The Naked Sun

Isaac Asimov 1956

Second installment of the Lije Baley, Daneel Olivaw detective cases.  Baley’s success with the murder case of Dr. Sarton from Aurora, mostly his success at working with the Spacers and navigating the cultures, has gotten him the attention of the Outer Worlds.  He is called to Solaria to help solve a murder case on a planet where there are no police–nor need of them, they thought.

Lije Baley’s trip to an Outer World, him being one of the only humans to do so in the past few hundred years, gives humanity a glimpse at their haughty rivals.  Lije has to not only solve a murder case under galactic scrutiny, but he has to do so in a culture completely opposite to his own.  On Solaria there are ten thousand robots for every human, and humans each have their own estate covering miles of the planet.  Personal contact is absolutely taboo and most interaction happens through “viewing,” advanced holograms.  This attitude towards space also means that Baley will have to confront the openness of outside.

As he frustratingly deals with the Solarians he discovers their greatest strengths are their weaknesses and that they aren’t as dissimilar from their earth-men beginnings as they’d like to believe: they still harbor jealousy, fear, and insecurity.  He also discovers strife between Solaria and Aurora and a hint at greater workings in the galaxy.

The scene where Baley is interviewing the sociologist felt like talking to Candide’s professor.  And can anyone tell me why the blue eyeshadow on earlobes?


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