Isaac Asimov Pt 1

March 3, 2015

One of my goals when I retired was to read Asimov’s Foundation Series from the beginning – all the robot stories & novels through the Foundation books in the order that they happened not the publishing order.  You can find a list on Wikipedia.  It has been enlightening.  I am up to Prelude to Foundation, although I have skipped The Currents of Space for the moment.  So far most of his writing does not hold up very well.  His style is stilted and so tied to what the world was like in the 50’s and 60’s that it is very difficult to read.  He did not seem to be able to envision changes in culture.  His infodumps interrupt the flow of the story while telling you much more than you really need to know.  His characters are caricatures not people.  His treatment of women for the most part is dismissive: they just don’t exist in his world except as possible love interests without personality.  Susan Calvin may be the one exception, but even she does not feel like a real person.  Many of the early robot stories have great ideas, but they tend to be repetitive.

As a teenager in the 60’s and into my young adulthood, I thought Asimov was a great writer.  His ideas are still wonderful.  His writing not so much.  I guess you can’t go back again.  I need to reread Bradbury and see how his stories hold up with the passing of time.