Friday, March 30, 2007

The Robots of Dawn by Issac Asimov

I finished The Robots of Dawn at the beginning of this week, but haven't had a chance to write about it yet! Ben loves Isaac Asimov and I've been slowly trying to work my way through the robot books. Next it will be on to Empire and then the Foundation series, which is really what I want to read! :-)

It took me a long time to read Robots of Dawn. It's a 400 page book, but it took me a good two weeks. The beginning was really dry and hard to get in to. Which is a shame because the last 1/3 of the book was actually exciting and good. Asimov really needed to trim it down or have an editor that could tell him that pages about how Baily wants to invent the word "roboticide" is really boring. Also endless description of Baily using the bathroom and how men don't talk to each other in the bathroom is also boring. I could go on, but I'm sure you've got the idea!!

This novel concerns our heroes Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw in their third mystery together. Daneel is a humanode robot (like Data on Star Trek) and Baley is a detective on earth. Together they travel to the planet Aurora to investigate a case of roboticide. Han Fastolfe, a gifted roboticist, is the only person who has the knowledge to cause the humanoid robot, Jander, to malfunction, but Baley must prove him innocent as the murder and murderer are tied in with a power struggle on the planet for who will be the next interstellar pioneers (earthmen or humanoid robots). Although Baley and Daneel are both billed as the stars of the novel, it's really all about Baley.

One line in the book made me actually put it down and read another before I could start it again.

"Jehoshaphat," he whispered.

"I knew that when I met you again, Elijah, that would be the first word I would hear."

That made me groan at the cheesiness of it all (I'm already annoyed as how often Baley does say Jehoshapat) and I was ready to give it up. I'm glad I finished it though as the last 1/3 or 1/2 was actually good.

Right after the cheesy line, there was a another awkward section that was just strange to me. Gladia came from the previous novel and is from the planet Solaria. On that plant there are a lot of robots and the humans do not touch each other and sex is something they do not talk about. Gladia tells Baley about how his touch on her face in the last book gave her an orgasm and goes on to talk about sex with the murdered robot Jandar. The whole section seemed odd. I couldn't imagine a normal woman having such a conversation, let alone one that was raised against such things.

After this book, I've come to believe that believe that Asimov is a much better short story author than a book author. In his stories he is to the point, but his novels contain a lot of filler. Any one out their an Asimov fan who wants to prove me wrong?

1 comment:

  1. I very much agree. That Solarian woman was strange because in previous book she was described as psychopath. I wonder, why then she was so normal in this one. She tried to kill Detective once, but now he liked her and was not afraid. Strange. But I liked it.