Robots Make the World Go Round

Well, that took a lot longer than it should have! It’s weird to me that Robots and Empire isn’t available as an e-book. It’s one of the more recent novels in the grand series, and it’s pretty important in the scheme of things.

Oh good, there’s another one!

When the book opens, we learn that Solaria has been abandoned by its human inhabitants, Elijah Baley has been dead for nearly 200 years, and Daneel and Giskard have passed into the ownership of Gladia Solaria, the last known Solarian. Two trader ships from the Settler worlds have attempted to land on Solaria in order to collect some of the robots left behind and were promptly destroyed, bringing Elijah’s seven times great-grandson, D.G. (Daneel Giskard) Baley to Aurora looking for Gladia’s assistance in uncovering the mystery of what happened to the ships. Gladia (with Giskard’s quiet help) ends up saving the lives of D.G. and his crew, leading to her becoming a hero to the people of Earth and the Settler worlds. She finds that this agrees with her and chooses to devote the remaining decades of her life to working for peace between the Settlers and the Spacers.

This is the copy I read. It doesn’t make much sense either.

Meanwhile, Giskard and Daneel have uncovered a grand scheme by a few Spacers to end the Earth’s galactic expansion. As Giskard reads the emotions of those around him, and Daneel uses the gift of deduction he learned from Elijah, the two robots slowly unravel the dastardly plan to end Earth and its inhabitants. During this time, Daneel comes up with what he terms “The Zeroth Law”, that a robot’s first true loyalty must be to protect humanity. That, in fact, the good of the whole is greater than the good of the one. I suppose that’s what this book boils down to There are many conversations between the two robots as they work toward this realization.

I suppose this makes the most sense, though its a bit generic. All around some pretty disappointing covers.

Unlike the rest of the books I’ve read so far in this series, this book felt quite a bit like filler, which I suppose it is in a way. It’s Asimov’s attempt to connect the Robot and Empire stories (with a bit of a nod to the Foundation series as well) but the theme behind this particular novel feels quite a bit weaker than in previous books. Perhaps because it’s not focusing so much on a quirk of humanity we need to be wary of. Perhaps it’s because the humans all end up feeling completely superfluous. For whatever the reason, Robots and Empire didn’t leave me thinking great thoughts the way great sci-fi should.

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Interim Post – Making Lame Excuses

It’s been a long time since I posted, so this is that inevitable post about why I’m not posting. My reasons are twofold:

1. The next book in Asimov’s series, Robots and Empire is NOT available as an ebook. This means that I had to either order it or hunt it down somewhere. I did manage to find it in my library system, and I’m about halfway through now. I also have a harder time reading regular books now. I suppose because it’s not just sitting there on my computer/tablet/smartphone for me to pick up wherever I left off when a have time. Instead, I have to remember to bring the physical book with me to places, which is much harder.

2. I have a job and September is a busy time. By the time I get home from work, I’m not in the mood to do much of anything but veg in front of the television. The thought required to process a book you intend to review is just not there.

So, that’s why there hasn’t been a post in a couple of weeks. I promise I haven’t forgotten you and I am working on it. The book is due back at the library in a week and I’d hate to have to renew it, so a review should be up sometime soon.