BooksOfTheMoon

Through A Glass, Clearly

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 3 stars

This was a collection of four long-ish short stories by Dr. Asimov. I’d definitely read one of them before and two of the others seemed to be vaguely familiar, but I enjoyed them all. The stories are typical Asimov, by which I mean that they’ll not change your opinion of him either way. They’re about ideas, not characters, although the last one, The C-Chute is more character-based than is usual for Asimov. If you like Asimov then you’ll probably enjoy these stories, if you don’t, this won’t change you mind.

Book details

ISBN: 9780450035500
Year of publication: 1967

The Early Asimov: Volume 3

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 4 stars

Exactly what it say on the tin. This is the third and final volume collecting Asimov’s early short stories. Each story has commentary about the stories and the author’s life and what was happening at that time. I like Asimov’s work anyway and this was a good collection, showing that he was good at his art from very early in his career.

Book details

ISBN: 9780586039373
Publisher: Panther / Granada
Year of publication: 1974

Nightfall Two

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 4 stars

This is a collection of Asimov’s stories chosen by the good doctor himself, with a little introduction talking about the antecedence of the story. The stories themselves are all good ones and classic Asimov. This is a two-edged sword, so if you’re not generally an Asimov fan, this collection probably won’t convert you.

Book details

ISBN: 9780586036570
Publisher: Panther
Year of publication: 1969

Azazel

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 2 stars

I got this book from Sacha and have to agree with her assessment that it’s rather formulaic. Each story has the author talking to his (rather obnoxious) friend George about something that happened with Azazel, a 2cm high demon he can conjure. Although Azazel tries to help people, things tend to go horribly wrong. The fun comes from trying to figure out how they go wrong.

Despite its repetition, it’s a fun book with an interesting flavour to it. Probably not worth reading again though.

Book details

ISBN: 9788401322990
Publisher: Plaza & Jan├ęs, S.A.
Year of publication: 1988

The Gods Themselves

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 4 stars

Another of Asimov’s classics that I hadn’t got around to reading until now. A chance encounter leads to a potentially limitless clean energy source, but is there a dark side that could destroy the world? This book gives Asimov a chance to show his chemistry background, and is science fiction at its purest: take one “what if” and run with it and see where it takes you. In this case, what if an element came into our universe from another where the laws of physics are ever-so-slightly different (a stronger Strong nuclear force). A very entertaining book and a great example of good science fiction.

Book details

ISBN: 9781857989342
Publisher: Millenium
Year of publication: 1972

The Naked Sun (Robot #2)

By Isaac Asimov

Rating: 3 stars

The sequel to The Caves of Steel, this time instead of a murder of a Spacer on Earth, there’s a murder on the planet Solaria — an unheard of event — so they ask for Plainclothesman Bailey to come out to investigate, once again being teamed up with R. Daneel Olivaw.

Asimov has used these books to compare and contrast two very different societies: the huge underground cities of Earth, teeming with people who never see the outside world; and Solaria, a planet with a rigidly controlled population, where robots outnumber people 20,000 to one and where the population is spread so thinly that the idea of seeing someone (as opposed to viewing them hologramatically) is repulsive. In this, Asimov succeeds tremendously, although the actual mystery is possibly not as strong as its predecessor.

One thing that interested me here was that Asimov was already developing the notion that robots could cause long-term harm by means of a short-term good (eg not being able to discipline a child although such discipline may be better in the long term), something that he would eventually codify into the Zeroth Law of Robotics in Robots and Empire.

Book details

ISBN: 9780586010167
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year of publication: 1956

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