Isaac Asimov Part 2

This post is not a full review just an update on my memories of reading Asimov as a teenager and reading him now.

My faith in Isaac Asimov is restored.  On rereading I did really enjoy the Foundation Trilogy:  Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.  They were written in the early 1950’s so they are dated, but it didn’t bother me quite as much as in some of the other novels.  He has a few female characters who have meaningful roles in the plot. His writing style is a little stiff, but his ideas are very interesting.

Unfortunately, I was not as happy with the last two Foundation books that Asimov wrote in 1982 and 1986: Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth.  He takes great pleasure in long drawn out explanations of various physical phenomenon and repeating the same arguments between his characters over and over.  The plots in both books were drawn out, almost as if he was trying for word count. The books are longer than many of his earlier works.  According to his forward, his fans and publisher really wanted him to write these two books and I think the publisher may have been hesitant to edit the books.  John Campbell probably had a great deal to do with the way the original Foundation Trilogy turned out.  These two books remind of the late Heinlein works that became a way for him to express his political viewpoint.  Asimov’s political views were diametrically opposed to Heinlein’s libertarianism and favored a liberal society that placed the good of the whole over the individual.

My conclusion is that the original Foundation Trilogy:  Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation is well worth the reread, the last two books not so much.  I would also recommend some of the robot books and stories: The Rest of the Robots or The Complete Robot, The Caves of Steel, and The Naked Sun. The robot stories do get repetitive.  I liked Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation which were written in 1988 and 1993.

Hope this might encourage someone to read or reread one of the greats of science fiction!


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