The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second book in Asimov's celebrated Robot series (It's sandwiched between The Caves of Steel and The Robots of Dawn), and I think it suffers a bit with the transition from Earth to another planet, in this case, the Earth-like Solara. In the first book, the actual caves presented were fascinating. Mankind had journeyed underground and set up cities, which in itself was interesting. I also found the case more engaging, too, as it centered squarely on R. Daneel, which is the central robot of the series. That book featured a world distrustful of robots, while this book features a planet that relies on them. It's a nice change of pace and I applaud Asimov for trying something different, but it's just missing something with its absence of crowds and city life. Plus, R. Daneel plays a lot less heavily in this story than he did in the last one (Though, I do see the correlation between robots and slavery--the protagonist frequently calls them "boy"--more so in this one, which presents an intriguing new element to these stories that wasn't present in the first).
The case this time is also much less interesting than it was in Caves, as it feels more like something you would find in a cozy mystery rather than a sci-fi novel. Other than the aspect of "viewing" and "seeing" in this book, and the robots, of course, this doesn't seem like the adventurous exploration of sci-fi mystery like the first one. And that's probably because we're stuck with the more human elements in this story than the last book. I'm interested to see how the final novel in the series fits it altogether, given that ending, but I'm also a little less intrigued after this book. Oh, well.
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