The Naked Sun, Paperback
4 out of 5 (12 ratings)


The electrifying sequel to Caves of Steel in which Elijah Baley is once more teemed up with R.

Daneel. The two must travel to Solaria, where no human has gone in over a thousand years...Reacting in fear against the technological superiority of the Outer Worlds, the people of Earth have hidden themselves in vast underground cities, nursing a hatred for Spacers.

The fifty Outer Worlds of the Spacers together are home to fewer people than planet Earth. And home to many, many more robots. Earthmen hate Spacer robots, too...But Baley doesn't.

He once had a robot partner, R. Daneel - and when the authorities of the planet Solaria request terrestrial assistance in investigating a murder, Baley is once again teamed with Daneel.

He is the first Earthman in a millennium to travel to the Outer Worlds...and he must endure the glare of a sun far more deadly than Earth's.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780586010167



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 5 of 12 reviews.

  Previous  |  Next

Review by

Another Robots detective novel, sequel to Caves of Steel, which I finished recently. I enjoyed this, but I don't really have any comments - other than that I am strangely charmed by the idea of people putting makeup on their earlobes to make them more blue.

Review by

When Detective Elijah Baley is summoned to Solaria to investigate a murder, he is the first earthman to visit the Outer Worlds in centuries. Each of the twenty thousand Solarians live on a huge estate maintained by robots, and although they all know each other and socialise by 'viewing' each other via tri-dimensional viewer, they are phobic about personal contact, and it is only husbands and wives who, reluctantly, 'see' each other in person. None of the Solarians can understand how the murderer and his/her victim could have stood being in each others' presence long enough for the murder to occur, but they are all convinced that the only possible suspect is the victim's widow. Baley finds it very hard to understand their phobia, just as they can’t understand his phobia of being outside. The Aurorans have sent R. Daneel Olivaw to work with him, as they believe that there could be a motive behind the murder that could threaten the future of the human race both on the Outer Worlds and Earth itself, but the robot's need to protect Baley from harm threatens to scupper the murder investigation.

Review by

My favourite Asimov robot book.Asimov's three laws of robotics have been criticised as being unrealistic, but if you understand them as a plot device for exploring the implications robotics on humans then the issues he explores are as valid today as when he wrote.People fearing for their jobs.People no longer being stimulated to explore new knowledge.Effecting peoples social skills.The inherent contradiction in programming a robot to protect humans - to be totally protected the human has to be cocooned.An much more.

Review by

Among Asimov's best novels, the picture of the culture of the advanced "Spacer" "Outer Worlds" such as Solaria, and of robots is rich and thought provoking, and I can't help but give a nod to that in my rating. Yet I admit this wasn't as enjoyable to read as it was in my teens, and part of that is because the scenario seems dated, but partly because I've changed.We were introduced to the detective duo of Elijah Bailey and R. (for robot) Daneel Olivaw in <i>Caves of Steel</i>. The title refers to the domed supercities under which 8 billion people live in semi-starvation and can only be sustained in carefully controlled supercities with tight rationing. When Asimov wrote <i>Caves of Steel</i> in 1953, the world population was near two and a half billion. It's now close to 7 billion, and it is estimated it will reach 8 billion in 15 years, so it's hard to see Asimov's vision of industrialized societies at the edge of starvation as plausible. His earth society strikes me as Sovietesque. Each human being has a rating which controls such privileges as space and rations. There's no sense that Asimov believes this kind of command and control economy is unjust or the cause of near starvation--rather you get the sense this is the rational way to order society and nigh inevitable--at least without robots and/or the ability to spread out amongst the stars.Things are different in the fifty wealthy "Outer Worlds" which dominate Earth and doesn't allow its teeming billions to leave the planet, controls their trade and dictates to their government. The most extreme among these worlds is Solaria, with only 20,000 people spread across an entire planet, but with millions of robot servants. There it has become nearly taboo for two humans to inhabit the same room, except for the assigned spouses. Instead they "view" each other remotely rather than "see" each other where they could be within touching distance. When for the first time in the history of their planet, a Solarian is murdered, Baley is sent for and is reunited with Daneel to solve the murder.Daneel really is an appealing character. He reminds me of Data of Star Trek. But I also found something disturbing about how he protects Baley. Under Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" no robot can harm a human being or allow one to come to harm. But the more sophisticated the robot--and Daneel is a state of the art human-seeming android--the more sophisticated becomes the concept of "harm." Thus while Baley wants to overcome his agoraphobia, Daneel is willing to override that by force if necessary to spare him the "harm" open spaces bring him. Daneel is practically the embodiment of the nanny state, and Asimov would in later novels only expand on this idea of the benevolent robot who is "here to help" which would weave together his scientific <i>Foundation</i> series and his Robot series. Asimov has a faith in social engineering and the pliability of human society I don't share--or at least can no longer share.And really, the entire mystery depends on the fact that the wife seems the only plausible suspect since only she would live on the estate. But given the extreme distaste the Solarians have for touching, for even being in the same room with another human, why would they even have assigned mates for the purposes of having children? How were they even able to bear having sex since apparently there is no artificial insemination?One other thing I found a bit disconcerting which I'm sure Asimov included as a commentary on the race relations in America at the time (<i>The Naked Sun</i> was published in 1957). Baley is always calling robots "boy." (And robots call humans "master.") It made me wince inwardly every time he did it. I wanted to like Baley--and mostly I do. But it's hard to like a bigot. But it says something about Asimov that engaging with this book makes me think about such issues as individualism versus "the tribe" and stagnation versus dynamism. Not exactly the sort of thing that happens reading your usual hard-boiled detective or cozy mystery.

Review by

Another classic scifi detective novel. Quick read but very good. flag

  Previous  |  Next

Also by Isaac Asimov   |  View all