Isaac Asimov's Utopia

Isaac Asimov's Utopia (1996) is a science fiction novel by American writer Roger MacBride Allen, set in Isaac Asimov's Robot/Empire/Foundation universe.

Isaac Asimov's Utopia
First US edition
AuthorRoger MacBride Allen
Cover artistBruce Jensen
CountryUnited States
SeriesRobot series
GenreScience fiction
PublisherMillennium (UK)
Publication date
Media typeprint (Hardback/Paperback)
Preceded byIsaac Asimov's Inferno 

Plot summary

Utopia takes place five years into the reign of Alvar Kresh as the governor of Inferno, who is now married to roboticist Fredda Leving. The re-terraforming effort is doing fairly well, but many believe it is still doomed to failure. The plot centers around a plan created by an Infernal named Davlo Lentrall to use a comet, named comet Grieg after the old governor, to dig a channel creating a northern sea.

Norlan Fiyle, who has been working as an intelligence broker, found out about this plan early and informed the Settlers, the Ironheads, and the New Law robots of the plan. The issue is complicated by the fact that the plan calls for the comet to land essentially on top of the new law robot city of Valhalla.

Tonya Welton, the leader of the settlers on Inferno, is upset by this plan having seen similar plans fail in the past. She orders her security people to grab Davlo and destroy his work. Although they were successful in destroying his data, the attempt to capture Davlo himself failed due to quick thinking on the part of Commander Justen Devray, now the head of the Combined Inferno Police, and the help of Davlo's robot Kaelor.

Unfortunately, the location of comet Grieg is lost. Davlo and Fredda Leving attempt to extract this information from Kaelor's memory, but he ends up killing himself rather than release the information which might cause harm to humans. Davlo's guilt over the death of his robot eventually leads him to oppose the comet plan altogether. Eventually the information is retrieved when Jadelo Gildern, who had previously stolen the data from Davlo's office, provides Governor Kresh with the missing data.

While trying to decide whether to implement the comet plan, Kresh pays a visit to the terraforming control system. The system consists of a robotic unit, called Unit Dee, working with a non-sentient Settler unit, Unit Dum, they are collectively referred to as the Twins. We learn that in order to avoid First Law conflicts, Unit Dee is being lied to and told that the entire terraforming project is really an elaborate simulation and that no actual human beings are involved. Significant care must be taken to ensure that Dee does not learn the truth. Dee confirms that Davlo's plan, if successful, stands a good chance of repairing Inferno's ecology. The comet project is given the go-ahead and work commences to evacuate the areas near the impact site.

As the impact approaches, Simcor Beddle and Jadelo Gildern develop a plan to use a burrowing bomb, normally used for geological surveys, to destroy Valhalla before the new law robots have time to finish evacuating. On the way there though, Simcor's aircar is attacked, his robots killed, and a demand, to stop the comet and deliver money into a bank account or Beddle will die, is written on the door.

Kresh's robot Donald, who heard of this incident, is forced by the First Law to act. He contacts robots in the area, who begin performing a search, and tells Dee that she is being lied to about the simulation. This causes Dee to shut down, leaving the people on the ground with few options for the final steering of the comet.

Meanwhile, Devray tries to find Beddle. He tries putting money in the account mentioned in the demand and finds that it is automatically transferred to one of Gildern's accounts. Devray brings in Gildern, and also questions Fiyle, from whom he learns about Beddle's plan to destroy the New Law robots. Caliban turns himself in preemptively. The three talk while in jail, and Caliban manages to deduce what has happened to Beddle and rushes off to save him. While flying there, Caliban sends out a hyperwave message to tell the other robots that are searching to go back and that the situation is under control. Caliban goes to Valhalla, where he finds several New Law robots dead and Prospero holding Beddle prisoner, with a setup where if Beddle tries to leave, he will set off the bomb. Prospero was attempting to kill Beddle while avoiding the New First Law. Caliban is left with a choice of whom to let live, and kills Prospero, saving Beddle shortly before the comet hits.

In the meantime, Dee finally wakes up and asks to talk to Kresh. She verifies that she was in fact being lied to. She asks Kresh if he believes Caliban's message about saving Beddle. When Kresh says that he does believe it, Dee decides that she can manage the comet without First Law conflict.

Foundation series

The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. For nearly thirty years, the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Asimov began adding to the series in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation. The additions made reference to events in Asimov's Robot and Empire series, indicating that they were also set in the same fictional universe.

The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second great empire arises. Seldon's calculations also show there is a way to limit this interregnum to just one thousand years. To ensure the more favorable outcome and reduce human misery during the intervening period, Seldon creates the Foundation – a group of talented artisans and engineers positioned at the twinned extreme ends of the galaxy – to preserve and expand on humanity's collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for the accelerated resurgence of this new galactic empire.

Isaac Asimov book series bibliography

This is a bibliography of books by Isaac Asimov organized by series chronologically and by series timeline (i.e. prequels first).

See also Isaac Asimov bibliography (chronological), Isaac Asimov bibliography (alphabetical), and Isaac Asimov short stories bibliography.

Positronic brain

A positronic brain is a fictional technological device, originally conceived by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It functions as a central processing unit (CPU) for robots, and, in some unspecified way, provides them with a form of consciousness recognizable to humans. When Asimov wrote his first robot stories in 1939 and 1940, the positron was a newly discovered particle, and so the buzz word positronic added a contemporary gloss of popular science to the concept. The short story "Runaround", by Asimov, elaborates on the concept, in the context of his fictional Three Laws of Robotics.

Roger MacBride Allen

Roger MacBride Allen (born September 26, 1957) is an American science fiction author. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and grew up in Washington, D.C., graduating from Boston University in 1979. His father is American historian and author Thomas B. Allen.

The Stars, Like Dust

The Stars, Like Dust is a 1951 science fiction mystery book by American writer Isaac Asimov.

The book is part of Asimov's Galactic Empire series and takes place before the actual founding of the Galactic Empire, before even Trantor becomes important. It starts with a young man attending the University of Earth. Biron Farrill is the son of the greatest nobleman on the planet Nephelos, one of the Nebula Kingdoms. The story starts with the news that his father has been caught conspiring against the Tyranni.

The Tyranni, who come from the planet Tyrann, rule a minor empire of 50 planets near the Horsehead Nebula. Tyrann suppressed science and space navigation training in the kingdoms to help maintain control over its subject worlds. The ruler of Tyrann in the story is called the "Khan," suggesting that Asimov took the Mongol dominion over the Russian principalities as a model, much as he used the declining Roman Empire for his Foundation series. (See the "Golden Horde" for the real-world history that Asimov drew upon and adapted.)

Asimov once called it his "least favorite novel."

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