The Caves of Steel by Issac Asimov

caves-of-steelI always pictured Asimov’s Robot series with C-3PO robots and confronting humans from future.

Jumping Jehoshaphat!! How colossally wrong was I?

The Caves of Steel, in first look, even with all its futuristic contrivances, could be tagged as the grandfather of all those buddy detective action movies from Lethal Weapon to 21 JumpStreet. In second look, it felt more like Dick’s muse for Blade Runner, expect, here the detective is paired with a humanoid android capable of dreaming about all kinds of sheep. On a third and more civilized look, it is a metaphysical work unintentionally dealing with xenophobia, refugee crisis and neo-imperialism, while being a suspenseful detective science fiction at the same time.

I couldn’t help but compare the less understood universe of this novel with the one in ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ by PKD. A depressed yet brilliant(confused yet brilliant) police officer Deckard(Eliah) with a further depressed(confused and complex) wife, living in a future post-apocalyptic(agoraphobic) earth, is mixed up deep in an investigation involving Androids(Robots). They both live in Earth by choice as I remember and The Caves of Steel even suggests a ‘Voight-Kampff’ questionnaire of its own by the end.

bladerunnerAnti Robot sentiment, resentment and the growing sense of human superiority could be better understood If one attempt to read it along with neo-fascism and recent refugee crisis. The ‘medievalist’ conservatism under the allegory of Spacers and Earthmen, was Asimov predicting the rising demagogues and nationalists of his future and our present, not withstanding the strange premise and timing of prophecy. The dream for coexistence in C/Fe culture, the witty chemistry between Baley and R.Daneel, Biblical backstory of Elijah and Jezebel (quite complementing to the story if you ask me), solid investigation filled with red herrings entwined in classic sci fi, made my stealth library read worthwhile. I am even inclined to accuse Mission Impossible on stealing from this.

And climbing further up the weird ladder, ‘Jehoshaphat’ is my new favourite daily life expletive from now on.

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