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Old May 28 2011, 01:44 PM   #31
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Goliath wrote: View Post
That is true, but my point was that the gap between the two was particularly wide during the period of the New Wave.

In the case of TOS, television was a decade behind the cinema--which was already pretty far behind literary SF in 1956.
Yep.
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Old May 28 2011, 01:49 PM   #32
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Goliath wrote: View Post
The last Asimov novel I read was The Gods Themselves, and I couldn't even tell you what that was about.
In a nutshell, it's a metaphor for pollution.
More to the point, it was Asimov's response to the conventional wisdom that he couldn't write about aliens or sex.


Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
You certainly can't go wrong with any of his works. One thing to note though, is that he eventually tried to tie all of his stories and series together, probably one of the first attempts of world building on a big scale, and likely due to his publisher.
If anything, Asimov's efforts to unify his separate works into a single universe were a rather late example of that process. Multiple authors had done it before Asimov started doing it. Larry Niven's Known Space universe came about because he wrote a story in the late '60s that drew on elements from two of his previous, formerly unrelated continuities. Poul Anderson had merged his van Rijn and Flandry series by the '70s at the latest. Other authors like Heinlein and, I think, Pohl had extended universes established in the '60s.
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Old May 28 2011, 01:52 PM   #33
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Goliath wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
SFTV is almost always a decade or two behind prose SF.
That is true, but my point was that the gap between the two was particularly wide during the period of the New Wave.

In the case of TOS, television was a decade behind the cinema--which was already pretty far behind literary SF in 1956.

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
In a nutshell, it's a metaphor for pollution.
Thank you. But once again: this is rather beside my point.

I didn't have any difficulty understanding the novel. As other people have noted, Asimov's writing is nothing if not clear.

I have difficulty remembering it. I just reviewed the plot by reading the novel's Wikipedia entry, and I still don't remember any of it.
Same here.

All I remember is the strange communication between the two realities and blobby alien three way relationships with explicitly defined roles. Mind you, it has been a long time since I read it.

My favourite Asimov book is The Robots Of Dawn - a bit clunky in places, but it's Bailey at his best. And Giskard was wonderful.
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Old May 28 2011, 01:58 PM   #34
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

I remember The Gods Themselves pretty well - and I certainly remember the derivation of the title - certainly a useful quotation.

I had the opportunity to talk to Asimov briefly about the book. He said that he wanted to include the aliens because people were forever saying "Asimov doesn't have aliens in his books because he doesn't know how to write them, and I wanted to show them that the old man can so." I thought they were easily as interesting and memorable as, say, Niven's one-trait-defines-a-species alien characters.
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Old May 28 2011, 06:01 PM   #35
Owain Taggart
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Christopher wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Goliath wrote: View Post
The last Asimov novel I read was The Gods Themselves, and I couldn't even tell you what that was about.
In a nutshell, it's a metaphor for pollution.
More to the point, it was Asimov's response to the conventional wisdom that he couldn't write about aliens or sex.


Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
You certainly can't go wrong with any of his works. One thing to note though, is that he eventually tried to tie all of his stories and series together, probably one of the first attempts of world building on a big scale, and likely due to his publisher.
If anything, Asimov's efforts to unify his separate works into a single universe were a rather late example of that process. Multiple authors had done it before Asimov started doing it. Larry Niven's Known Space universe came about because he wrote a story in the late '60s that drew on elements from two of his previous, formerly unrelated continuities. Poul Anderson had merged his van Rijn and Flandry series by the '70s at the latest. Other authors like Heinlein and, I think, Pohl had extended universes established in the '60s.
Hmm, I hadn't realized that. I guess then it started to become popular to do that. In some cases, it can work well, others not so much though, and my opinion is that Asimov's work kind of feels forced and doesn't really work all that well being unified.

Last edited by Owain Taggart; May 28 2011 at 06:24 PM.
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Old May 28 2011, 06:09 PM   #36
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Actually, I really think the idea that ties The End of Eternity into the Foundation series is incredibly brilliant.

That being said, I strongly believe that either can be read independently of the other. In particular, there is nothing in Foundation that depends in any significant way on The End of Eternity. It's just a detail that may not occur to the reader on even the second reading of Foundation. But it's still really neat.

I also strongly believe that the books can, and probably should, be read in the order in which they were published.
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Old May 28 2011, 06:29 PM   #37
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Actually it did occur to me once I read EoE.

Eternity by the way also resembles the 2nd Foundation in the way it operates and inhibits the growth and expansion of humanity. Probably the same goes for the Robots.
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Old May 28 2011, 06:32 PM   #38
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I also strongly believe that the books can, and probably should, be read in the order in which they were published.
Well, yeah - that works, too. But reading them in order of the timeline in the stories can provide a good experience, too. Which is what my list on the previous page represents - except for the last five Foundation books (Prelude, Forward, and the Second Trilogy), which are *way* too spoilerific to read in timeline order.
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Old May 28 2011, 06:37 PM   #39
Owain Taggart
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
In particular, there is nothing in Foundation that depends in any significant way on The End of Eternity.

Do you mean Foundation in particular or the series as a whole? Cause the later books in the series, particularly Foundation & Earth show strong ties to the Robot series whereas his early ones don't. I'd honestly probably avoid Foundation & Earth. I loved the story arc he was going for, but I found Foundation & Earth ultimately disappointing after the huge build up as it seemed to exist solely to tie the series together with his other works. The Hermaphrodite character also weirded me out in the way it was written. But I actually really liked his prequels.

That said, I love Asimov. His simple prose is what made it so easy to get into.
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Old May 28 2011, 06:41 PM   #40
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
It's just a detail that may not occur to the reader on even the second reading of Foundation.
Hound of UIster wrote: View Post
Actually it did occur to me once I read EoE.
I believe the point is supposed to occur to the reader upon reading The End of Eternity, where the point is made quite clear. I was saying that I think the need for the point to be addressed is not necessarily apparent in Foundation itself.



Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
In particular, there is nothing in Foundation that depends in any significant way on The End of Eternity.
Do you mean Foundation in particular or the series as a whole? Cause the later books in the series, particularly Foundation & Earth show strong ties to the Robot series whereas his early ones don't.
I mean both. The tie-in between The End of Eternity and the Foundation series has nothing to do with robots.

Some might consider it a major spoiler to mention, because it's just so damn cool.

I'll be back in ten days. Thanks for a great topic all.
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Old May 28 2011, 07:19 PM   #41
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Asimov is fantastic; probably my favorite writer after Clarke. I'd recommend all his stuff, but especially the Robot and Foundation combined series. The books that impressed me the least were the Galactic Empire novels.

His writing style was deliberate. He felt that communicating complex ideas was best done by writing simply and clearly; not the only way to do it, certainly, but it worked for him.

I also second the recommendation of Psychohistorical Crisis. It's Big SF like, say, Vinge's "Marooned In Realtime," and very enjoyable. However, I definitely don't recommend the Second Foundation Trilogy by the Killer Bs. It was well written (of course), but not good Foundation. It was inconsistent with the original and-- well, I won't post spoilers, but let's just say it introduced an idea which was a great SF concept, but completely inappropriate for the Foundation Universe.
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Old May 28 2011, 07:35 PM   #42
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
I definitely don't recommend the Second Foundation Trilogy by the Killer Bs. It was well written (of course), but not good Foundation. It was inconsistent with the original and-- well, I won't post spoilers, but let's just say it introduced an idea which was a great SF concept, but completely inappropriate for the Foundation Universe.
Benford's book is, and there's no way to sugarcoat this, awful. He completely missed the point of Asimov's Foundation universe.

The next two, though -- Greg Bear's Foundation and Chaos and David Brin's Foundation's Triumph -- are, I think, the best Foundation since Foundation's Edge.
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Old May 28 2011, 09:09 PM   #43
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

I love Asimov's work.

The stories are really more about the story/idea itself than the characters, and nearly all his female characters are even thinner than the men. They're great tales, and I still love that kind of book, so I continue to love re-reading Asimov. If you have a really strong preference for character-driven work, I don't think you'll enjoy Asimov much.
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Old May 28 2011, 09:20 PM   #44
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

Asimov is probably my favorite author. His books were the first science fiction literature I'd ever read, and I've now read pretty much all of his SF novels, except The End of Eternity, which is probably the next book I'm going to read. I highly recommend everything he wrote (except possibly The Stars, Like Dust).
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Old May 28 2011, 09:26 PM   #45
Owain Taggart
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Re: Isaac Asimov?

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
I also second the recommendation of Psychohistorical Crisis. It's Big SF like, say, Vinge's "Marooned In Realtime," and very enjoyable. However, I definitely don't recommend the Second Foundation Trilogy by the Killer Bs. It was well written (of course), but not good Foundation. It was inconsistent with the original and-- well, I won't post spoilers, but let's just say it introduced an idea which was a great SF concept, but completely inappropriate for the Foundation Universe.
Which is why I say I felt Psychohistorical Crisis was more respectful and true to Asimov's vision than the trilogy by the Killer B's It's a shame that the novel didn't get authorized by the estate. But in a way, it's better for it as the author didn't really have any restraints and was able to go in a direction without stepping on any toes, like a vision of the world through someone else's eyes. The introduction of the familiar or fam was brilliant and very Asimov.
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