Isaac Asimov?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by GalaxyClass1701, May 28, 2011.

  1. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Science fiction has yet to produce a writer of Hemingway's calibre, of course.
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    In a nutshell, it's a metaphor for pollution.
     
  3. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've read the seven original Foundation novels, the ones by Asimov, I have yet to get to the others. I've also read his Galactic Empire trilogy and his four Robot novels (though again, only those by him, I haven't yet gotten to the continuations by Roger McBride Allen). I've also read The Gods Themselves, and The End of Eternity.

    I definately recommend Asimov.
     
  4. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's the list for Asimov's Robots-Empire-Foundation series, in the order that *I* would recommend reading them (by Asimov unless otherwise stated):

    The End of Eternity (actually, you can read this at any point before Foundation)
    I, Robot
    Nemesis
    Mind Transfer by Janet Asimov
    Caves of Steel
    Naked Sun
    Robots of Dawn
    Mirage by Mark W. Tiedemann
    Chimera by Mark W. Tiedemann
    Aurora by Mark W. Tiedemann
    Robots and Empire
    Caliban by Roger MacBride Allen
    Inferno by Roger MacBride Allen
    Utopia by Roger MacBride Allen
    The Stars, Like Dust
    The Currents of Space
    Pebble In The Sky
    Foundation
    Foundation and Empire
    Second Foundation
    Foundation's Edge
    Foundation and Earth
    Prelude to Foundation
    Forward the Foundation
    Foundation's Fear by Gregory Binford
    Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear
    Foundation's Triumph by David Brin

    For your amusement if you're still craving the Asimov universe after all of that (and I expect that you will be):
    Isaac Asimov's Robot City series by misc authors
    Isaac Asimov's Robots and Aliens series by misc authors
    Foundation's Friends (anthology by other authors)
    The Norby Chronicles and the rest of the Norby series, by Janet and Isaac Asimov
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams (not really directly connected, but pays homage in places throughout, and worthwhile on its own, besides).

    That might seem a bit intimidating for someone who just wants to try Asimov's stuff, so if you just want to read a single book that can stand alone, try any of these:

    I, Robot
    The End of Eternity
    Nemesis
    The Stars, Like Dust
    The Currents of Space
    Pebble In The Sky

    I hope you enjoy his works as much as my wife and I both have and do. :)
     
  5. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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. So, his later books had more direct hints of the series being interconnected, which in my opinion felt forced as I don't think he originally intended for them to be connected. I'd enjoy the stories for what they are, good stories with lots of insight from the golden age of science fiction. The good thing is, they can be read as standalone novels.


    Btw, Triumphant, there's one you didn't mention and I'm not sure if you've ever read it. It's a tribute novel set more or less in the same universe but using different names for everything since the author couldn't get permission from the estate, but it's Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury. It's a very good novel if you liked the Foundation series and I think it probably pays more respect and does it more justice than the second trilogy by the big 3. I highly enjoyed it.

    Here's a review:

    http://www.ansible.co.uk/writing/psychris.html

    Prologue:

    http://www.donaldkingsbury.com/PsychoCrisis/PsychoCrisis.html

    The different names for everything can take some getting used to, but the way I explained it away to myself was to have the references for things having changed over centuries and the world having evolved over time.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  6. KB24

    KB24 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My favorite is The End of the Eternity. It is a short time travel novel relatively stand alone, as compared to all of the other Foundation and Robots that all end up tied together. It might be a good place to test if you like his style or not before committing to the series. Or there are several short story anthologies out there. Or Nightfall.

    I read a lot of Asimov as a kid and have always intended to go back and reread, but never do. My husband was just asking similar questions about him, as he liked the movie versions of I Robot and Bicentennial Man. Though they take plenty of liberties, that might give you an idea, too. :)
     
  7. Non Sync

    Non Sync Captain Captain

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    There is also a large collection of non-fiction that he's also written.
     
  8. Aeolusdallas

    Aeolusdallas Captain Captain

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    Although the Foundation and Robot books are what he is most famous for his non fiction books are the best reads. He could take almost any subject and make it easily understandable.
     
  9. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have the Currents of Space issues of Astounding too, though they're very brittle. Somewhere I have Lord Valentine's Castle and The Gunslinger in F&SF, too. :D

    I think the simplicity of Asimov's writing is definitely part of the appeal, and I mean that in a good way.
     
  10. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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.
     
  11. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    More to the point, it was Asimov's response to the conventional wisdom that he couldn't write about aliens or sex.


    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.
     
  13. ITL

    ITL Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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

    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.
     
  15. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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: May 28, 2011
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  17. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  18. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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. ;)
     
  19. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.



    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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