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Asimov’s Future History Volume 4

Isaac Asimov

  Asimov’s Future History

  Volume IV

  All stories copyright Isaac Asimov and the Estate of Isaac Asimov, unless otherwise noted below.

  All other stories copyright by the respective authors listed below.

  The Caves of Steel-First published as a serial in Galaxy Science Fiction, October, November & December, 1953

  The Naked Sun-First published as a serial in Astounding Science Fiction, October, November & December, 1956

  Mirror Image-First published in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, May, 1972

  Strip-Runner-By Pamela Sargent. First published in Foundation’s Friends: Stories in Honor of Isaac Asimov, September, 1989

  The Robots of Dawn-First published in October, 1983

  This ePub edition v1.0 by Dead^Man March, 2011

  Layout and design by DeadMan

  Cover art “New London” By Xenomorph Designs of DeviantArt

  Future History inlay “Summer days” by Talros of DeviantArt

  Cover design by Dead^Man

  Chronology of events in Isaac Asimov’s positronic robot and Foundation stories, compiled by Johnny Pez.

  Table of Contents


  3421 AD The Caves of Steel

  10: Afternoon of a Plain-clothes Man

  11: Escape along the Strips

  12: Words from an Expert

  13: Shift to the Machine

  14: Power of a Name

  15: Arrest of a Conspirator

  16: Questions Concerning a Motive

  17: Conclusion of a Project

  18: End of an Investigation

  3422 AD The Naked Sun

  1: A Question Is Asked

  2: A Friend Is Encountered

  3: A Victim Is Named

  4: A Woman Is Viewed

  5: A Crime Is Discussed

  6: A Theory Is Refuted

  7: A Doctor Is Prodded

  8: A Spacer Is Defied

  9: A Robot Is Stymied

  10: A Culture Is Traced

  11: A Farm Is Inspected

  12: A Target Is Missed

  13: A Roboticist Is Confronted

  14: A Motive Is Revealed

  15: A Portrait Is Colored

  16: A Solution Is Offered

  17: A Meeting Is Held

  18: A Question Is Answered

  3423 AD Mirror Image

  3424 AD Strip-Runner

  3424 AD The Robots of Dawn

  1: Baley

  2: Daneel

  3: Giskard

  4: Fastolfe

  5: Daneel and Giskard

  6: Gladia

  7: Again Fastolfe

  8: Fastolfe and Vasilia

  9: Vasilia

  10: Again Vasilia

  Sources of dates

  The Caves of Steel

  3421 A.D.

  10: Afternoon of a Plain-clothes Man

  THE SQUAD CAR veered to one side, halted against the impersonal concrete wall of the motorway. With the humming of its motor stopped, the silence was dead and thick.

  Baley looked at the robot next to him and said in an incongruously quiet voice, “What?”

  Time stretched while Baley waited for an answer. A small and lonesome vibration rose and reached a minor peak, then faded. It was the sound of another squad car, boring its way past them on some unknown errand, perhaps a mile away. Or else it was a fire car hurrying along toward its own appointment with combustion.

  A detached portion of Baley’s mind wondered if any one man any longer knew all the motorways that twisted about in New York City’s bowels. At no time in the day or night could the entire motorway system be completely empty, and yet there must be individual passages that no man had entered in years. With sudden, devastating clarity, he remembered a short story he had viewed as a youngster.

  It concerned the motorways of London and began, quietly enough, with a murder. The murderer fled toward a prearranged hideout in the corner of a motorway in whose dust his own shoeprints had been the only disturbance for a century. In that abandoned hole, he could wait in complete safety till the search died.

  But he took a wrong turning and in the silence and loneness of those twisting corridors he swore a mad and blaspheming oath that, in spite of the Trinity and all the saints, he would yet reach his haven.

  From that time on, no turning was right. He wandered through an unending maze from the Brighton Sector on the Channel to Norwich and from Coventry to Canterbury. He burrowed endlessly beneath the great City of London from end to end of its sprawl across the south-eastern corner of Medieval England. His clothes were rags and his shoes ribbons, his strength wore down but never left him. He was tired, tired, but unable to stop. He could only go on and on with only wrong turnings ahead of him.

  Sometimes he heard the sound of passing cars, but they were always in the next corridor, and however fast he rushed (for he would gladly have given himself up by then) the corridors he reached were always empty. Sometimes he saw an exit far ahead that would lead to the City’s life and breath, but it always glimmered further away as he approached until he would turn–and it would be gone.

  Occasionally, Londoners on official business through the underground would see a misty figure limping silently toward them, a semitransparent arm lifted in pleading, a mouth open and moving, but soundless. As it approached, it would waver and vanish.

  It was a story that hid lost the attributes of ordinary fiction and had entered the realm of folklore. The “Wandering Londoner” had become a familiar phrase to all the world.

  In the depths of New York City, Baley remembered the story and stirred uneasily.

  R. Daneel spoke and there was a small echo to his voice. He said, “We may be overheard.”

  “Down here? Not a chance. Now what about the Commissioner?”

  “He was on the scene, Elijah. He is a City dweller. He was inevitably a suspect.”

  “Was! Is he still a suspect?”

  “No. His innocence was quickly established. For one thing, there was no blaster in his possession. There could not very well be one. He had entered Spacetown in the usual fashion; that was quite certain; and, as you know, blasters are removed as a matter of course.”

  “Was the murder weapon found at all, by the way?”

  “No, Elijah. Every blaster in Spacetown was checked and none had been fired for weeks. A check of the radiation chambers was quite conclusive.”

  “Then whoever had committed the murder had either hidden the weapon so well–”

  “It could not have been hidden anywhere in Spacetown. We were quite thorough.”

  Baley said impatiently, “I’m trying to consider all possibilities. It was either hidden or it was carried away by the murderer when he left.”


  “And if you admit only the second possibility, then the Commissioner is cleared.”

  “Yes. As a precaution, of course, he was cerebroanalyzed.”


  “By cerebroanalysis, I mean the interpretation of the electromagnetic fields of the living brain cells.”

  “Oh,” said Baley, unenlightened. “And what does that tell you?”

  “It gives us information concerning the temperamental and emotional makeup of an individual. In the case of Commissioner Enderby, it told us that he was incapable of killing Dr. Sarton. Quite incapable.”

  “No,” agreed Baley. “He isn’t the type. I could have told you that.”

  “It is better to have objective information. Naturally, all our people in Spacetown allowed themselves to be cerebroanalyzed as well.”

  “All incapable, I suppose.”

  “No question. It is why we
know that the murderer must be a City dweller.”

  “Well, then, all we have to do is pass the whole City under your cute little process.”

  “It would not be very practical, Elijah. There might be millions temperamentally capable of the deed.”

  “Millions,” grunted Baley, thinking of the crowds of that long ago day who had screamed at the dirty Spacers, and of the threatening and slobbering crowds outside the shoe store the night before.

  He thought: Poor Julius. A suspect!

  He could hear the Commissioner’s voice describing the period after the discovery of the body: “It was brutal, brutal.” No wonder he broke his glasses in shock and dismay. No wonder he did not want to return to Spacetown. “I hate them,” he had ground out between his teeth..

  Poor Julius. The man who could handle Spacers. The man whose greatest value to the City lay in his ability to get along with them. How much did that contribute to his rapid promotions?

  No wonder the Commissioner had wanted Baley to take over. Good old loyal, close-mouthed Baley. College chum! He would keep quiet if he found out about that little incident. Baley wondered how cerebroanalysis was carried out. He imagined huge electrodes, busy pantographs skidding inklines across graphed paper, self-adjusting gears clicking into place now and then.

  Poor Julius. If his state of mind were as appalled as it almost had a right to be, he might already be seeing himself at the end of his career with a forced letter of resignation in the hands of the Mayor.

  The squad car slanted up into the sublevels of City Hall.

  It was 14:30 when Baley arrived back at his desk. The Commissioner was out. R. Sammy, grinning, did not know where the Commissioner was.

  Baley spent some time thinking. The fact that he was hungry didn’t register.

  At 15:20 R. Sammy came to his desk and said, “The Commissioner is in now, Lije.”

  Baley said, “Thanks.”

  For once he listened to R. Sammy without being annoyed. R. Sammy, after all, was a kind of relation to R. Daneel, and R. Daneel obviously wasn’t a person–or thing, rather–to get annoyed with. Baley wondered how it would be on a new planet with men and robots starting even in a City culture. He considered the situation quite dispassionately.

  The Commissioner was going through some documents as Baley entered, stopping occasionally to make notations.

  He said, “That was a fairly giant-size blooper you pulled out in Spacetown.”

  It flooded back strongly. The verbal duel with Fastolfe.

  His long face took on a lugubrious expression of chagrin. “I’ll admit I did, Commissioner. I’m sorry.”

  Enderby looked up. His expression was keen through his glasses. He seemed more himself than at any time these thirty hours. He said, “No real matter. Fastolfe didn’t seem to mind, so we’ll forget it. Unpredictable, these Spacers. You don’t deserve your luck, Lije. Next time you talk it over with me before you make like a one-man subether hero,”

  Baley nodded. The whole thing rolled off his shoulders. He had tried a grandstand stunt and it hadn’t worked. Okay. He was a little surprised that he could be so casual about it, but there it was.

  He said, “Look, Commissioner. I want to have a two-man apartment assigned to Daneel and myself. I’m not taking him home tonight.”

  “What’s all this?”

  “The news is out that he’s a robot. Remember? Maybe nothing will happen, but if there is a riot, I don’t want my family in the middle of it.”

  “Nonsense, Lije. I’ve had the thing checked. There’s no such rumor in the City.”

  “Jessie got the story somewhere, Commissioner.”

  “Well, there’s no organized rumor. Nothing dangerous. I’ve been checking this ever since I got off the trimensic at Fastolfe’s dome. It was why I left. I had to track it down, naturally, and fast. Anyway, here are the reports. See for yourself. There’s Doris Gillid’s report. She went through a dozen Women’s Personals in different parts of the City. You know Doris. She’s a competent girl. Well, nothing showed. Nothing showed anywhere.”

  “Then how did Jessie get the rumor, Commissioner?”

  “It can be explained. R. Daneel made a show of himself in the shoe store. Did he really pull a blaster, Lije, or were you stretching it a little?”

  “He really pulled one. Pointed it, too.”

  Commissioner Enderby shook his head. “All right. Someone recognized him. As a robot, I mean.”

  “Hold on,” said Baley, indignantly. “You can’t tell him for a robot.”

  “Why not?”

  “Could you? I couldn’t.”

  “What does that prove? We’re no experts. Suppose there was a technician out of the Westchester robot factories in the crowd. A professional. A man who has spent his life building and designing robots. He notices something queer about R. Daneel. Maybe in the way he talks or holds himself. He speculates about it. Maybe he tells his wife. She tells a few friends. Then it dies. It’s too improbable. People don’t believe it. Only it got to Jessie before it died.”

  “Maybe,” said Baley, doubtfully. “But how about an assignment to a bachelor room for two, anyway?”

  The Commissioner shrugged, lifted the intercom. After a while, he said, “Section Q-27 is all they can do. It’s not a very good neighborhood.”

  “It’ll do,” said Baley.

  “‘Where’s R. Daneel now, by the way?”

  “He’s at our record files. He’s trying to collect information on Medievalist agitators.”

  “Good Lord, there are millions.”

  “I know, but it keeps him happy.”

  Baley was nearly at the door, when he turned, half on impulse, and said, “Commissioner, did Dr. Sarton ever talk to you about Spacetown’s program? I mean, about introducing the C/Fe culture?”

  “The what?”

  “Introducing robots.”

  “Occasionally.” The Commissioner’s tone was not one of any particular interest.

  “Did he ever explain what Spacetown’s point was?”

  “Oh, improve health, raise the standard of living. The usual talk; it didn’t impress me. Oh, I agreed with him. I nodded my head and all that. What could I do? It’s just a matter of humoring them and hoping they’ll keep within reason in their notions. Maybe some day..

  Baley waited but he didn’t say what maybe-some-day might bring.

  Baley said, “Did he ever mention anything about emigration?”

  “Emigration! Never. Letting an Earthman into an Outer World is like finding a diamond asteroid in the rings of Saturn.”

  “I mean emigration to new worlds.”

  But the Commissioner answered that one with a simple stare of incredulousness.

  Baley chewed that for a moment, then said with sudden bluntness, “What’s cerebroanalysis, Commissioner? Ever hear of it?”

  The Commissioner’s round face didn’t pucker; his eyes didn’t blink. He said evenly, “No, what’s it supposed to be?”

  “Nothing. Just picked it up.”

  He left the office and at his desk continued thinking. Certainly, the Commissioner wasn’t that good an actor. Well, then...

  At 16:05 Baley called Jessie and told her he wouldn’t be home that night nor probably any night for a while. It took a while after that to disengage her.

  “Lije, is there trouble? Are you in danger?”

  A policeman is always in a certain amount of danger, he explained lightly. It didn’t satisfy her. “Where will you be staying?”

  He didn’t tell her. “If you’re going to be lonely tonight,” he said, “stay at your mother’s.” He broke connections abruptly, which was probably just as well.

  At 16:20 he made a call to Washington. It took a certain length of time to reach the man he wanted and an almost equally long time to convince him he ought to make an air trip to New York the next day. By 16:40, he had succeeded.

  At 16:55 the Commissioner left, passing him with an uncertain smile. The day shift left en masse. The
sparser population that filled the offices in the evening and through the night made its way in and greeted him in varied tones of surprise.

  R. Daneel came to his desk with a sheaf of papers.

  “And those are?” asked Baley.

  “A list of men and women who might belong to a Medievalist organization.”

  “How many does the list include?”

  “Over a million,” said R. Daneel. “These are just part of them.”

  “Do you expect to check them all, Daneel?”

  “Obviously that would be impractical, Elijah.”

  “You see, Daneel, almost all Earthmen are Medievalists in one way or another. The Commissioner, Jessie, myself. Look at the Commissioner’s–” (He almost said, “spectacles,” then remembered that Earthmen must stick together and that the Commissioner’s face must be protected in the figurative as well as the literal sense.) He concluded, lamely, “eye ornaments.”

  “Yes,” said R. Daneel, “I had noticed them, but thought it indelicate, perhaps, to refer to them. I have not seen such ornaments on other City dwellers.”

  “It is a very old-fashioned sort of thing.”