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review 2018-08-31 00:15
Dua, Odeen, and Tritt: "The Gods Themselves" by Isaac Asimov
The Gods Themselves - Isaac Asimov

"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."

Friedrich Schiller



I admired it much more than I actually enjoyed it. Asimov's ideas are brilliant but his characters are somewhat bloodless and cardboard. Even when he tries to work against this it comes out all embarrassing. The third section on the moon is a pale imitation to Heinlein's 'Moon is a Harsh Mistress'. Given the timing on the publication that can't have been an accident.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

 

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review 2018-08-29 17:31
Sextuple star system: "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg
Nightfall - Isaac Asimov,Robert Silverberg


"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!"

In "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg


The story, of course, being about how it doesn't quite work out like that.

When I think about “Nightfall”, Byron’s “Darkness” comes to mind, always:

"I had a dream, which was not all a dream,
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless; and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation: and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face...."

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-19 16:47
The Dead Hand: "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov
Foundation (Foundation Series #1) - Isaac Asimov


If I remember rightly, Asimov's robots do indeed find a cunning way around the three laws - they invent a Zero-th Law which states that "no robot can injure humanity or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm" which doesn't directly contradict the First Law, so their brains will accept it, but has the interesting effect in moral philosophical terms of turning them from Kantians to utilitarians. So rather than being guided by an absolute "thou shalt not kill" imperative they become able to kill or harm humans if and only if they have calculated it's for the greater good. Rather than becoming brutal overlords because of this (as the other laws still apply) they end up guiding the development of humanity quietly from the shadows, taking on a role not a billion kilometers from Ian M. Banks's AIs.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-06-16 17:12
C/Fe: "The Caves of Steel" by Isaac Asimov
The Caves of Steel - Isaac Asimov


"There were infinite lights, the luminous walls and ceilings that seemed to drip cool, even phosphorescence; the flashing advertisements screaming for attention; the harsh, steady gleam of the 'lightworms' that directed:
THIS WAY TO JERSEY SECTIONS, FOLLOW ARROWS TO EAST RIVER SHUTTLE, UPPER LEVEL FOR ALL WAYS TI LONG ISLAND SECTIONS.
Most of all, there was the noise that was inseparable from life. The sound of millions talking, laughing, coughing, calling, humming, breathing."

In "The Caves of Steel" by Isaac Asimov

Set 2,000 years in the future, "The Caves of Steel" shows us contrasting pictures of Earth and the Outer Worlds - colonized planets throughout the Galaxy. Although the inhabitants of the Outer Worlds trace their origins to Earth, they are separated from it by much more than mere distance, now calling themselves Spacers and ruling the decaying mother planet as benevolent despots. In his earlier novels, Asimov mastered the translation of speech into its written equivalent; but to recreate the speech of a human being is a problem every novelist faces. 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


If you're into Vintage SF, read on.

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