The Naked Sun is the second of the robot novels featuring detective Elijah Baley. When Elijah is summoned to Washington to meet Under-Secretary of Justice Albert Minnim, he suspects that he will be given an important assignment. What he could not suspect, however, even in his worst nightmares, is that he would be sent to investigate a murder on one of the Outer Worlds, the planet Solaria…

Without being given a choice, or time to say good bye to his wife and son, Elijah is on board a spaceship to Solaria, where people live in free space. For an earthman who has always lived underground in one of the small living units (the “caves of steel”), the idea of space and sun and the simple concept of “outside” are unbearably scary. But the strangeness of Solaria and its inhabitant does not end here, as Elijah soon will learn. Solarians have many bizarre customs that are better left for the reader to discover…

The first surprise for Elijah is that the partner he is assigned to work with is no other that R.(obot) Daneel Olivaw, his previous partner in Caves of Steel. The second is that on Solaria, Daneel seems intent to be mistaken for a man…

The murder victim is Rikaine Delmarre, a foetologist and respected Solarian, and the main suspect his wife; Gladia. Elijah Baley will investigate and use his skills as an expert of the human mind and its motivations, trying, not always successfully, to adjust this knowledge to what he learns about Solarians. The conclusions he will reach with his observations and deductions will change him forever…

The Naked Sun is a very good science-fiction story and mystery. Asimov develops very interesting sociologic theories and predictions about the evolution of species which remain very convincing, not a bit outdated. Maybe the best in the robot series so far (but it is best to read them all, starting with I, Robot)…

Rating: 4/5