- Ho Yay: To a surprising degree for a novel published in 1956. Elijah and Daneel have an awfully strong degree of chemistry, especially considering that one of them is a robot. But even Elijah himself is very much conscious of it:
Daneel took Baley's hand and pressed it with firm coolness, his fingers closing to a comfortable but not painful pressure and then releasing it. Baley hoped earnestly that the creature's unreadable eyes could not penetrate Baley's mind and see that wild moment, just past and not yet entirely subsided, when all of Baley had concentrated into a feeling of an intense friendship that was almost love.
- Values Dissonance:
- Elijah has trouble understanding how Rikaine could have maintained discipline among children without coming into their presence for corporal punishment. His assistant explains the man was skilled enough to make Three-Laws Compliant robots spank children without burning out. Also, apparently, he was working on a way to produce robots capable of understanding spanking a child is for its own good.
- Baley expresses surprise and frustration that no one told him in advance that Rikaine's assistant was a woman. There's no explanation for why he assumed otherwise, nor why it should matter to him or anyone else.
- It matters because Earth Culture has strong proprieties and Solarians - don't. The assistant is still in bed when she takes Elijah's call wearing little or nothing under the sheet.