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The Best of Isaac Asimov (Doubleday science fiction)

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Doubleday, 1974, hardcover. First published in Britain the previous year. STORIES: Marooned Off Vesta (1939); Nightfall (1941); The C-Chute (1951); The Martian Way (1952); The Deep (1952); The Fun They Had (1951); The Last Question (1956); The Dead Past (1956); The Dying Night (1956); Anniversary (1959); The Billiard Ball (1967); Mirror Image (1972).


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Doubleday, 1974, hardcover. First published in Britain the previous year. STORIES: Marooned Off Vesta (1939); Nightfall (1941); The C-Chute (1951); The Martian Way (1952); The Deep (1952); The Fun They Had (1951); The Last Question (1956); The Dead Past (1956); The Dying Night (1956); Anniversary (1959); The Billiard Ball (1967); Mirror Image (1972).

30 review for The Best of Isaac Asimov (Doubleday science fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Best of Isaac Asimov, Isaac Asimov The Best of Isaac Asimov (Sphere, 1973) is a collection of twelve science fiction short stories by American writer Isaac Asimov. Contents: Introduction; Marooned off Vesta (1939); Nightfall (1941); C-Chute (1951); The Martian Way (1952); The Deep (1952); The Fun They Had (1951); The Last Question (1956); The Dead Past (1956); The Dying Night (1956); Anniversary (1959); The Billiard Ball (1967); and Mirror Image (1972). تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال1995میلادی عنوان: بهت The Best of Isaac Asimov, Isaac Asimov The Best of Isaac Asimov (Sphere, 1973) is a collection of twelve science fiction short stories by American writer Isaac Asimov. Contents: Introduction; Marooned off Vesta (1939); Nightfall (1941); C-Chute (1951); The Martian Way (1952); The Deep (1952); The Fun They Had (1951); The Last Question (1956); The Dead Past (1956); The Dying Night (1956); Anniversary (1959); The Billiard Ball (1967); and Mirror Image (1972). تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال1995میلادی عنوان: بهترینهای آسیموف؛ نویسنده: آیزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: حسن اصغری؛ تهران، شقایق، سال1374، در272ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه و خیال انگیز و علمی آسیموف - سده20م کتاب اصلی دوازده داستان کوتاه دارد، و عنوان اصلی داستانها را در بالا بنگاشته ام، اما این برگردان دارای هجده داستان کوتاه است؛ عنوانهای داستانها (هیجده داستان کوتاه) : «مرور زمان»، «گذشته ی دور»، «مرگ یک فوی»، «خواب دیدن یک چیز خصوصی است»، «دنیای خواب»، «مگس ها»، «کشف»، «اصل موفقیت داستان علمی تخیلی»، «سرگرمی آنها»، «چگونه اتفاق افتاد»، «من فقط آنها را میسازم ملتفت میشود»، «من بدون هیلدا در مارسپورت هستم»، «شاعر جاویدان»، «روز قشنگی است»، «پسرم فیزیکدان مشهور»، «آگهی درگذشت»، «چیز مسلم»؛ و داستان هیجدهم با عنوان: «نسل چهارم»؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 15/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Wiswell

    I'm fairly certain this is the volume I read, but without a cover shot I cannot be sure. It contains most of the stories I recall in the collection I picked up. If you are curious, the stories contained in this volume are: Marooned Off Vesta (1939) Nightfall (1941) C-Chute (1951) The Martian Way (1952) The Deep (1952) The Fun They Had (1954) The Last Question (1956) The Dead Past (1956) The Dying Night (1956) Anniversary (1959) The Billiard Ball (1967) Mirror Image (1972) This collection represent I'm fairly certain this is the volume I read, but without a cover shot I cannot be sure. It contains most of the stories I recall in the collection I picked up. If you are curious, the stories contained in this volume are: Marooned Off Vesta (1939) Nightfall (1941) C-Chute (1951) The Martian Way (1952) The Deep (1952) The Fun They Had (1954) The Last Question (1956) The Dead Past (1956) The Dying Night (1956) Anniversary (1959) The Billiard Ball (1967) Mirror Image (1972) This collection represents the best and worst of Isaac Asimov. For instance, The Last Question may be his best story, following a computer with a centuries-long devotion to reversing entropy. It certainly has Asimov's most profound ending. But this only contains The Billiard Ball, a painfully overwrought murder plot using anti-gravity and the most unapologetically self-congratulatory writing in all of science fiction. It also contains Nightfall, about the psychological terror of a world in perpetual light that experiences a single night, later adapted into a far inferior and agonizingly drawn-out novel. Pick this book up instead of that one; the brevity seriously helps the stories. This collection helps one appreciate one of the inspirations of Asimov's prolific legacy: if he ever heard scientific concept, he'd write a story about it. Arthur Clarke and Michael Crichton tried to do this, but no one was as effective as Asimov at educating about impractically technical matters through fiction. Even in his own day Asimov was a clunky writer, which will make forays into his work annoying to many contemporary readers, but his importance is in science fiction is undeniable, and these short stories are a great start to understanding him.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    Asimov at his best. I've always enjoyed his short stories tremendously, and this group shows a really nice span of topics and dates. Asimov at his best. I've always enjoyed his short stories tremendously, and this group shows a really nice span of topics and dates.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I really enjoyed this "best of" by Isaac Asimov. Being a huge sci-fi fan, I don't know why it took me so long to go back and read some classics of this awesome genre (I'm in my mid 30's and have been avidly reading sci-fi since middle school). Since this is an anthology, I want to write a brief summary and review for each story. Also, I recommend reading Asimov's intro, which I found to be quite witty, especially concerning this anthology's title: "I suppose we ought really call the book, ‘The Pr I really enjoyed this "best of" by Isaac Asimov. Being a huge sci-fi fan, I don't know why it took me so long to go back and read some classics of this awesome genre (I'm in my mid 30's and have been avidly reading sci-fi since middle school). Since this is an anthology, I want to write a brief summary and review for each story. Also, I recommend reading Asimov's intro, which I found to be quite witty, especially concerning this anthology's title: "I suppose we ought really call the book, ‘The Pretty Good and Pretty Representative Stories of Isaac Asimov’, but who would then buy it? So ‘best’ it is." Marooned Off Vesta (1939); 5/5 An asteroid collides with a starship, leaving it powerless. Will the three survivors be able to find a way to get from the wreckage to nearby Vesta? | A great way to start the anthology and I really enjoyed this opening story. Nightfall (1941); 5/5 On a world with several suns, it is perpetually daytime. But once in every-so-many thousand years, it aligns such that night falls upon the planet. Can the citizens survive the madness of lack of light? | The momentum climbed all throughout the story until the suspenseful climax. I really enjoyed this one, too! The C-Chute (1951); 5/5 A civilian ship is commandeered by an alien race, with whom Earth is currently at war. How will the Earthmen defeat the aliens and take back their ship? | This was also a cool one, especially the description of the alien race, both appearance and culture. The Martian Way (1952); 5/5 Earth supplies Mars with the vital water which it needs to survive. Earth politicians use the water issue to exert influence over Mars. But can the Martians become water-independent and thus mitigate the oppressive influence of Earth? | I love that this story had a political component. It was an exciting and intriguing story. The Deep (1952); 2/5 Aliens on a faraway planet whose sun is dying need to transfer their civilization to another start system. They scout out Earth and experience some serious culture shock concerning our family structure. | For me, this story was the dud of the anthology. I found it a bit hard to follow, and while a fascinating premise, was not developed in a way that would have allowed me to enjoy it. The Fun They Had (1951); 4/5 Students in the future learn how students of the past used to study and are shocked to learn about those ancient schools and teachers. | This was the shortest story in the collection and it was cute and amusing. The Last Question (1956); 3/5 This is an all-time spanning story that tries to answer the question, "When will the universe die out?". Man spreads across the galaxy, then the universe and keeps building progressively more powerful computers. Can the latest, most powerful one answer that one final, last question? | This concept was also fascinating. I enjoyed this story, but not as much as the earliest works. Spoiler alert; there is an awesome twist at the end of this story, so brace yourself! The Dead Past (1956); 5/5 In a research-driven world, the government restricts and directs the direction of all research. One researcher is not pleased with the restrictions and is obsessed with his research-interest of looking into the far past. What secret discovery will his obsession lead him to? | I loved both the historical and academic touch to this story. It was thrilling, especially the revelation at the end. Some aspects were very 1984-esque and I loved it. The Dying Night (1956); 5/5 Three astronauts return to Earth after a 10-year stint in space. They reunite at an academic conference and run into their classmate who had been injured and was thus stuck on Earth during that time. He has a big discovery to revel at the conference in two days, but is murdered in the night. But, who dunnit? Arguments and counter-arguments go out about who, how and why could have done it. | This was intellectual dessert for me. I loved reading and then analyzing each of the arguments, trying to guess for myself who the guilty party was. Anniversary (1959); 5/5 The three survivors from "Marooned on Vesta" are back for a 20-year survivors' reunion. But, the plot thickens! Was there an ultra-valuable scientific breakthrough on that ship? If so, what was it and where is it now? Our three astronauts put their heads together and try to crack this 20-year old mystery. | Awesome! I loved it. The detective element that Asimov has introduced (in the previous story, too) works so well and this one was a joy to read! Also, it was nice to find out how the protagonists have been over all that time. The Billiard Ball (1967); 5/5 Two scientists are involved in anti-gravitational field research. One comes up with a breakthrough and organizes a public demonstration. The demonstration goes well, or does it? | The story had me second-guessing until the last sentence. This one is marked for re-reading! Mirror Image (1972). 5/5 Two scientists accuse each other of intellectual property theft. They had identical stories about what happened, just the names are switched. A detective questions them and their robots to find out who the liar is. | Brilliant! I loved reading about robots and the Three Laws of Robots. This was an excellent piece of writing. In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology. I definitely preferred Asimov's earlier and later work to his middle work. His later work added that "detective aspect", which I found to make his stories more complex, interesting and enjoyable.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Abraham Lewik

    My favourite is, 'The Martian Way'. The best of the rest are; 'The Deep', 'The Billiard Ball', 'The Dying Night', 'Marooned Off Vesta' & 'Anniversary'. 'C-Shute' offers a more radical Alien. 'Nightfall' eschews a "real" alien, instead embiggening that sensation. My favourite is, 'The Martian Way'. The best of the rest are; 'The Deep', 'The Billiard Ball', 'The Dying Night', 'Marooned Off Vesta' & 'Anniversary'. 'C-Shute' offers a more radical Alien. 'Nightfall' eschews a "real" alien, instead embiggening that sensation.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rohan

    His reputation precedes him, and I'm glad I got to read the last story which included the three laws of robotics. But, in another sense, it was at times boring. His imagination, scientific knowledge was so good that at times he was just describing boring realities today (e.g. the internet). The futuristic parts were also too far away in the future. I still think ender's Game series is better, as it has at the centre the human experience, which is much more relatable, whatever millenium it's set His reputation precedes him, and I'm glad I got to read the last story which included the three laws of robotics. But, in another sense, it was at times boring. His imagination, scientific knowledge was so good that at times he was just describing boring realities today (e.g. the internet). The futuristic parts were also too far away in the future. I still think ender's Game series is better, as it has at the centre the human experience, which is much more relatable, whatever millenium it's set in.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sean Randall

    A very enjoyable collection. Plenty of material not new to me, but I hadn't come across the Billiard Ball before, which I really enjoyed, and this time The Deep resonated. Of course the Last Question and Nightfall are seminal, and ending on Mirror Image was a refreshing reminder. A very enjoyable collection. Plenty of material not new to me, but I hadn't come across the Billiard Ball before, which I really enjoyed, and this time The Deep resonated. Of course the Last Question and Nightfall are seminal, and ending on Mirror Image was a refreshing reminder.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Reet

    3.5 stars overall 3 ⭐ Marooned off Vesta But not for long...but that inching across the sides of the broken spaceship was scary. I felt some vertigo while reading it. 2 ⭐ Nightfall This is about a planet with 6 suns. All of the suns have set but one, and that one is about to be covered by an eclipse. The planet has a history of its civilization expanding until, every 2K years, this happens again, then the whole planet goes mad at the sight of millions of stars in their sky, and their civilization fa 3.5 stars overall 3 ⭐ Marooned off Vesta But not for long...but that inching across the sides of the broken spaceship was scary. I felt some vertigo while reading it. 2 ⭐ Nightfall This is about a planet with 6 suns. All of the suns have set but one, and that one is about to be covered by an eclipse. The planet has a history of its civilization expanding until, every 2K years, this happens again, then the whole planet goes mad at the sight of millions of stars in their sky, and their civilization falls again. I can only guess at the purpose of the story: to make fun of humans and their dangerous ignorance? 2 ⭐ C Chute A ship on its way back to Earth from Arcturus is attacked by a Kloros ship and captured. The crew is killed and a group of passengers is held prisoner. They all hate each other, but eventually pull together when one of them volunteers to go out the "C Chute" (where corpses are buried at space) in order to attempt to re-enter the ship from the steam chutes. The best part is the description of what it's like to walk on the outer skin of the ship. 2 ⭐ The Martian Way The humans living on Mars are dependent on earth for their water and food. Space ships use water for their propulsion. Riled up by a politician, taxpayers on Earth are angry about the amount of water given up to Mars and its spaceships. They want to cut them off, but first earth places a limit on the amount of water that Mars can take. So one young Martian comes up with a way to get their own water. 3 ⭐ The Deep On a planet where it's sun is dying, the residents have been living beneath the surface. but now the planet itself is dying and the cold is setting in. They must find another place to live. This species has telepathy. They developed a manner to reach across the vast distances and connect minds. With a special receiver that they have constructed, this receiver will allow the minds of all the species remaining to transfer to the new planet, once initial contact is made. The first contact is with the mind of an infant, traveling on an airplane, with its mother. the man projecting his mind into the infant is astonished to find that his host species have no connection of their minds. Moreover, this species knows who its mother and father is. he relates this to his Superior upon return. " 'well,' said Gan, 'without mental contact, they probably have no real conception of society and subrelationships may build up. Or was this one pathological?' 'no, no. It's universal. The female in charge was the infant's mother.' 'impossible. It's own mother?' 'of necessity. The infant had passed the first part of its existence inside its mother. Physically inside. The creature's eggs remain within the body. They are inseminated within the body. They grow within the body and emerge alive.' 'great caverns,' Gan said weakly. Distaste was strong within him. 'each creature would know the identity of its own child. Each child would have a particular father - ' " 🤣 2 ⭐ The Fun They Had A little boy in the year 2157 has found an ancient "book" in his house's attic. He shares it with his little neighbor girl. The book is about what school was like in the old days. he tells the little girl what school was like then, according to the book, and as her mother calls Margie into her house to begin her own lessons with her mechanical teacher, she reminisces about what fun the children must have had going to school together, with a real, live teacher. 4 ⭐ The Last Question I liked this because it's something like what I think happened way back when, and will happen again far, far into the future. The only difference is, humans and other fauna will not last much past the 21st century, in real life. It is always interesting to see how sci-fi authors from the past imagine technology in the future. Gigantic computers that did minimum work existed in asimov's heydey. Here's a couple of excerpts from his version of microchips in computers: "it WAS a nice feeling to have a microvac of your own and Jarodd was glad he was part of his generation and no other. In his father's youth, the only computers had been tremendous machines taking up a hundred square miles of land. There was only one to a planet. Planetary ACs they were called. They had been growing in size steadily for a thousand years and then, all at once, came refinement. In place of transistors, had come molecular valves so that even the largest planetary AC could be put into a space only half the volume of a spaceship." [AC stands for analog computer] "mq-17j paused to wonder if someday in his immortal Life he would get to see the galactic AC. It was on a little world of its own, a spider webbing of force beams holding the matter within which surges of sub-mesons took the place of the old clumsy molecular valves. Yet despite its sub-etheric workings, the galactic AC was known to be a full thousand ft across." 4 ⭐ The Dead Past When you think of a kind of machine that can look into the past, what kind of a past would you use it for? Would you use it to look up your dead mom and dad, to relive the happy moments when they were alive? Would you use it to look up your youth, when you were beautiful, and thought you had the world by The Roots? Or would you look use it to look up history? Perhaps what happened during the fall of rome? This novelka by Asimov tackles this theme. Asimov was a PhD, a scientist, author, probably many other things. Being a professor, he was well acquainted with the system of University research, how scientists specialize, how grants work, how publishing in journals works. A history professor who is interested in Carthage, has gone to the head of the chronoscopy department, trying to get them to let him use the chronoscope to view ancient Carthage. He's obsessed with it, but he can make no headway. They merely put him off. He speaks with a young physics instructor, newly hired by the university, and tries to get him interested in the construction of a small, personal chronoscope. At first, Dr Foster (the physicist) declines, and tells Dr Potterly that he's stepping out of line. But he has caught the bug; now he begins to mull over the idea of how to make a chronoscope, and he involves his uncle, a science writer, in finding resources for him. His uncle finds the original film by the inventor of the chronoscope that the government keeps under lock and key. Never mind that it's 30 years old, and tattered, in fiction you can make anything work. You will have to read the story to find out what happens, but I'll tell you this: we never get a look at ancient Carthage. 3 ⭐ The Dying Night Four former classmates come to a hotel for a convention. Three of them are astronomers: one on Mercury, one on the moon, and one on Ceres. The fourth one had a serious heart condition, rheumatic fever, that would not allow him to leave the Earth, and was embittered by it. The fourth one was also the most brilliant by far, and he had realized how to achieve Mass transference. He meets up with them in one of their hotel rooms, and lets them know that he will present his paper. They protest, saying that he does not appear on the program. He says he has kept it a secret until now. That night the inventor has a heart attack and dies; the sole copy of his paper is stolen. Whodunnit? Asimov is good at his detective/science fiction. I greatly enjoyed his "caves of steel trilogy." 2 ⭐ Anniversary This story is a sequel to the first story in this book called "Marooned off Vesta." The three men who were able to escape with their lives when a spaceship collided with an asteroid in the orbit of the planet Vesta, get together every year to commemorate that date. Various details in the story are suspiciously coincidental. Asimov anticipated "Google search" with his "Multivac" computer in this story. One of the characters, more, had an outlet to Multivac in his house. It was in the form of a typewriter, and what you did was to type out a question that you wanted Multivac to answer, and the typewriter would type back out the answer from Multivac and send it out of a slot. 4 ⭐ The Billiard Ball I gave this four stars, when I really think it should be worth three stars. The reason for the extra star is, first, because I like the explanation of the universe and masses of energy that are affected by gravity in it, given by Dr Priss. Secondly, because it reminded me, when it spoke of Dr Priss, and the way he responded ever so slowly to questions, of somebody I volunteered with at the San Jose animal Shelter. " 'We can picture it,' he said, 'by imagining the universe to be a flat, thin, super flexible sheet of untearable rubber. if we picture mass as being associated with weight, as it is on the surface of the earth, then we would expect a mass, resting upon the rubber sheet, to make an indentation. The greater the mass, the deeper the indentation. 'in the actual universe,' he went on, 'all sorts of masses exist, and so our rubber sheet must be pictured as riddled with indentations. Any object rolling along the sheet would dip into and out of the indentations it passed, veering and changing direction as it did so. It is this Veer and change of direction that we interpret as demonstrating the existence of a force of gravity. If the moving object comes close enough to the center of the indentation and is moving slowly enough, it gets trapped and whirls round and round that indentation. In the absence of friction, it keeps up that whirl forever. In other words, what Isaac Newton interpreted as a force, Albert Einstein interpreted as geometrical distortion.' " Now to the second part of the extra star: when I volunteered at the San Jose animal Care center, another volunteer that had worked there much longer than I had, had the utterly annoying personality trait that if you spoke to her, she would take up to two or three minutes to answer you back. The first time I spoke with her, I wondered if she had not heard me, or she had not known that I was speaking to her. I almost re asked her the question, but I didn't. Eventually her answer came. It wasn't anything brilliant that would have needed so much time to sort out in her mind. I think it was just a contrived manner of hers, that she hoped would make people think she had such careful and brilliant thought processes. Whatever she meant to do with that, it gives me a clue as to why Mr Bloom was so incensed against Dr Priss, and so motivated to show him up. Mr Bloom was a mover, Dr Priss was a sloooow thinker. 4 ⭐ Mirror Image Personal connection accounts for the additional star, not necessarily the greatness of talent applied to the originality or author technique. The characters in the story are R.Daneel and Elijah Baley, the Same characters from the trilogy"The Caves of Steel," and I loved those stories. R. Daneel comes to Earth to consult with Lije Baley about a problem between two famous mathematicians on their way to a conference on a spaceship. One has created a new mathematical concept and shared it with the other. Preparing the paperwork on it and sending it ahead to the planet where it can be added to the lineup for the conference, the author finds that the other mathematician has done the same thing, only claiming the work as his. Both have personal robots who heard the original telling of the innovation to the other, and both claim their masters as the author of the innovation. Ship's captain, uncertain of how to ascertain who is lying, and responsible for justice on his ship, consults R.Daneel, known to have worked in collaboration with an Earth detective. R.Daneel, in turn, consults his old colleague Elijah Baley, as they were, so to speak, in the neighborhood of Earth. This is a good one.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

    Good representative sampling of Asimov's short form science fiction from the 1940s through the 1970s. "The Deep" is the dud of the collection, but the remaining eleven tales all have something to recommend them. Good representative sampling of Asimov's short form science fiction from the 1940s through the 1970s. "The Deep" is the dud of the collection, but the remaining eleven tales all have something to recommend them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Carter

    It’s Asimov and is therefore good. But it has aged sadly. Some stories are unsurprisingly timeless, such as “Nightfall”, but others suffer. In “Anniversary”—twenty years after the routine passenger flight to the asteroid belt featured in “Marooned off Vesta”—it’s worth remarking that one character has internet access: a typewriter for input and a feed for paper output. (One of the other characters is truly awed; he has never even seen an access terminal.) In “Mirror image”, set in a future so re It’s Asimov and is therefore good. But it has aged sadly. Some stories are unsurprisingly timeless, such as “Nightfall”, but others suffer. In “Anniversary”—twenty years after the routine passenger flight to the asteroid belt featured in “Marooned off Vesta”—it’s worth remarking that one character has internet access: a typewriter for input and a feed for paper output. (One of the other characters is truly awed; he has never even seen an access terminal.) In “Mirror image”, set in a future so remote that humans on innumerable planets now expect lives of three hundred years or so, a section of wall has to be cleared to be able to set up a two-dimensional video conference. Most striking is that in all twelve stories there are essentially only three females: a schoolgirl (in “The fun they had”; only three pages long); the mother of a four-month-old (“The Deep”, where her personality is non-existent and she’s only significant as providing the combination of love, protectiveness, and possessiveness typical of human mothers); and a dithering housewife obsessed with her dead daughter (“The dead past”). Reading these stories in the ’60s the developments in science were still anyone’s guess; and as for females—well, that’s what women did, right? Become wives and mothers. It’s not as if they were going to do space exploration, or become world-famous physicists or mathematicians…

  11. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    The introduction to this 1974 collection of short stories perfectly encapsulates the writing contained in this book and they way in which they are told, being neatly and precisely written, intelligent, imaginative, fundamentally decent, self-assured, and self-aware. Asimov humorously suggest that the book should really be called "The Pretty Good and Pretty Representative Stories of Isaac Asimov," and relays a wealth of information on why each story was chosen for the collection and what he likes The introduction to this 1974 collection of short stories perfectly encapsulates the writing contained in this book and they way in which they are told, being neatly and precisely written, intelligent, imaginative, fundamentally decent, self-assured, and self-aware. Asimov humorously suggest that the book should really be called "The Pretty Good and Pretty Representative Stories of Isaac Asimov," and relays a wealth of information on why each story was chosen for the collection and what he likes or finds interesting about it. While several stories, as most predicative fiction does, show their age and odd failures of imagination (e.g., a robot teacher that only accept homework on punch-cards in "The Fun They Had"), there are stories, such as "The Last Question," that are as fresh today as they were fifty years ago. Asimov has his flaws- for all his interplanetary exploits and adventurers, females are only represented as landlocked, unimaginative, nagging childbearers, and the language can be awkward and stilted. However, there are more than enough enough well-constructed plots ("Mirror Image"), brilliant conceits ("The Billiard Ball"), and enjoyable flights of imagination ("The Martian Way") to make reading this collection well worthwhile.

  12. 4 out of 5

    KJ

    What a thrilling book. I wish I'd read this growing up. It's a series of facinating thought experiments which make you wonder how different life could've been. Because the characters are all chip-in-the-shoulder humans, what you have is an utterly believable account of panicked people in a fantastic situation. I can't wait to get back to it tonight :) What a thrilling book. I wish I'd read this growing up. It's a series of facinating thought experiments which make you wonder how different life could've been. Because the characters are all chip-in-the-shoulder humans, what you have is an utterly believable account of panicked people in a fantastic situation. I can't wait to get back to it tonight :)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carla Remy

    I'd never read Asimov before and am very impressed. The mix of real and/or incredibly well-thought-out science with character-driven thought-provoking stories is incredible. Maybe mind-blowing. I'd never read Asimov before and am very impressed. The mix of real and/or incredibly well-thought-out science with character-driven thought-provoking stories is incredible. Maybe mind-blowing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ned Summers

    An incredibly insightful author. Great display of the development of his style including some of the most famous stories.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Connor Mcintosh

    A real corker. 12 short stories that just keep giving. Mac you will want to get in on this

  16. 5 out of 5

    Storm

    A collection of 12 of Asimov's best science fiction short stories, with links to detailed reviews. Introduction - 4⭐ - Asimov honestly says the dozen stories were chosen in such a way as to span a third of a century of writing, with two early samples, two late samples, and eight from the gold decade (for him) of the Fifties, which he and the editor both liked. They're representative, but that won't sell so it's "Best of". 🚀🪨💦 Marooned off Vesta - 3⭐ - Asimov's first published story about how 3 sur A collection of 12 of Asimov's best science fiction short stories, with links to detailed reviews. Introduction - 4⭐ - Asimov honestly says the dozen stories were chosen in such a way as to span a third of a century of writing, with two early samples, two late samples, and eight from the gold decade (for him) of the Fifties, which he and the editor both liked. They're representative, but that won't sell so it's "Best of". 🚀🪨💦 Marooned off Vesta - 3⭐ - Asimov's first published story about how 3 survivors on board the Silver Queen, wrecked and marooned off Vesta, come up with a way to prolong their lives. 🪨🌌🔥 Nightfall - 5⭐ - One of Asimov's best short stories about how the citizens of Lagash, in a six sun system, deal with an upcoming planetary convergence. 🐙🚀💨 C-Chute - 4⭐ - An armed merchantman ship en route to earth is captured by Kloros, who leave behind 2 Kloros to hold the 6 human prisoners to be transported back to their world as prisoners of war. Some of the prisoners aren't going to passively comply. 🧑🏽‍🚀🚀🧊 The Martian Way - 4⭐ - An Earth politician calls off planet colonies "Wasters" and threatens to cut off water exports. A group of Martian scavengers attempts something unprecedented to save their planet. 🤰🏼🤱🏻👶🏼 The Deep - 3⭐ - An explorer sent above to find a new home for his species and ensure their survival discovers something beyond their comprehension. There's a bit of an emotional gut punch on this one. 👩🏻‍🏫🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾🤸🏽‍♀️ The Fun They Had - 5⭐ - Computerized home-schooled Margie's friend brings an ancient book with a story about a very different type of school. Asimov's prophetic story is even more relevant in the post-COVID-19 year. 🤔❓🔆 The Last Question - 5⭐ - One of the best Asimov stories, spanning science fiction, theology and philosophy. ⏱⏰⏳ The Dead Past - 5⭐ - Scientific inquiry denied, a historian's clandestine research into creating a chronoscope that can view the past ends up letting the cat out of the bag. 🌃🎞️🌞 The Dying Night - 3⭐ - Murder mystery of a scientist with a huge discovery takes place before a convention on Earth. 🚀🖊️🤘 Anniversary - 3⭐ - This sequel to Marooned off Vesta sees the 3 men, reuniting on the anniversary of the day they survived the Silver Queen shipwreck, lamenting their loss of fame as the only shipwreck survivors, the only one remembered is Dr. Horace Quentin who died aboard the wreck, with an invention that still hasn't been found. 🤔🎱❓ The Billiard Ball - 5⭐ - As a journalist's recollect of events during the discovery of an anti-gravity device, we start to wonder if the accident is more than what it seems. 🔎🪞🔍 Mirror Image - 5⭐ - In this entertaining mystery, Baley is called by Daneel to resolve a dispute between two Spacer scientists who have submitted identical papers about a revolutionary mathematical technique.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elmer Foster

    What an introduction to Isaac Asimov albeit 50+ years after the fact! And in some of the stories, it shows greater than others. However, at their core, these are solidly told Sci-Fi tales. Highly enjoyed the thought provoking - The Last Question (1956) (5/5). And these were the more favored readings: - The Martian Way (1952) (4/5) was intriguing as an evolutionary tale. - The Deep (1952) (4/5) and the - The Dead Past (1956) (4/5) felt like they belong with the Black Mirror franchise. - The Fun They What an introduction to Isaac Asimov albeit 50+ years after the fact! And in some of the stories, it shows greater than others. However, at their core, these are solidly told Sci-Fi tales. Highly enjoyed the thought provoking - The Last Question (1956) (5/5). And these were the more favored readings: - The Martian Way (1952) (4/5) was intriguing as an evolutionary tale. - The Deep (1952) (4/5) and the - The Dead Past (1956) (4/5) felt like they belong with the Black Mirror franchise. - The Fun They Had (1951) (4/5) was a straightforward short story about days gone by. - Marooned off Vesta (1939) (3/5) & Anniversary (1959) (4/5) if only for the forethought and timeline to revisit an older story, only to add another layer (and story to it). Detective Fiction: - Mirror Image (1972) 3/5 should have been greater due to the 3 laws of robotics, along with - The Dying Night (1956) (3/5) and - The Billiard Ball (1967) 3/5, which were early attempts at basic mysteries of the human kind. Underwhelming for me: - Nightfall (1941) (2/5) I though would be better since it has larger tellings in stand alone books. - C-Chute (1951) (3/5) was very similar to Marooned, yet still interesting. I highly recommend this collection to any reader from any genre, as they will find something among the selections, surely. Thanks for reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

    complete peace in the middle of a beauty-drenched universe I once read, somewhere, that the movie Tremors is the prime example of a movie that does not waste any scenes, minutes, or words. Every moment builds the story and no dialogue feels wasted. This is how I feel about each of these Asimov short stories. I picked up this book hoping to enjoy some sci-fi, and I did, but what I really enjoyed most was the writing itself. Check out the first few sentences of The Dying Night: It was almost a complete peace in the middle of a beauty-drenched universe I once read, somewhere, that the movie Tremors is the prime example of a movie that does not waste any scenes, minutes, or words. Every moment builds the story and no dialogue feels wasted. This is how I feel about each of these Asimov short stories. I picked up this book hoping to enjoy some sci-fi, and I did, but what I really enjoyed most was the writing itself. Check out the first few sentences of The Dying Night: It was almost a class reunion, and though it was marked by joylessness, there was no reason as yet to think it would be marred by tragedy. Edward Talliaferro, fresh from the Moon and without his gravity legs yet, met the other two in Stanley Kaunas's room. Kaunas rose to greet him in a subdued manner. Battersley Ryger merely sat and nodded. Talliaferro lowered his large body carefully to the couch, very aware of its unusual weight. He grimaced a little, his plump lips twisting inside the rim of hair that surrounded his mouth on lip, chin, and cheek. Boom. A few sentences in and you have a feeling of the mood in the room, where the characters have been, each of their demeanors, where the story may head, etc. It just does it for me. 5/5, and I'll have to pick up some longer Asimov stories.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    A collection of Asimov's short stories, with a brief introduction in the beginning by Asimov himself detailing some autobiographical notes. Asimov of course is a seminal figure in science fiction, and his impact on the field continues to impact how we conceive of the genre today. That said, most of the stories, in my opinion, did not age well. Black Mirror and other contemporary sci-fi works, though morbidly dystopian compared to the optimistic Asimov, are much more gripping and thought-provokin A collection of Asimov's short stories, with a brief introduction in the beginning by Asimov himself detailing some autobiographical notes. Asimov of course is a seminal figure in science fiction, and his impact on the field continues to impact how we conceive of the genre today. That said, most of the stories, in my opinion, did not age well. Black Mirror and other contemporary sci-fi works, though morbidly dystopian compared to the optimistic Asimov, are much more gripping and thought-provoking. I'm also not a fan of stories that start in media res. I found "Dying Past", one of the stories particularly gripping though, as it raised implications about the governance of research, censorship, and whether the pursuit of truth and science is always and inevitably a good thing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elsbeth Magilton

    This collection starts in his early(ish) life as an author, the first story being published in 1939 and spanning some work through the 1970s. I hadn’t read any of these before. In particular, in the early works, it was notable that the only female characters were wives, whereas in some of his later novels characters like Susan Calvin were instrumental. That said his creativity, clever but simple wit, and mastery of the human condition shines through. True “before it’s time” classic science ficti This collection starts in his early(ish) life as an author, the first story being published in 1939 and spanning some work through the 1970s. I hadn’t read any of these before. In particular, in the early works, it was notable that the only female characters were wives, whereas in some of his later novels characters like Susan Calvin were instrumental. That said his creativity, clever but simple wit, and mastery of the human condition shines through. True “before it’s time” classic science fiction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zack Hester

    The Best of Isaac Asimov (_/5) Rated (_/5) • Marooned off Vesta (1939) (3/5) • Nightfall (1941) - • C-Chute (1951) (3/5) • The Martian Way (1952) (3/5) • The Deep (1952) (2/5) • The Fun They Had (1951) (4/5) • The Last Question (1956) (4/5) • The Dead Past (1956) (3/5) • The Dying Night (1956) • Anniversary (1959) (3/5) • The Billiard Ball (1967) - • Mirror Image (1972) (2/5) ( - ) previously read, skipped in this collection. A good representation of Asimov's over a 30 year period. The Best of Isaac Asimov (_/5) Rated (_/5) • Marooned off Vesta (1939) (3/5) • Nightfall (1941) - • C-Chute (1951) (3/5) • The Martian Way (1952) (3/5) • The Deep (1952) (2/5) • The Fun They Had (1951) (4/5) • The Last Question (1956) (4/5) • The Dead Past (1956) (3/5) • The Dying Night (1956) • Anniversary (1959) (3/5) • The Billiard Ball (1967) - • Mirror Image (1972) (2/5) ( - ) previously read, skipped in this collection. A good representation of Asimov's over a 30 year period.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Miller

    This book includes some cracking tales as one might expect given the title. Night falls is very good and I liked the Martian Way. I feel Asimov had a keen eye for human psychology and these stories have loss, guilt, manipulation, courage and more; the sci-fi is oftenmerely a vehicle.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Franks V.

    Doubleday, 1974, hardcover. First published in Britain the previous year. STORIES: Marooned Off Vesta (1939); Nightfall (1941); The C-Chute (1951); The Martian Way (1952); The Deep (1952); The Fun They Had (1951); The Last Question (1956); The Dead Past (1956); The Dying Night (1956); Anniversary (1959); The Billiard Ball (1967); Mirror Image (1972). **

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Tang

    A little bit boring. Not for you if need characters and prose; plot is bare and clear to the point of just feeling like a permutation of some stuff spat out by an rng. But mildly interesting facts if you're really into hard sci-fi, but idgi, just read a paper instead lol. A little bit boring. Not for you if need characters and prose; plot is bare and clear to the point of just feeling like a permutation of some stuff spat out by an rng. But mildly interesting facts if you're really into hard sci-fi, but idgi, just read a paper instead lol.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gr1972

    5 out of 5

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bob Box

    Read in 1975. Sci fi legend's short stories and essays. Read in 1975. Sci fi legend's short stories and essays.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Holly Dolezalek

    They're not as good as I remembered but they're still good. They're not as good as I remembered but they're still good.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    And there was light --

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kasey Jane

    My mom first checked this out of the library for me when I was fifteen. A few of the stories -- The Deep, The Dead Past, and The Last Question -- have stuck with me over the years, and so I revisted that library to read it again (they'd gotten rid of the book, sadly). This is a great collection of classic, unusual science fiction by the master. Stories (view spoiler)[ Marooned off Vesta - 1/5 Asimov writes a lot of manly space mysteries and this -- his first published work -- is probably the best exa My mom first checked this out of the library for me when I was fifteen. A few of the stories -- The Deep, The Dead Past, and The Last Question -- have stuck with me over the years, and so I revisted that library to read it again (they'd gotten rid of the book, sadly). This is a great collection of classic, unusual science fiction by the master. Stories (view spoiler)[ Marooned off Vesta - 1/5 Asimov writes a lot of manly space mysteries and this -- his first published work -- is probably the best example of this type. I am not a huge fan of these, and this story in particular was a little too rough-hewn for my tastes. Nightfall - 4/5 This is such a wonderful, interesting concept and its execution does nothing to detract from the story. A world lit by six suns faces the unfathomable: Night and the Stars. C-Chute - 2/5 Yeah, it's cheesy, but it's good cheesy. Written ten years after the first two stories, Asimov's characters has improved immensely in the intervening decade. This is another manly space mystery/adventure tale, but I have always been a sucker for the underdog. The Martian Way - 5/5 This was Asimov's response to McCarthyism, with Earthbound "Grounders" launching a campaign against the "Spacers" of Mars. This story is the perfect balance of politics, light philosophy, outer space troubleshooting, and beautiful imagery that makes Asimov's stories great. The Deep - 3/5 This is the story that brought me back to the collection. I was surprised to read that it wasn't very well regarded; so was Asimov, as he explains in his introduction. The absolute Otherness of the Race on its dying world is memorable, as is the central "hook" which divides the Race and Man eternally. I'm just not sure I can fit it into a paper on geothermal energy. (Although I might still try...) The Fun They Had - 2/5 Very short. Cute enough. The Last Question - 4/5 At some point or another, many great sci fi authors have tackled the "what is religion when science is indistinguishable from magic" question. This story is the absolute best asking of that question. The Dead Past - 5/5 I read this story in 1998 or 1999 when I was a freshman in high school. Without revealing the central premise, this story felt very portentous because of the increasing ubiquity of the World Wide Web. More than a decade later, The Dead Past still feels portentous but it also feels a bit vindicated by the progress of history. I suppose this is the mark of a timeless science fiction classic. Of all the stories in The Best of Isaac Asimov, this is also the most emotionally touching. The Dying Night - 1/5 There's a murder mystery on Earth and only the reader's understanding of space can solve it! I often like mysteries but this one did nothing for me. Anniversary - 1/5 This is what it is, and what it is is a commissioned piece reprising the characters from Marooned off Vesta, Asimov's first published work. I enjoyed this one about as much as I liked that one. Billiard Ball - 2/5 This was an interesting look at a rivalry between a research scientist and a popular scientist and murder. Mirror Image - 2/5 One of my issues with a lot of Asimov's later work is that entire chapters can be spent with one dialogue or monologue. Perhaps I'm just immature, but I want laser guns and spaceships in my science fiction, dammit! Words Vocabulary Decebrate. (v, w/obj) Remove the cerebrum from (a laboratory animal). Aphasia. (n) Inability or impaired ability to understand or produce speech as a result of brain damage. Albedo. (n) The proportion of the incident light or radiation that is reflected by a surface, typically that of a planet or moon. Imprecation. (n) A spoken curse. Aphelion. (n) The point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid, or comet at which it is furthest from the sun. Picayune. (adj) Of little value or significance. Virago. (n) A domineering, violent, or bad tempered woman. A woman of masculine strength or spirit; a female warrior. Quotes "Our ancestors burned the oil of Earth madly and willfully. They destroyed its coal recklessly. We despise and condemn them for that, but at least they had this -- they thought that when the need arose, substitutes would be found. And they were right." "Earth is just there. It fits people and people fit it. People take Earth the way they find it. Mars is different. It's sort of raw and doesn't fit people. People got to make something out of it. They got to build a world, and not take what they find. Mars isn't much yet, but we're building and wen we're finished, we're going to have just what we like. It's sort of a great feeling to know you're building a world. Earth would be kind of unexciting after that." "I can recognize intellectual curiosity when I see it in a man's eyes and face and attitude, and it's a fatal disease for a tame scientist." (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    A collection of Asimov's must-read short stories, for weathered fans or for those who are just being introduced to his work. Some border on 30 and 40 pages long so be sure to set aside some time to get through each one, and be ready to take time off after each story so you can let it soak in for the full existential crisis effect. A collection of Asimov's must-read short stories, for weathered fans or for those who are just being introduced to his work. Some border on 30 and 40 pages long so be sure to set aside some time to get through each one, and be ready to take time off after each story so you can let it soak in for the full existential crisis effect.

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