compile the evidence needed to bring the murderer to justice.

The Naked Sun is the second of Asimov’s four robot novels starring Elijah “Lije” Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw (who also appears in Asimov’s Foundation series). The story’s title is derived from the fact that, in Asimov’s future, citizens of Earth live underground and have developed a dislike of the outdoors and have not set eyes on their own sun in many generations.

While Asimov has never been known for the depth of his characters, the human sociological idiosyncrasies of Baley, as juxtaposed against those of the Solarians, added another level of tension and complexity beyond a mere murder investigation. ( )
  pgiunta | Aug 27, 2018 |
This review is going to contain spoilers, not because I need to spoil it to explain it but because I don't respect the book enough to try to get you to read it by withholding the plot.

This book is bad.

This book continues the story of Elijah Bailey. He is told to team up with his robot partner from the last book but this time they are on another planet. All character development from Bailey in the first book is gone; he is back to hating robots. Worse, the allegory of robots being immigrants has been changed to immigrants being slaves. It is not subtle. Elijah spends most of the book referring to robots as "Boy".

The book opens with a murder. Delmarre. The murder is set on a world where people are only ever in the same house as other people if they are married. This taboo is shown throughout the book to be strong, tested and true. Therefore, the only person who could be the murderer is the wife, Gladia (who we are introduce to whilst she is naked). Bailey doesn't believe this because he doesn't believe in the ability of a woman to commit murder.

Bailey tracks down the real killer, Leebig. We find out his motive and means but there is no opportunity as he refuses to be in the same room as a person. So to commit the murder, he convinces Gladia to go to Delmarre and gets her so mad that she blacks out and kills Delmarre. Bailey assigns no agency to Gladia and she ends up going free in the end.

This books is very racist, very sexist and frankly barely readable. I gave it one star because I liked the setting: a world where no one ever sees each other. It's a pity the author doesn't know what to do with it. I recommend you don't bother with this one. I plan to re-read the foundation series after this and then on to the crossover series between the robots and foundation. I will update this review later if I feel you need to read this book to enjoy the entire series.

CW: sexism, racism, murder, suicide, nudity, bad writing ( )
1 vote BobbyCutiePie | Aug 23, 2018 |
Better than [b:The Caves of Steel|41811|The Caves of Steel (Robot, #1)|Isaac Asimov|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1335782224s/41811.jpg|140376] but I'm not sure whether it rates higher than a 3. ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Elijah must face is extreme agoraphobia, and Gladia must confront the Solarian fear of interpersonal contact. These Solarians represent what can possibly happen when dependence on robots is taken to extremes. Also, we get to see the developing relationship between Elijah and Daneel.
added by circeus | editThe Science Fiction Review (Nov 5, 2005)

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isaac Asimovprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beem, A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bing, JonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bringsværd, Tor ÅgeAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emshiller, EdCover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freas, KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groot, RuurdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haars, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kezmarsky, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puttkamer, Jesco vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ray, RuthCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoovelaar, FrankCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Noreen,
To Tony, and
to One Hundred Unusual Hours
To Noreen and Nick Falasca
for inviting me,
To Tony Boucher
for introducing me,
and to One Hundred Unusual Hours
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Stubbornly Elijah Baley fought panic.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553293397, Mass Market Paperback)

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.  On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants.  To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations.  The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection.  Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on.  Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities:  Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots--unthinkable under the laws of Robotics--or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

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The Earth will be destroyed by Solaria's robot army if Elijah Baley fails to find the murderer of an eminent scientist.

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