In our last episode, we reached the end of The Caves of Steel. In our next episode, now in post-production, we continue our trip through the Robot Novels with The Naked Sun. We’re joined as our latest special guest by Joseph’s old friend Andy who has no discernable social media presence.
Asimov serialized The Caves of Steel in Galaxy Science Fiction because the editor, Horace Gold, suggested the idea of a human detective with a robot partner.
But three years later Asimov was increasingly interested in writing popular science and hadn’t published anything with John W. Campbell in a while. He decided to return to his roots and The Naked Sun was serialized in Astounding.
And Campbell did his best to capitalize on the famous author’s return. The month before its first segment ran The Naked Sun dominated Campbell’s “In Times to Come” column which highlighted coming attractions. Here’s what he had to say.
On the cover of next month’s issue, you’ll see Mr. Lije Baley, Earthman detective, coming out from underground into the light of The Naked Sun. Isaac Asimov’s new serial is bringing Elijah Baley and his robot partner, Daneel, on another detecting mission. But while the surface activity is that of determining who killed a man when it was self-evidently impossible, the real and important problem Baley has to solve is far more complex. Essentially, it is… “Which Way Is UP? Which way is forward?”
Astounding Science Fiction September 1956
And this time, the problem lies on one of the Outer Planets; agoraphobic Elijah Baley has to solve a problem under the conditions least endurable to him — out under The Naked Sun
For this episode, we read the same portion of the book published in the October 1956 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. That corresponds to chapters 1 through 6.
In this section, Baley is assigned to a murder case on Solaria, the newest of the Spacer worlds. He’s reunited with R. Daneel and we see him struggling with his agoraphobia in planes, spaceships, automobiles, and also in a big fancy house built just for him. We also learn about the murder and meet Gladia (pronounced gla-DEE-ah) Delmarre who is destined to become a major character and helps put the naked in The Naked Sun.
Here are the opening pages and the remaining illustrations by H. R. Van Dongen.
Season 3, Episode 17: coming soon to the aether near you!
- Asimov, Isaac. “The Naked Sun, part 1” Astounding Science Fiction, October 1956, pp. 8-62.
- Asimov, Isaac. The Naked Sun, ©1956, 1957, 1983, Bantum Spectra
- Campbell, John W. “In Times to Come” Astounding Science Fiction, September 1956, pg. 42.