Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Caves of Steel

[Cover of my edition of Caves of Steel]

Listening to:

Wa-Da-Da by Bix Beiderbecke.

Just read:

Caves of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

As illustrated, I read this in an old (printed in the 1970s) Panther edition, complete with cool robots in the cover art. It’s just a bit of a shame that the cool robot has no conceivable connection with the story.

The novel is where we first meet one of Asimov’s favourite characters, R. Daneel Olivaw, an intelligent robot who can pass as human. Despite being a superior being in almost every way, Olivaw ends up needing the human insight of his initially suspicious colleague Elijah Bailey.

Both have to work together to solve a murder case, so the novel is a detective story in a science-fiction setting. On the whole, I think it’s a good story, with the implications of the setup falling out quite elegantly as the investigation progresses. Asimov is pretty famous for his robots (Three Laws of Robotics and all), and this is one of the best stories set in the robot universe. Indeed, it’s probably the best full-length novel in that setting.

Classic science fiction, first published as a book in 1954.

Networking

I really need to get my SSH setup sorted. I was at an event today where (I thought) I needed to get my browser pointing to a machine behind a work fire-wall. I needed to be able to use SSH magic to make the hidden server visible on work’s gateway machine, at least to me.

SSH tunnels are so capable of various magic tricks that actually figuring out how to achieve any one particular effect seems to rather more difficult than I’d like.