The Robots of Dawn

The Robots of Dawn

by Isaac Asimov

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A millennium into the future two advances have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together.

Detective Elijah Baiey is called to the Spacer world Aurora to solve a bizarre case of roboticide. The prime suspect is a gifted roboticist who had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to commit the crime. There's only one catch: Baley and his positronic partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, must prove the man innocent. For in a case of political intrigue and love between woman and robot gone tragically wrong, there's more at stake than simple justice. This time Baley's career, his life, and Earth's right to pioneer the Galaxy lie in the delicate balance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307490247
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/21/2009
Series: The Robot Series , #4
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 54,815
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Isaac Asimov began his Foundation series at the age of twenty-one, not realizing that it would one day be considered a cornerstone of science fiction. During his legendary career, Asimov penned more than 470 books on subjects ranging from science to Shakespeare to history, though he was most loved for his award-winning science fiction sagas, which include the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series. Named a Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America, Asimov entertained and educated readers of all ages for close to five decades. He died, at the age of seventy-two, in April 1992.

Date of Birth:

January 20, 1920

Date of Death:

April 6, 1992

Place of Birth:

Petrovichi, Russia

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Columbia University, B.S. in chemistry, 1939; M.A. in chemistry, 1941; Ph.D. in biochemistry, 1948

Read an Excerpt

Elijah Baley found himself in the shade of the tree and muttered to himself, “I knew it. I’m sweating.”
He paused, straightened up, wiped the perspiration from his brow with the back of his hand, then looked dourly at the moisture that covered it.
“I hate sweating,” he said to no one, throwing it out as a cosmic law. And once again he felt annoyance with the Universe for making something both essential and unpleasant.
One never perspired (unless one wished to, of course) in the City, where temperature and humidity were absolutely controlled and where it was never absolutely necessary for the body to perform in ways that made heat production greater than heat removal.
Now that was civilized.
He looked out into the field, where a straggle of men and women were, more or less, in his charge. They were mostly youngsters in their late teens, but included some middle-aged people like himself. They were hoeing inexpertly and doing a variety of other things that robots were designed to do—and could do much more efficiently had they not been ordered to stand aside and wait while the human beings stubbornly practiced.
There were clouds in the sky and the sun, at the moment, was going behind one of them. He looked up uncertainly. On the one hand, it meant the direct heat of the sun (and the sweating) would be cut down. On the other hand, was there a chance of rain?
That was the trouble with the Outside. One teetered forever between unpleasant alternatives.
It always amazed Baley that a relatively small cloud could cover the sun completely, darkening Earth from horizon to horizon yet leaving most of the sky blue.
He stood beneath the leafy canopy of the tree (a kind of primitive wall and ceiling, with the solidity of the bark comforting to the touch) and looked again at the group, studying it. Once a week they were out there, whatever the weather.
They were gaining recruits, too. They were definitely more in number than the stout-hearted few who had started out. The City government, if not an actual partner in the endeavor, was benign enough to raise no obstacles.
To the horizon on Baley’s right—eastward, as one could tell by the position of the late-afternoon sun—he could see the blunt, many-fingered domes of the City, enclosing all that made life worthwhile. He saw, as well, a small moving speck that was too far off to be made out clearly.
From its manner of motion and from indications too subtle to describe, Baley was quite sure it was a robot, but that did not surprise him. The Earth’s surface, outside the Cities, was the domain of robots, not of human beings—except for those few, like himself, who were dreaming of the stars.
Automatically, his eyes turned back toward the hoeing star-dreamers and went from one to the other. He could identify and name each one. All working, all learning how to endure the Outside, and—
He frowned and muttered in a low voice, “Where’s Bentley?”
And another voice, sounding behind with a somewhat breathless exuberance, said, “Here I am, Dad.”
Baley whirled. “Don’t do that, Ben.”
“Do what?”
“Sneak up on me like that. It’s hard enough trying to keep my equilibrium in the Outside without my having to worry about surprises, too.”
“I wasn’t trying to surprise you. It’s tough to make much noise walking on the grass. One can’t help that.—But don’t you think you ought to go in, Dad? You’ve been out two hours now and I think you’ve had enough.”
“Why? Because I’m forty-five and you’re a punk kid of nineteen? You think you have to take care of your decrepit father, do you?”
Ben said, “Yes, I guess that’s it. And a bit of good detective work on your part, too. You cut right through to the nub.”
Ben smiled broadly. His face was round, his eyes sparkling. There was a lot of Jessie in him, Baley thought, a lot of his mother. There was little trace of the length and solemnity of Baley’s own face.
And yet Ben had his father’s way of thinking. He could at times furrow into a grave solemnity that made it quite clear that he was of perfectly legitimate origin.
“I’m doing very well,” said Baley.
“You are, Dad. You’re the best of us, considering—”
“Considering what?”
“Your age, of course. And I’m not forgetting that you’re the one who started this. Still, I saw you take cover under the tree and I thought—well, maybe the old man has had enough.”
“I’ll ‘old man’ you,” said Baley. The robot he had noted in the direction of the City was now close enough to be made out clearly, but Baley dismissed it as unimportant. He said, “It makes sense to get under a tree once in a while when the sun’s too bright. We’ve got to learn to use the advantages of the Outside, as well as learning to bear its disadvantages. —And there’s the sun coming out from behind that cloud.”
“Yes, it will do that. —Well, then, don’t you want to go in?”
“I can stick it out. Once a week, I have an afternoon off and I spend it here. That’s my privilege. It goes with my C-7 rating.”
“It’s not a question of privilege, Dad. It’s a question of getting overtired.”
“I feel fine, I tell you.”
“Sure. And when you get home, you’ll go straight to bed and lie in the dark.”
“Natural antidote to overbrightness.”
“And Mom worries.”
“Well, let her worry. It will do her good. Besides, what’s the harm in being out here? The worst part is I sweat, but I just have to get used to it. I can’t run away from it. When I started, I couldn’t even walk this far from the City without having to turn back—and you were the only one with me. Now look at how many we’ve got and how far I can come without trouble. I can do plenty of work, too. I can last another hour. Easy. —I tell you, Ben, it would do your mother good to come out here herself.”
“Who? Mom? Surely you jest.”
“Some jest. When the time comes to take off, I won’t be able to go along—because she won’t.”
“And you’ll be glad of it. Don’t kid yourself, Dad. It won’t be for quite a while—and if you’re not too old now, you’ll be too old then. It’s going to be a game for young people.”
“You know,” said Baley, half-balling his fist, “you are such a wise guy with your ‘young people.’ Have you ever been off Earth? Have any of those people in the field been off Earth? I have. Two years ago. That was before I had any of this acclimatization—and I survived.”
“I know, Dad, but that was briefly, and in the line of duty, and you were taken care of in a going society. It’s not the same.”
“It was the same,” said Baley, stubbornly, knowing in his heart that it wasn’t. “And it won’t take us so long to be able to leave. If I could get permission to go to Aurora, we could get this act off the ground.”
“Forget it. It’s not going to happen that easily.”
“We’ve got to try. The government won’t let us go without Aurora giving us the go-ahead. It’s the largest and strongest of the Spacer worlds and what it says—”
“Goes! I know. We’ve all talked this over a million times. But you don’t have to go there to get permission. There are such things as hyper-relays. You can talk to them from here. I’ve said that any number of times before.”
“It’s not the same. We’ll need face-to-face contact—and I’ve said that any number of times before.”
“In any case,” said Ben, “we’re not ready yet.”
“We’re not ready because Earth won’t give us the ships. The Spacers will, together with the necessary technical help.”
“Such faith! Why should the Spacers do it? When did they start feeling kindly toward us short-lived Earthpeople?”
“If I could talk to them—”
Ben laughed. “Come on, Dad. You just want to go to Aurora to see that woman again.”
Baley frowned and his eyebrows beetled over his deep-set eyes. “Woman? Jehoshaphat, Ben, what are you talking about?”
“Now, Dad, just between us—and not a word to Mom—what did happen with that woman on Solaria? I’m old enough. You can tell me.”
“What woman on Solaria?”
“How can you look at me and deny any knowledge of the woman everyone on Earth saw in the hyperwave dramatization? Gladia Delmarre. That woman!”
“Nothing happened. That hyperwave thing was nonsense. I’ve told you that a thousand times. She didn’t look that way. I didn’t look that way. It was all made up and you know it was produced over my protests, just because the government thought it would put Earth in a good light with the Spacers.—And you make sure you don’t imply anything different to your mother.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it. Still, this Gladia went to Aurora and you keep wanting to go there, too.”
“Are you trying to tell me that you honestly think the reason I want to go to Aurora—Oh, Jehoshaphat!”
His son’s eyebrows raised. “What’s the matter?”
“The robot. That’s R. Geronimo.”

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The Robots of Dawn 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 'The Robots of Dawn,' Asimov once again examines human nature through the devices of science fiction. The plot revolves around the 'murder' of one of two humaniform robots in existence, which protagonist Elijah Baley is called to the Spacer home world Aurora to investigate. Asimov's characters and plot are deep, and his understanding of human nature is truly remarkable. This book is not only a very engaging work of science fiction and mystery, but also a shrewd exposition of the motives and prejudices of human beings. And yet Asimov manages to provoke in his readers a strong sense of hope for the future of humankind
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, they should have ended the series with this book. ROBOTS AND EMPIRE was okay but not great. What I liked best about ROBOTS OF DAWN was the same aspect which made CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED SUN so appealing, and that was the partnership between Earthman Elijah Bailey and Auroran robot Daneel Olivaw. It is interesting to imagine a future where robots can be created that look, act and even feel in ways that humans can. Daneel Olivaw remains one of the most interesting characters conceived by Isaac Asimov. Truly and enjoyable work and very philosophical in theme.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I have every robot book Asimov has written in hardback and read each one again every few years. He is brilliant. I bought this NOOK book so I could read it in bed at night.
isabelx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since his trip off-world to the planet Solaria, plainclothesman Elijah Baley has founded a group of people who go outside the cities in their spare time. Although he still finds being outside difficult, he hopes that the younger members of the group, such as his son Bentley will one day get the chance to settle on another planet.Since he has been trying unsuccessfully to get permission to travel to the planet Aurora, Elijah Baley is pleased to be summoned there to find out who 'killed' a humaniform robot, and he is even happier to meet up with his old friend R. Daneel Olivaw again. But the case has political ramifications, and failure to clear Hans Fastolfe's name could mean that Earthmen will never get the chance to live on other worlds.
kaulsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I see why I loved the book when I first read it: it explored our culture from the outside and drew us along as it, in turn, explored an outside culture. In fact, without meaning to do so, I think Asimov gave me a beginner's lesson in both sociology and logic.But looking at this book as a purely "mystery" genre, it is fairly tedious. I'm not sure how I would have felt if I began with this series. Instead, I began with the [Foundation Trilogy] and was hooked forever after. So much so that I can face a little tedium in my decision to retread Asimov's Robot/Foundation oeuvre.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a pleasant surprise. I half expected him to turn the series on its head like he did with the Foundation trilogy in "Foundation's Edge". Instead it was true to form, recapturing all the character and style of the original novels from thirty years earlier - a major (and welcome) accomplishment. I'm very glad I read all three Robot novels back-to-back (starting with "The Caves of Steel"). I've heard 'Robots and Empire' is a bridging novel to the Empire trilogy (although linkages to that and the Foundation novels have already begun to appear) that isn't quite the same as these, so I'll save that for when I need another Asimov fix in the future.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The last of the Elijah Baley trilogy, in which New York City detective Lije Baley must deal with the culture of the spacers -- humans whose ancestors abandoned earth to form a galactic empire, who have become much more powerful than the crowded millions who remain on Earth. In so doing, he must cooperate with the robot detective, R. Daneel Olivaw. In this last in the series, Lije is middle aged, and must go to the planet Aurora -- center of the spacer world -- to solve a murder. He is reunited with the gorgeous Gladia, and the plot thickens to a point where Earth's fate hangs in the balance.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I consider myself an Asimov fan, and I recognize that he's generally an author you come to looking for great ideas more than great characters. Having said that, this book really didn't work for me on any level. I found it contrived and long-winded. If you cut out all of the references to the design and use of "personals" (i.e., bathrooms), as well as the almost comically bad sex and clueless ruminations thereon, you would have a significantly shorter and moderately better novel. As I was reading the second half of this book I couldn't get out of my head the notion that Asimov had written an 84 point outline of the plot, and then turned the project over to a robot with the assignment to write a chapter on each. At least there were a couple of scenes that left me chuckling thinking about a Daneel/Elijah slash treatment. This is my 27th science fiction book read to date this year; maybe a little break would be in order?
ASBiskey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great detective story. When entwined with the workings of robots and Earth vs. Spacer culture, it is exceptional. I really enjoyed the process of progression. There where some adult topics and situations that where more descriptive than necessary, but the detective work of Elijah Baley of Earth overshadows the lowest points. I enjoyed this book a great deal.
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yet another robotics science-fiction mystery story.
tronella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually a fan of detective novels, but an Asimov detective novel in which many of the main characters are robots? I'm totally sold.Also: Elijah/Daneel omg so in love.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lije Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw return in a third book. This time, they're sent to the Spacer world of Aurora, and are investigating a case of roboticide, in which a robot resembling the humaniform Daneel has been deactivated beyond the point of repair.Plots within plots untangle as Lije and Daniel weave their way through each tale spun by the suspects. Though is the real robotocidist who we think it is?A wonderful book for fans of Asimov, especially other books of Lije and Daneel. Also recommended for science fiction mystery buffs.
weakley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A more modern novel that keeps the 50's classic feel of the first two books. Great twist at the end that sets us up for the Foundation series.
dannyhanson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great ending to the Robot Series. Very typical of Asimov's style. This was the wordiest of the series and I think Asimov put in a lot of unneeded dialog.
Redthing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read The Caves of Steel before this one!Elijah Baley takes off to Aurora to solve a crime (In my opinion, his most difficult investigation). Highly reccommended for any SF reader!
nesum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My wife prefers the Robot novels while I prefer the Foundation ones. In this book, the two begin to merge. That is not to say that the future Foundation books do not read like Foundation books, or that this novel seems more like a Foundation one, but it is here that the Robot books begin to write the history of the Foundation ones. Psychohistory makes its beginnings here, as does the concept of a Galactic Empire.Standing on its own, this mystery is the best of the Lije Baley and Daneel Olivaw (I adopt the custom of Aurora by leaving the "R." off Daneel's name) books, though it honestly starts off weak. Yet the second half of the book is exciting, stimulating, and more human than most of Asimov's books (I do love his work, but his great flaw is the coldness of his characters). The solution is clever, and better than most mystery novels offer. A good and thoughtful read.
readafew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent job by Asimov. It was a whodunit that kept me guessing almost to the page it was explained. Asimov seems to enjoy taking parts of our society and basing a whole society on it, and showing the foibles of to narrow a view.Extremes are dangerous and should not be followed by a society at large. Instead it should use them as posts to guide down the middle.
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A scandalous murder has taken place. The victim? A life-like robot. The only possible culprit? His creator. As detective Elijah Baley might exclaim, “Jehoshaphat!” The Robots of Dawn is a science fiction mystery novel written by the esteemed writer Isaac Asimov. Originally published in 1983, it was intended to help retroactively bridge the gap between Asimov’s previous Robot, Empire, and Foundation series, most of which had been written and published in the 1950’s. The book features the recurring protagonist of the Robot series, Plainclothesman Elijah Baley, as well as his assistant, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw. It was nominated for the 1984 Hugo and Locus science fiction awards The Robots of Dawn takes place AD 4924, when humanity has settled nearly 50 other planets. This extensive settlement, however, has resulted in a clear dichotomy between the extraterrestrial human “Spacers” and the remaining “Earthmen. While the Spacers, their lifespans extended with advanced technology, feel superior to the Earthmen, the Earthmen hold equal antipathy for the Spacers, who they see as condescending and arrogant. Furthermore, while Spacer worlds have developed into utopias based on robotic labor, the Earth has become extremely overpopulated to the point that all humans live within massive, enclosed, and crowded Cities. Most Earthmen see robots as mere impersonal extensions over Spacer power and threats to their jobs. This results in a potent combination of robophobia and agoraphobia (fear of open places) which has completely prevented most Earthmen from exiting the Cities, and also forestalled the advancement of Earth culture and technology. However, a select few Earthmen, such as Elijah Baley, have begun to hold an interest in furthering Earth (or at least, human) civilization through expansion to unsettled systems. By this point in the Robot series, Baley is an established character: he is brave, sympathetic, and strongly devoted to duty, law, and propriety. He is a superb detective, thoroughly exploring all feasible (and often, infeasible) possibilities. However, he often jumps to conclusions and has difficulty relating to other cultures. Like most of his Earthly brethren, he is extremely agoraphobic. However, he is much more receptive than most to robots, having previously worked with the humaniform (advanced and human-like) R. Daneel Olivaw (the R standing for robot. This trusting relationship becomes extremely important, as Baley finds himself in a dangerous and unfamiliar situation: the Spacer planet Aurora. This planet has significantly more robots and fewer people than Earth. One of the planet’s roboticists, Dr. Hans Fastolfe, stands accused of “murdering” one of his creations: R. Jander Panell, one of only two humaniform robots in existence (the other being Daneel). Fastolfe’s political opponents argue that he has destroyed the robot in order to prevent further production of humaniforms, thereby preventing the automated colonization of new worlds as they had hoped. The task of proving Fastolfe’s innocence seems impossible, as Fastolfe has admitted that only he has the knowledge to disable Jander’s mind. After conducting a series of interviews, Baley determines that the only other person who would have the motive and knowledge to have disabled Jander’s mind is Chief Roboticist Amadiro, one of Fastolfe’s political opponents. Baley realizes that Jander’s destruction must have been related to Amadiro’s goal of accessing a humaniform mind, in order to study their workings (a secret held by Fastolfe). Baley confronts Amadiro with this accusation in front of the arbitrating Auroran Chairman, and is successful in proving Amadiro’s motive, leading him to confess his having had inquisitive conversations with Jander which may have led to his mental breakdown. Baley then forces Amadiro to agree to allow Aurorans and Earthmen to settle the Galaxy together, rather than an army of humaniform robots creating a thousand worlds identical to Aurora. Before leaving Aurora, Baley conducts one final interview with Giskard, another household robot, in order to prove his final suspicions. Incredibly, Giskard is revealed to have been inadvertently reprogrammed to comprehend brain activity as thoughts, enabling him to cause Jander’s death, an action he took to prevent Amadiro’s success in robotics and colonization. The novel closes with Giskard placing a mental block on Baley which will prevent him from revealing Giskard’s secrets, and then assuring Baley that Earth’s future is now secure. Having read the previous Robot books, as well as several other Asimov works, I found this book- especially the denouement- a delightful transition from the not-so-distant to the distant future. While neatly resolving the issues raised in the previous Robot books, it also sets the stage for the future of Earth- to be written of in the next book, Robots and Empire. Although the plot progressed in a very similar manner to the investigations of the previous books it was, as before, fascinating to see Baley’s reactions to new and unique situations. In addition, I enjoyed seeing how Asimov’s callbacks to his previous stories Liar! and The Positronic Man unfolded in importance to the story. These references helped demonstrate the significance of the book as a whole: bridging the gap between the past and future for Asimov’s fictional universe. While this was certainly the major focus of The Robots of Dawn, Asimov also manages to entertain with his tried-but-true writing formula, resulting in an excellent read for any who enjoy science fiction
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LRE More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of the Robot Series. Great plot, good ending lots of techno things...would love to see this made into a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago