The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Because of his earlier success in solving two murders involving Spacers (descendants of early Earthpeople who have colonized fifty other planets), the Earth police detective Elijah Baley is sent to the planet Aurora to solve the “murder” of a humanform robot. He goes to the city of Eos, where he works to free a robotist named Dr. Fastolfe, the most likely suspect, in The Robots of Dawn. Fastolfe is an acquaintance from Baley’s first case involving Spacers, described in the novel The Caves of Steel (1954). Baley also is reunited with Gladia Delmarre, whose innocence he had proved when he was called to the planet Solaria in The Naked Sun (1957). His success or failure will determine the future of his career and of Earth colonization of new worlds that Fastolfe and Baley separately are trying to secure. The case also reunites Baley with the humanform robot R. Daneel Olivaw, whom he had worked with in the two earlier cases. Baley also uses a more primitive looking robot named Giskard Reventlov.

Baley encounters many roadblocks but amasses enough information to resolve the issue of future space colonization in a way that is satisfactory for Fastolfe, himself, and Earth. Colonization is the only thing that interests the Aurorans, but Baley secretly solves the crime. The humanform robot was disabled by Giskard, who turns out to be a telepathic, mind-reading robot. He was able to influence the humans around him to bring Baley to...

(The entire section is 581 words.)