The novel/short story is based on a murder mystery whereby the protagonists (robots, I believe) end up on a space ship or planet off of Earth whereby they can save the overpopulated Earth and its 8 billion inhabitants or they can cause the slow destruction of the planet to encourage the humans to leave the planet and occupy space. They followed the 3 robotic laws (Asimov) and in the end, the robot decided to pull the lever and cause the slow destruction of Earth.

This would ensure more human life to be created and spread out amongst the stars.

All I know is that I read this book, about 20 years ago but the story is much older than that.

I looked through all the books/short stories of Asimov but I'm unable to find it.

1 Answer 1


This sounds very much like Robots and Empire where Giskard allows the slow destruction of Earth to push humanity to the stars.

Quoting the plot summary on Wikipedia:

Mandamus claims that his intentions were to draw out the radioactive catastrophe over many decades, rather than the mere years that Amadiro wanted, and Giskard, believing it best for humanity to abandon the Earth, allows Mandamus to do this

TVTropes has:

the robots Daneel and Giskard, who invented the Zeroth Law (a robot must protect humanity as a whole above all) as a corollary of the First Law. This was motivated by their need to stop the Big Bad of the story from carrying out an engineered ecological disaster that would kill the majority of Earth's population, to which the three laws were an impediment. Their acceptance of the law is gradual and made difficult by the fact that "humanity" is an abstract concept. Only Daneel is able to fully accept the new law; for Giskard, the strain of harming a human in its use proves fatal. It didn't help that Giskard, rather than stop the disaster, decided to merely slow it down, as causing the biosphere to collapse over time will begin a new wave of human expansion across the galaxy.

  • I found the book you mentioned. I guess i didn't review all the books that Asimov because this is the one i was looking for. Thank you!
    – Spykhed
    Jul 13, 2021 at 20:07

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