Monthly Archives: February 2014

Chris R – Reading Journal #1 & 2

Reading Journal #1

The world of Caves of Steel and our world are pretty much different from one another in almost every way. In the world of Caves of Steel, Men have a more dominate role in the community to make income compared to the women who stay home and take care of the children. The robots pretty much also replace humans in the labor force such as running a shoe store for example. The humans (referred to as “Earthmen”) think that one day the robots will take over and there will be no way in obtaining money since the owners of the shops would want to have someone working with no pay. Second, is the overpopulation that the earth has and not being able to find a way to keep the number down. Another thing that I realized when reading the book was the fact that Elijah had no idea of the changes that go on in the outside world (such as rain or what not). Maybe since they’re always in the chambers that he hasn’t seen the phenomena called rain. When traveling to another area (in the book’s case the area is called Spacetown), it’s a custom that you take a shower in order to remove the city dust from you. Also, you’re not allowed to carry a weapon when in the area. I can understand this, but in Elijah’s case, he’s a cop. A cop should always have a gun in his possession.

Reading Journal #2

The scene that really stood out to me the most while reading this book was the last part of Page 97 (this was of course before reading ahead) but out of everything I read, I just keep going back to this scene non-stop. It was the scene where Elijah and R. Daneel Olivaw was having a meeting with Dr. Fastolfe as well as commissioner Enderby over the trimensional personification about the murder of Dr. Sarton. This was where Elijah stood up from his seat and mentioned that Dr. Sarton wasn’t dead and he points straight at R. Daneel and stated that he was in fact Dr. Sarton, that there was actually no murder case. This was where so many thoughts kept rushing into my head. The one specific thought that came to my mind was the fact that he was using this as an excuse just for his wife. He probably said this so that way the case can be solved and that way he wouldn’t have to worry his wife anymore because of the fact that they won’t be living with a robot in the house anymore. As well as that he can stop his wife from trying to talk him out of his job to find a new one and lose his current position. Another thing is the fact that the Earthmen can stop spreading rumors about the fact that Elijah was cooperating with a robot ever since the scene at the shoe store. The theme and motif this would probably relate to is the Spacer/Human Relations, because everyone is scared about a robot living in the environment, and since Elijah wants to get this case out of way as quickly as possible shows that he doesn’t want to be working with any robot.

Class Notes – 2/13/14

How cultural differences become grounds for distrust, projection of fear

Analysis of themes in Caves of Steel

Group work:

each group picks 2 themes

for each theme, find 3 passages that 1) are significant for that theme; 2) are rich in meaning and/or metaphorical; and 3) that show some development of the theme or progression/shift in the way it appears during the course of the book


Group 1: Ori, Martin, Chris, Sasha, Jonathan

  1. Human-spacer relations — p. 118
  2. Conformity vs. individualism

Group 2: Tristan, Michael R., Jenny, Pedro, Raymond

  1. Colonization / survival of humankind – p.0124
  2. Fall of Society
  3. Tolerance

Group 3: Sergiy, Mohommad, Danielle, Yingwen

  1. Human/robot tensions
  2. biblical references
  3. issue of power

Group 4: Rev, Jonathan, Carlos, Daiane, Jamal

  1. human-spacer relations
  2. attitudes towards emigration

Reading Journal #2

The analysis of a specific important passage:

“The destruction of what you people call evil, is less just and desirable than the conversion of this evil into what you call good”

At the end of the book, R. Dannel states the above sentence. As a robot, it obviously can not understand religion and ethics, however, with that statement, and through logic, R. Dannel seems to reach the knowledge behind what we call forgiveness. The robot improve greatly on doing so not because it is able to feel mercy or any other human abstraction but it does because it is able to emend one of its features (that is also one of its limitation) which is the procedural intake of information literally. By open up to the possibility of reevaluating evil for good, the robot is no longer stuck with the logic of literals; it has evolve to understand and designate different (possibly multiple) meanings/values.

A possible analysis of the title of the book  “Caves of Steel” indicate the benefits of this era when the influence of humans and robots over each other lead to evolution and expansion of those two cultures over the universe. The world “cave” sign to some sort of primitive stage. The world “steel” which is in fact the combination of Carbon and Iron represents the mix of humans and robots. This combination is also represented by the partnership established between Elijah (human) and R. Dannel (robot).

The fact that machines can help humans perform numerous tasks that otherwise would be impossible to us and the fact that this certain robot’s culture dictated by logic and efficiency would most likely help us to evolve to live in other world is pretty much untestable. What is interesting about the passage selected is that this experience of “Caves of Steel,” named the coexistence of humans and robots ends up being a symbiotic process. The robot also evolved. Another significant passage reads: “… and only Earth, past redemption” alluding to the time when medievalists were forgiven and their sin and conviction was turned into something useful, and they were used to disseminate the idea of colonizing other worlds. “Earth past redemption” also marks the idea that humans and robots forgive their differences and evolve together.

Reading Responses 1&2 by Pedro Amigon

The novel “Caves of Steel” is written by Isaac Asimov and the story takes place in the future. The protagonist lives in a more advance and polluted planet earth. There are robots in this future that work and are very utile to society but are despised by humans. Most humans blame robots for everything wrong with the environment and for the working man’s inability to prosper. In this world similar to ours there’s an overpopulated human crisis just like our crisis but the only difference is that they have come to a conclusive way of dealing with by how many kids you are allowed to have based on your I.Q. In this world everything is more limited you can’t live on the dome’s that hover up in the skies because they belong to spacers or robots. There’s an iconic dome known as “Spacetown”. In Spacetown the air is ventilated to be cleaner than the earth’s air. Spacetown is more cleansed than planet earth; any outsider is forced to be cleansed by taking a shower. In Spacetown humans are considered to be creatures carrying infectious diseases. In planet earth food is limited and its good customs to deny food to a stranger in your home. Technology is much more different with simple drop blood a machine can see if you have any health issues or any psychological issues such as depression. Robots look like human beings and are built with a postronic brain that prevents them from hurting humans in any way. Robots are built with this conscious ability to make decision on their own and are able to interact with humans in a much superior form compared to our Iphones.

When I read “Caves of Steel”, I encounter much of an oppressed society that had many conservative views on the way things should be from the character having his own religious philosophical views making man the foundation of everything that exists. Many side characters such as the Elijah’s wife had a view of where humans place is and where robots position is uphold.Elijah the protagonist of the story has a hard time working with his partner based on the fact that he looks entirely human, it upsets him the most because he’s afraid to think differently about robots from the way other people portray robots of being more than just machines. Elijah recites a bible verse in page (77) to R of a bible story about mercy, R then explains to him that he could show mercy as well is he no different from humans. The theme of the story is overcoming oppression, it was the only way Elijah solved the case. Julius Enderby tried to break Elijah by putting him in a scenario that Elijah would have troubles overcoming such as going to Spacetown and being treated differently knowing that R’s creator looks just like him, an insane scenario with much confusion and doubt.  When Elijah overcame oppression he learned to more merciful towards Julius Enderby in order to make some prominent good of his altercations. In Elijah’s oppressed society the constant threat for survival, Elijah almost shot R because he came close to believing that a robot could hurt humans when R held his blaser to a pedestrian, only to realize that R’s blaster wasn’t loaded.


            Ori Dona                                                                                                         2-2-14

            English- Science Fiction                     

The Caves of Steel Comparison Summary

In the New York city of Caves Of Steel, there is a drastic difference from the city we live in today. This is mostly due to the ideological differences between our world and the world of Elijah Bailey. In today’s world we value the individual and respect artistic and distinguishable expressions whether it be in the form of architecture or art. In Asimov’s depiction of future society, there is this notion of collectivism and conformity. It is very apparent in the depiction of the future New York City because all the buildings are one unit. Architecture no longer exists as an art form and the people living in the city have restrictive freedom. They are forced to eat a certain food at a certain time in a certain place.

Everyone has a classification ID which gives them certain privileges throughout the city. Even in the form of transportation there is this collectivist ideology because the people in Caves Of Steel only have two methods of transportation, either moving sidewalk platforms or to the very privileged the option of flying in ships. In today’s New York City we value nature all of its process as opposed to Asimov’s depiction of these huge superdome structures completely closed off from the surface of the world where nature really flourishes. There is also the big difference in terms of robots being active and integrated in everyday life even replacing humans in terms of employment. But what really stands out about Asimov’s view of the future is the idea that humans have colonized space and have 50 home worlds.

This is a powerful concept because planet Earth is devalued and is not as significant as it is to us. This is due to the superiority of the spacer worlds and the state in which Asimov’s earth has been reduced to. Over all Asimov’s world is very different from the world we are experiencing today but some current trends are heading in that direction.

READING RESPONSE 2                                                                                                         2-11-13

After reading the “Caves of Steel”, there were many moments in which I felt were very powerful. The one moment that I found was very revealing was in chapter 9, “Education by a spacer”. Elijah has a deep conversation with the spacer doctor, Fastolfe. The reason I find their exchange fascinating was because that was the first time in the novel where we get insight on the spacers mentality and their approach to humans. The doctor explains why the spacers discriminate against humans. he states “The medical examination you went through, as well as the cleansing procedures, were not matters of ritual. They were dictated by necessity”. This to me showed the divide between civilizations and that even though spacers share a common origin with humans, they differ in the sense that they have implemented such radical changes in their biology that they no longer can be considered humans. For one thing their whole civilization had a different origin in the sense that gradual evolution did not occur. The doctors home planet of aurora came to be through colonization. Therefore there is an immediate separation between Elijah and the Earthers and Dr.Fastolfe and the spacers. They do not understand the people of earth and why they choose to live there despite of all the troubles. They see colonization as a logical plan and insist that the people of Earth simply find a new home world. Before this conversation had took place, the reader was unaware as to why the spacers act the way they do and more importantly, what they think of the Earthmen. The issue of disease exposes a flaw in the godlike spacers and they do very well in hiding that. They reveal a very human side to them, weakness. One their world, the individual is respected and held to a very high regard because the duration of their life is so long where as on Earth people have average lifespans and live average and fast lives. Dr. Fastolfe explains that they want to save the humans and that their life is worth saving which goes back to their sense of ancestry. Their attachment to Earthmen is very complex.






Reading Journal: Caves of Steel

When i first started reading caves of steel I figured this was going to be a book about people living in giant steel caves in the future after a horrible catastrophe happen. Lucky after read the first few pages I realized this wasn’t a post-apocalyptic story rather one of an uncertain future where society has been divided by technology. The Caves of Steel the title refers too are the mega cities formed in the future. Every city had been optimize and connected in a way that made each city it own self-sufficient unit. I found the description Asimov writes of the city to be something industrialist of the early 20th century would see as the future of the cities. Being huge, giant and and never having to leave were things that many people think of when the think of cities.

The funny thing is as you read on a lot of the problems we have today we will most likely still have in the future. A lot of these problems also have to deal with human nature. The fear of disease, the boredom of eating the same food and the inability to connect with machines or even other humans is something people have to deal with in their everyday lives.

Reading Journal #1

Around the Question of Differences between CoS and Our Own World

An interesting difference between the humanity actual state in the Earth and this other fictional stage depicted in CoS is the distinction between the systems of remuneration and reward. Today, most humans live out of the salary while in CoS they have a sort of status system that guarantee certain privileges according to their ranks. On chapter nine there is a critique to the economy based on money. The time humanity used that system is considered barbarous; the “fight-for-the-buck” is seen as savage competition. Indeed, in CoS, overcoming the individualism and materialism of this era was the great evolutionary step they took. Nevertheless, the book shows how much of their privacy and free will that cost. Detective Baley, numerous time through the story, do his job only for fear that he and his family could lose their privileges.

What make this difference interesting is that truly their economy system is not so different than what we have now. Besides the fact that we use currencies to acquire things and services, we are very often working against our will just to guarantee special access, special food, special privileges in general, for us and for our families. We are trapped by our consumption habits. In the same way, we depend on and perpetuate the city’s structure because we believe that doing so we are reaching a better existence.

Another remarkable discrepancy that also cares some seeds of truth for us is the fact that we don’t hate robots. In fact, we don’t even have that sort of technology available in the market for everyone. However, considering the technology that we do have, there is a layer of the population that do behave like the medievalist from CoS. I think that is safe to say that most people born in or before the 80’s have great difficult assimilation technological advances. Like the medievalists, they have this sort of nostalgia, they resent this period in which technology is so predominant and they refuse to evolve with it.





Throughout reading the novel the part that stood out to me was the scene where R. Daneel and Baley was in the store. The reason I chose this particular scene was because it was a prime explain of when you don’t have knowledge about a particular situation. Although Oliviaw intentions were pure good he wasn’t fully aware how the humans viewed his kind. The humans hated robots just as the spacers were disgusted due to the diseases and other sickness humans could obtain. This moment just shows how much the two (humans and spacers) know a little about each other but are still very judgmental of the other. I think this was a great opportunity for R.Daneel to see first had the danger of the situation he was in. This scene is not only something that takes place in the novel but also this that happen in our world. We also tend to be very bias and judgmental without fully knowing the other source.

Journal 1 & 2

In the first 100 pages of “Caves of Steel”, I realized how rich it was with themes that actually made me want to read it till the end. One of the most important things I read was when R. Daneel was explaining to Baley his actions after the incident at the shoe store, when Daneel said, ”… My briefing on human characteristics here among the people of Earth includes the information that, unlike the men of the Outer Worlds, they are trained from birth to accept authority. Apparently this is a result of your way of living.” (38). This passage shows exactly the human way of life throughout the history. It reflects how a force called the law, which people are scared of, rules the world. That’s why they follow and respect it. If anybody breaks the law, they get punished. So the author wanted to show the reader how the colonized people were ruled and that it wouldn’t happen in any other way.



In the other half, another passage caught my attention is when Dr. Fastolfe was talking to Baley about him carrying a disease from the City, and that the spacers have no antibodies against any of the germs. He said, “Earth is riddled with diseases to which we have no defense, no natural defense” (118). The author here wanted to show why the spacers are afraid of the humans, and why every human entering has to be cleaned and checked for germs and diseases. This incident reminds me of the Ellis Island incident that happened years ago here in the United States. This island was the base of the first federal immigration station. Immigrants used to be taken to this island and checked for any disease that could be fatal, before entering the states.