I have just finished reading The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov. This is the third book in his robot trilogy and is again a great combination of the science fiction and mystery genres. The main character, Elijah Baley, whom we got to know in the first two books is off into space again to solve another murder mystery, this time to the planet Aurora. Aurora lies somewhere between Earth and Solaris on the sociological spectrum. It combines the lower population density and ample use of robots of Solaris, with the social interactions and personal relationships of earth. The victim is a robot, which makes the crime not technically a murder, but the circumstances are entwined with global and galactic politics. Baley is summoned to duty and given no choice but to accept, and the future of not only his career but of earth itself rests on his success. Baley gets to team up with his old partner R. Daneel Olivaw, and must use every bit of his cleverness to unwrap the mystery. Similar to the last book, The Naked Sun, he is presented with only one suspect who could have committed the crime, and the assertion that that suspect could not have committed the crime. He has been conditioning himself to face the Outside and is not as crippled by his agoraphobia, but faces a new personal challenge when faced with his first experience with being outside during a thunderstorm.
When I started this series I commented on the apparent differences between Asimov and Heinlein’s writing style, but I found this book to actually be much more similar to Heinlein’s style than either of the other two books in the series had been. The Robots of Dawn was actually written 30 some years after The Naked Sun and it is apparent that Asimov’s style changed over that time. The text is full of long intricate conversations between sharp individuals engaging in a kind verbal fencing to outmaneuver each other, which is a style I had previously associated more with Heinlein. While the intriguing mystery held my attention, the long-winded dialog did get a little tiresome at points. Overall, I am very glad I finally got around to reading this classic trilogy and get to know Elijah Baley and the esteemed R. Daneel Olivaw.