Saturday, September 11, 2004

It's Been a Good Life
Isaac Asimov, Janet Asimov, Janet Jeppson Asimov (Editor)

"It was a wonderful life, Isaac!"

My recent Asimov-reading-jag extended to this pared-down version of his three-volume autobiography. I'm not sure I've the stamina for that massive collection, but this was a charming presentation of the highlights.

Especially enjoyable is tracking his SF career - the influence of Campbell, his relationships with other writers and the SF community; all are particulalry interesting to read about.

As always, the good doctor was clear, engaging, enjoyable and thought-provoking. The poignancy of reading it (or, I suppose any of his essays) is the sadness that this unique voice has been stilled. I'm grateful for how much he did, and shared of himself.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Caves of Steel (The Robot Series)
Isaac Asimov

This is such a classic! Interesting themes and ideas. The notion of all-encompassing cities. Humans hating/fearing robots. "Medievalism" as a reaction against modern society.

Asimov pits the Earthers against the Spacers. Spacers are kind of like the Vulcan's; logical, long-lived, atheist-philosophical, while the humans of Earth have short lives, and are chaotic and emotional. Despite his atheism, Asimov works in some Biblical material and ideas - mostly with approval (though clearly informed by modern Biblical criticism). Interesting is the idea that thousands of years hence, he portrays the Bible as commonly available and known among Earth's citizens, though not among the Spacers.

And it is a good mystery, too! He clearly got better (see "The Naked Sun") but he did a nice job of creating and having his hero solve, a murder mystery. An excellent book! Worth reading again!