Books by Isaac Asimov

THE RETURN OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2003

"Perfect for short train rides, waiting rooms, and those who favor talk-talk-talk with a modicum of description."
Just because you're dead is no reason to let a long-running short-story franchise wither. Read full book review >
MAGIC by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1996

"Although Asimov fans will want to browse, this, like Gold (1994), a posthumous collection of writings on science fiction, is publishing at its laziest: Surely someone could have been induced to write something illuminating about the contents here."
Another posthumous anthology from the science fiction grandmaster (1920-92), this time of previously uncollected stories and writings on fantasy—though Asimov uses examples from science fiction freely and makes no rigid distinction between fantasy and science fiction. Read full book review >
GOLD by Isaac Asimov
Released: March 1, 1995

"But the pleasure would have been enhanced if somebody had bothered to provide an introduction and some much needed background information."
A posthumous anthology of previously uncollected science fiction writings from Asimov (192092; Forward the Foundation, 1993, etc.) comprising 15 stories, 18 nonfiction pieces about science fiction, and 20 essays on the craft of writing science fiction. Read full book review >
I. ASIMOV by Isaac Asimov
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 1994

"Mixed in with the bons mots and the gossip are true stories about Asimov's novels and short fiction that fans will cherish. Perhaps most gratifying of these is the confession of astonishment Asimov expressed upon reaching bestseller status, late in his life."
Asimov, knighted a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, was an eloquent raconteur; in fact, the book reads like a one-sided conversation, as he shares his opinions on surviving Star Trek conventions, other science fiction authors' egos, and, of course, his own career. Read full book review >
THE POSITRONIC MAN by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"Still, there's bound to be an audience for Asimov's last novel, even if he didn't actually write it."
Third and final collaboration between the late Asimov and Silverberg (Nightfall, 1990; The Ugly Little Boy, 1992), this based on Asimov's famous long story "The Bicentennial Man." Read full book review >
FORWARD THE FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 6, 1993

"A moving valedictory performance."
The final science-fiction novel by the legendary Asimov—a prequel to his widely acclaimed Foundation Trilogy, written in the 1940's. Read full book review >
THE UGLY LITTLE BOY by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"Skeptics and cynics, however, will again simply wonder why they bothered."
Asimov's famous long story "The Ugly Little Boy" (cf. the equally renowned "Nightfall," novelized by the authors in 1990) first appeared in 1958 in Galaxy magazine and described the emotional repercussions resulting from a 21st-century time-travel experiment in which a Neanderthal child is brought into the present. Read full book review >
NORBY AND THE COURT JESTER by Janet Asimov
FICTION
Released: Nov. 22, 1991

"Part old-fashioned Saturday movie serial, part G&S operetta, and all preposterous: good, clean fun, and the loose ends can go into another book. (Fiction. 10-14)"
In the tenth book about Jeff Wells and his appealing little robot, Norby, the two careen through time and space yet again. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"Just because the entire book is so basic, however, some libraries may find it handy."
This latest in a barrage of environmental overviews by big names takes a lowest-common-denominator approach, chatting up readers in discursive if not patronizing prose that spends much time assessing concepts such as Gaia and countering implied arguments that might be made by people who are either simple-minded or misinformed. Read full book review >
NIGHTFALL by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 7, 1990

"Bound to have curiosity appeal."
Asimov's long story "Nightfall" (1941), written when he was just 21, concerns the inhabitants of a planet with six suns. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 26, 1990

"Painless and pointless, to the extent that even Asimov fans should have second thoughts."
The prolific Asimov cuts another notch in his smoking keyboard by collaborating with space-specialist White—this time to summarize ten millennia of human expansion and achievements and add a few worn words of wisdom for the difficult times ahead. Read full book review >
HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT LASERS? by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 12, 1990

"Index."
Lasers, once over lightly—from wavelengths, colors, energy, and excited atoms to CD players and optical fiber. Read full book review >
OUT OF EVERYWHERE by Isaac Asimov
Released: June 1, 1990

"Typical Asimov, for better or worse."
Another collection of science essays from Asimov, all originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and ranging in subject from the source of the Nile to the role of poetry in modem life. Read full book review >
NEMESIS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 1989

"A low-key, oddly likable performance considering that, despite all the complicated maneuvering, nothing much happens: the old Asimov charm keeps the pages turning."
From the author who needs no introduction: a medium-future space drama, often quite absorbing despite the absence of a theme or even much of a plot. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 1989

"Generously proportioned, agreeably priced, and most certainly worthwhile."
Another "Mammoth Book of. . ." Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1989

"Overall, an anthology of interest primarily to occult-fiction completists."
The authors collected here should know about the occult—nearly all of them are dead. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1989

"Overall, an anthology of interest primarily to occult-fiction completists."
The authors collected here should know about the occult—nearly all of them are dead. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1989

"A chilling thought."
The fifth collection of a dozen stories about the Black Widowers—that circle of self-styled intellectuals chronically unable to solve the riddles their dinner guests pose until they're rescued by their colorless waiter Henry. Read full book review >
AZAZEL by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 1, 1988

"Harmless, vaguely amusing froth."
Eighteen lightweight stories, 1982-88, plus one original, about Azazel—the grumpy, egotistical, two-centimeter-tall demon that only pompous, tightfisted linguist George Bitternut knows how to conjure up. Read full book review >
Released: July 15, 1988

"Worth a try for nostalgia buffs and students of the field."
Compared with the works of the founders of modern sf, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, those of the 1930's, contrary to the overblown title, often seem insufferably crude; even the better craftsmen of the era were prone to excessive verbiage, prose that was more puce than purple, cartoon characters and antics, and rickety or nonexistent plots—all of which are on ample display here. Read full book review >
THE RELATIVITY OF WRONG by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 29, 1988

"And written about by upbeat, postive-thinking, righter-than-most Asimov."
The 24th collection of Asimov's essays, these culled from recent monthly columns in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Read full book review >
NATURE
Released: March 30, 1988

"Timely, slightly perfunctory, just the right length for a quick report."
Number 32 in the author's series on the history of scientific discoveries. Read full book review >
ASIMOV'S GALAXY by Isaac Asimov
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 27, 1988

"Tirelessly, Asimov dispenses precisely metered doses of information sweetened with old-fashioned liberalism—concern for individual rights, respect for the Constitution, an outlook that transcends the parochial—a combination that's hard to decline, even if the rewards are often regrettably fleeting."
Sixty-six essays, 1980-86, taken from Asimov's regular editorial column in the science-fiction magazine that bears his name (he has no other control over the magazine's content), and supplementing his previous remarks on the science-fiction field (Asimov on Science Fiction, 1981). Read full book review >
FANTASTIC VOYAGE II by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 18, 1987

"It slips down easily enough but leaves no lingering impression."
Not a sequel to the original Fantastic Voyage (a 1966 movie novelization), which Asimov chooses to ignore completely; the upshot isn't too much more than a sclerotically talky retread. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1987

"Good addition to a popular series of theme anthologies."
These ten very different tales feature young magic-workers, and will appeal to a variety of readers. Read full book review >
HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT SUNSHINE? by Isaac Asimov
NATURE
Released: June 6, 1987

"Occasional diagrams and pencil drawings; index."
The sun's violent glow powers nearly every movement on the Earth's surface, yet its origin is still incompletely understood. Read full book review >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: June 1, 1987

"For the more jaded reader, it will seem offhand and superficial."
Pointers for established, novice and would-be writers by a very successful one and his wife. Read full book review >
FAR AS HUMAN EYE COULD SEE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 6, 1987

"Here Asimov the scientist and science-fiction writer meet in an artless, seamless way that marks the man as formidable and readable as ever."
Seventeen essays from the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction form this latest Asimov anthology. Read full book review >
HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT BLOOD? by Isaac Asimov
HEALTH
Released: Dec. 16, 1986

"Circulatory Systems by Alvin and Virginia Silverstein covers the same information in more depth, but libraries needing an extra title will find this a solid addition."
Similar to others in the "How Did We Find Out About _____ ?" series, this helpful introduction uses a historical approach to learning about science. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1986

"As usual, the Asimovs have crowded history, science, and a good yarn into a few short pages."
Another romp, fifth in the series, involving Norby the time-twisting robot and his human friends, Jeff, Fargo, and Albany, by sci-fi icon Asimov and his wife Janet. Read full book review >
ROBOT DREAMS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 1, 1986

Another Asimov story collection, this one misleadingly titled—less than half the 21 stories, 1947-86, are about robots. Read full book review >
FOUNDATION AND EARTH by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 3, 1986

"Yet, much here qualifies as vintage Asimov—Solaria has long been one of his finest creations—despite that disappointing, artificial finale."
An overlong but imaginative entry in the revived Foundation series, with a talky opening, an intriguing middle, and an illogical fade-out. Read full book review >
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Sept. 1, 1986

"Asimov is, as always, a genial guide through this scientific and quasi-scientific information; but his emphasis on 'this won't really happen' seems unnecessary, as does his extended commentary on material commissioned by a toy company and obviously intended as an amusing trifle, not as a serious prediction."
This featherweight non-book reproduces a series of advertising cards designed by French commercial artist Jean Marc Cote in 1899 to celebrate the new century and to offer lighthearted predictions about what life would be like "en l'an 2000." Read full book review >
THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF ISAAC ASIMOV by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 15, 1986

"Still, Asimovophiles will probably relish the cozy geniality of it all, and some curious browsers may be attracted too."
Twenty-eight tales, 1951-80, chosen by Asimov himself; excluded are the robot yarns (The Complete Robot, 1982), and "Nightfall," his best-known story. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 15, 1986

"Still: a solid, generous sampling—especially for collections that don't already include all those previous story compilations."
Only seven of the stories here—there are 31 in all—have not appeared before in book form. Read full book review >
THE DANGERS OF INTELLIGENCE AND OTHER SCIENCE ESSAYS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 18, 1986

"Asimov, it is cynicism on the part of his publisher to offer such stuff to the book-buying public as worthy of permanent space on their shelves."
The last words in the title might better have read "and other columns"—for this 342nd "book" by Isaac Asimov is composed of 72 very brief reprinted columns from American Way, American Airlines' in-flight magazine. Read full book review >
THE HUGO WINNERS by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 4, 1986

"A collector's item."
Following Volume IV (1985), more winners, 1980-82, in the shorter fiction categories; again, the stories here are all more or less famous. Read full book review >
ROBOTS AND EMPIRE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 20, 1985

"A satisfying plot, then, marred by perfunctory backdrops and fairly mundane human doings—but scintillating and stimulating whenever the robots occupy center stage."
An addition to Asimov's series of robot-detective novels, and a more convincing effort than The Robot of Dawn (1983). Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 2, 1985

"In many of these essays, the pleasure shines through."
You need to know the probability of intelligent life evolving on a planet of the red sun Betelgeuse. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 18, 1985

"A few goodies, then, but generally mediocre and disappointing."
Alert readers expect a certain amount of bombast from editors of "best of" anthologies; but, as Asimov remarks in his introduction (his emphasis): "I don't know any great scientists who are great science fiction writers." Read full book review >
THE EDGE OF TOMORROW by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: July 2, 1985

"So, with one feeble exception, this is familiar stuff, readily available elsewhere—though a few unwary readers may be fooled by the packaging gimmick."
Asimov wears two hats, one as genial science popularizer and another as popular science-fiction writer, in this odd fact-and-fiction combination of 12 essays (1969-82, from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) and a dozen stories (1941-85, including one original). Read full book review >
Released: June 6, 1985

"For an array of robot topics, erratically handled, see Minsky, below."
This volume is a departure from the customary Asimov approach to explaining-it-all—perhaps the doing of co-author Frenkel. Read full book review >
THE EXPLODING SUNS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 22, 1985

"A skillful job."
An honest-to-goodness new Asimov book: not a swatch of columns, an array of editings, or a one-volume explanation of everything. Read full book review >
THE HUGO WINNERS by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 12, 1985

"So this is a surefire acquisition wherever the sf collections are thin—while many libraries and individual readers will have the best of these stories already on hand."
Hugo awards are selected by popular vote at the annual World SF Convention; this mammoth tome, comprising 13 yarns and 561 pages, presents the shorter fiction winners for 1976-9—and they're a solid, nicely varied, enjoyable bunch, all more or less famous. Read full book review >
OPUS 300 by Isaac Asimov
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Dec. 10, 1984

"With official autobiography, and also running commentary—noting background and mood, saluting or mourning friends: the ruminative as well as the energetic Asimov, already on the road to Opus 400."
As promised, Asimov's 300th book comes out just before his 65th birthday, in January. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1984

"As a one-volume condensation of an Asimovian lifetime of science writing, something other than the sum of its parts—and as an information source, surely a bargain."
First it was The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (1960), revised in 1965 to become The New IMGTS. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 28, 1984

"Filled out with mediocre contributions from Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Robert A. Heinlein, Stanley Schmidt, and Larry Eisenberg: topical yet often bland fare—good enough for politically-oriented diversion, too un-probing to please serious sf fans."
A circumscribed and rather tentative collection of 17 tales, 1941-75. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 7, 1984

"With some amusing repartee, a few clever notions, and those half-endearing Asimov afterwords: more of the talky, easygoing same for those who relished Tales (1974), More Tales (1976), and the Casebook (1980) of the Black Widowers."
Twelve more gimmick-mysteries for the high-I.Q. Black Widowers to puzzle over after dinner at their monthly meetings—with, as usual, the plausible solutions always provided by waiter Henry. Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 1984

"Except for a foolish 1937 pulp piece about antimatter, then: an attention-worthy gathering—even if the arbitrariness of the assemblage irritates."
Another "best of" collection, with a particularly tenuous premise: twelve stories, 1839-1966—representing the "first appearance of an interesting idea" (though even here Asimov quibbles a bit). Read full book review >
100 GREAT FANTASY SHORT SHORT STORIES by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: March 9, 1984

"But the overall effect is numbing rather than stimulating: one of the Asimov factory's less workable ideas for an anthology."
Teeny-weeny tales—so teeny-weeny that the table of contents is longer than any of the entries here. Read full book review >
THE ROBOTS OF DAWN by Isaac Asimov
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Oct. 21, 1983

"Still: all Asimovites will want to give the new Baley a try, especially after the recent bestseller-comeback for the Foundation series."
After a 26-year absence: another full-length appearance for the dogged sleuth Elijah Baley and his humanlike robot-sidekick, Daneel. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 13, 1983

"A disjointed, artificial assemblage—that still might find favor in a few origin-pondering classrooms, as well as with ardent Asimovians."
Factual, speculative, and mythical ideas about origins—concerning (in four separate parts) the universe, the solar system, the Earth, and humankind—via a peculiar, confusing mix of materials: four scriptural selections, four straightforward science pieces, 17 fantasy/sf stories from 1933-81, a poem, and a recent Asimov essay refuting Creationism. Read full book review >
THE UNION CLUB MYSTERIES by Isaac Asimov
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Aug. 12, 1983

"So, except for a solid flicker of deduction now and again, there's minimal appeal here for detective-story fans—and aficionados of Asimovian games will find better, less padded collections elsewhere."
More for fans of Asimov word/number fiddles than mystery-lovers: 30 mini-stories, all written for Gallery ("what is commonly known as a 'girlie' magazine") and all featuring an old storyteller named Griswold—an ex-spy/sleuth who tells his fellow Union Club cronies anecdotes with puzzle-solutions. Read full book review >
THE MEASURE OF THE UNIVERSE by Isaac Asimov
Released: June 1, 1983

"Readers can best savor the full measure of the book, so to speak, in tasty bits and pieces."
Asimov-watchers know his fascination with measurements. Read full book review >
Released: March 18, 1983

"And also on the agenda are some wispy non-sf items, from horrible puns to computerized speechwriting and a chat with God, A few standouts, then, with much that is YA-ishly stereotypical and mediocre: a representative assortment from a great but notoriously unselective talent."
Lightweight Asimovia: 21 yarns, two from the 1950s, the rest 1976-81. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 30, 1983

"A shapeless and rather parochial collection (notable absentees include Aldiss, Simak, and Lem)—but there's no shortage of high-quality, if often familiar, material."
An over-eclectic assemblage of 29 yarns, one from 1894, the rest 1932-76, running to a hefty 550-plus pages—and arranged more or less chronologically in the usual fairly meaningless categories. Read full book review >
FOUNDATION'S EDGE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 22, 1982

"A grandmasterly performance."
After 29 years, Asimov has finally been prodded into continuing his famous Foundation saga: this splendid effort—faithful to the spirit of the original trilogy, while stylistically more expansive and mature—may well be the best yet. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 12, 1982

"Entertaining, often YA-ish, certainly browse-worthy tales—but, overall, mutton dressed as lamb."
Forget the pretentious "dictionary" label: this admittedly mammoth, 50-piece collection—with its contrived categories ("knights," "judicial system," "women," etc.) and haft-witted definitions ("children—persons between infancy and puberty; the offspring of human beings")—is just another gab-bag, despite the noisy packaging. Read full book review >
EXPLORING THE EARTH AND THE COSMOS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: May 28, 1982

"Vintage Asimov that will please fans—and also a lively introduction to science for teens or pre-teens."
The title, though accurate, does not catch the flavor of this latest Asimov—which reveals his fascination with limits and man's "restless desire" to push beyond. Read full book review >
SPECULATIONS by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 28, 1982

"Still, it's an agreeable, eclectic assemblage overall—with that tremendous, blistering Russ effort towering above the rest."
Like the editors' Who Done It? (1980), this sf collection gives no bylines for its 17 stories; instead readers are invited to deduce authorship (either on stylistic grounds or by using an easy code). Read full book review >
THE SCIENCE FICTION WEIGHT-LOSS BOOK by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 22, 1982

"Simply scrumptious—however familiar some items on the menu."
At first glance this might appear an implausible anthology idea—but the upshot is a deliciously varied and diverting set of 15 yarns, from H. G. Wells to the present, examining obesity in all its ghastly guises. Read full book review >
THE COMPLETE ROBOT by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 9, 1982

"But even if the overall quality here can't match that of its exemplar, I, Robot, there's quantity and variety enough to please Asimov fans and robot fanciers—who can now assure themselves that they've missed nothing."
Virtually an anthology of anthologies: all 31 of Asimov's robot yarns, 1939-76, only four of which—recent, YA-ish filler material—have not appeared in other collections. Read full book review >
LAUGHING SPACE by Isaac Asimov
Released: March 26, 1982

"Asimov has."
Sf funnies, Asimov style: a monster compendium of 51 cartoons, 18 poems, and 57 stories ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Read full book review >
Released: March 22, 1982

"All in all, then: a spotty collection that's inferior in most respects—including introductory material—to Hoch's own much more generous All But Impossible anthology (1981)."
Neither of the locked-room masters—John Dickson Carr and Clayton Rawson—is represented in this collection of twelve stories; for classics, the editors turn instead to three of the most over-familiar items imaginable (Poe's "Rue Morgue," Conan Doyle's "Speckled Band," and Futrelle's "Cell 13"). Read full book review >
X STANDS FOR UNKNOWN by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 10, 1982

"Mildly informative, rather complacent, altogether bland: an average outing overall."
Another collection of columns from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction: 17 pieces, 1982-83—in the usual amiable, faintly soporific Asimov mold. Read full book review >
COUNTING THE EONS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Jan. 1, 1982

"Mild introductory anecdotes, uncritical but pleasantly digestible explanations: a decided improvement over Asimov's last, ill-judged F & SF compendium, The Sun Shines Bright (1981)."
A further collection of essays (1980-81) from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction: 16 informative pieces (plus one Miltonian flight of fancy) which Asimov, in a genial and urbane preface, hopes will help counteract the anti-science and narrow-mindedness fostered by the Moral Majority and the Creationists. Read full book review >
CHANGE! by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 14, 1981

"It's all more restrained and reasonable in tone than some recent Asimov offerings; and though none of the news will be new to science buffs, novices will find it undemanding and variously eye-opening."
Some Asimov ephemera: 71 cozy, unexceptionable speculations, reprinted from American Way (the in-flight magazine of American Airlines), all brief and correspondingly shallow—though some are linked in series for slightly more effect. Read full book review >
THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 9, 1981

"A very mixed, often noisy bunch, with little appeal to any but ardent Asimov admirers."
An Asimov miscellany: 17 erratic pieces reprinted from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1979-80, on over-familiar topics ranging from astronomy and physics to medieval weaponry, biology, and human nature. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1981

"Both books contain the odd interesting item, but Solar Power has at best a skimpy utility and Volcanoes less."
These latest additions to Asimov's science-history series don't explain their scientific subjects with any flair or special care. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1981

"Both books contain the odd interesting item, but Solar Power has at best a skimpy utility and Volcanoes less."
These latest additions to Asimov's science-history series don't explain their scientific subjects with any flair or special care. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 8, 1981

"One misses the lighter British touch here, perhaps (and the one Michael Gilbert piece is disappointing), but mystery readers who like a light five-minute read just before bed (or between bus stops) will find this a solid source of mild mini-pleasures."
A generous collection of "short-shorts"—crime stories whose brevity (2000 words or less) is often their major attraction; most of the plot twists here are familiar, but there's no time for the belaboring or padding that afflict so many of the longer mystery-magazine stories. Read full book review >
ASIMOV ON SCIENCE FICTION by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 17, 1981

"But dutiful disciples of the Master will at least give it a once-over."
Believe it or not, this 55-piece collection of writings on sf is a first for the prolific, erratic, unself-critical Asimov. Read full book review >
VENUS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 13, 1981

"Mercury's surface) may surprise many readers, and start them wondering about the universe."
As he has done in Saturn . . . and Mars . . ., Asimov uses the description of a single astronomical object to relate much basic astronomy in a direct, easily understood manner. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: March 4, 1981

"But of enlightened entertainment there is none."
For whom can this book be written? Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1980

The historical approach that marks this Asimov series doesn't give much shape or substance to his introduction to Antarctica—at least if it's Antarctica you want to find out about. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 27, 1980

"Not for serious sf folk, and no substantial nutrition for anybody—but a serviceable enough bedside anthology for those who get a yen for just a taste of something silly or tricky before going to sleep."
One hundred miniature sf short stories, most of them too gimmicky to induce more than a shrug—but a few old pros do provide some mini-pleasure. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 25, 1980

"Asimov, ever admirable if exasperating, ends the book on the rebound, pounds lighter, and enthusiastic over projects to come—including (you guessed it) a fulfillment of the book's last line: 'To be continued.'"
The second volume of Asimov's blockbuster autobiography (begun with In Memory Yet Green, 1979) picks him up at age 34, teaching biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine and under fire as a sci-fi sensation, and leaves him, at 58, the Compleat Science Writer, dubbed by George Gaylord Simpson "a natural wonder and a natural resource." Read full book review >
HOW DO WE FIND OUT ABOUT OIL? by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 14, 1980

"Uninviting but useful for its large view."
Unlike most of the earlier books in this series, this is not so much about the acquisition of knowledge as about the increasing role of oil in human affairs. Read full book review >
HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT BLACK HOLES? by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Dec. 1, 1979

"More narrowly focused than Berger's Quasars, Pulsars, and Black Holes in Space (1977), this lacks the cosmic excitement of Branley's Black Holes, White Dwarfs, and Superstars (1976), but by the same token it's less of a trip for the unambitious reader."
In the latest of his chronological approaches to understanding science, Asimov spares us the observations of the ancients and begins in 1844 when "A German astronomer, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, discovered a star he couldn't see." Read full book review >
THE 13 CRIMES OF SCIENCE FICTION by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 16, 1979

"Some marvelous material, but a strained anthology."
Though a good deal better than Malzberg-and-Pronzini's Dark Sins, Dark Dreams (1978), this crime/sf anthology makes you wonder whether maybe the idea itself is jinxed. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 31, 1979

"An eminently well-designed collection."
An old-fashioned anthology of old-fashioned virtues: there's not much in the way of stylistic fireworks or conspicuously labeled profundity here, but rather a clear projection of the relationship between material and treatment that distinguishes the science-fiction form. Read full book review >
A CHOICE OF CATASTROPHES by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 1, 1979

"As ever, this is clearcut exposition, leading the reader expertly down paths of entropy or recombinant DNA; only the optimism seems strained, with too much belief in sweet reason, and insufficient evidence as to how it might prevail."
Taking a cue from "encounters," Asimov categorizes catastrophes leading to the destruction of human life into five classes. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 26, 1979

"Asimov is painstaking, clear, thorough (though it must be noted that at the end of a long discussion of everything imaginable about the aurora, he still hasn't gotten around to why it's visible) and as infectiously enthusiastic as a small child."
Let's see. . . if you took all the books written by Isaac Asimov and placed them end to end, the line would reach from Broadway and Fourteenth Street to the orbit of maybe Jupiter. . . . Read full book review >
THE ROAD TO INFINITY by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 14, 1979

"Still, it's worth the price for those fans who didn't see the pieces individually in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction-and there's the bonus of an index to all 238 Asimov essays which have appeared between those covers."
Asimov begins with a lovely lecture on logarithms, of all things, an enchanting bit about the obsolescence of the slide rule and the usefulness of exponential additions and subtractions to the growing needs of a calculating astronomy and physics. Read full book review >
Released: June 28, 1979

"False leads, true finds, theories rejected and resurrected, and an outright fraud (Piltdown Man) are all part of the story, which Asimov tells with matter-of-fact dispatch if not distinction. (Wool's drawings, however, give the book a cheap, dreary, textbookish look.)"
From belief in Adam and Eve and a 6,000-year-old universe, Asimov traces the discoveries that have helped us piece together the history of man's origins. Read full book review >
EXTRATERRESTRIAL CIVILIZATIONS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 1, 1979

"Asimovian optimism that's hard to resist."
About two-thirds through Asimov's bio-odyssey comes his thirteenth calculated figure: "The number of planets in our Galaxy on which a technological civilization is now in being equals 530,000." Read full book review >
OPUS 200 by Isaac Asimov
Released: March 1, 1979

"Given the Good Doctor's lifelong case of hyperactive typewriter, it's not surprising that a great deal of this stuff is awful; what is remarkable is how much of it is excellent."
No cookbooks, as yet—but among Asimov's first 199 works there's one of almost every other conceivable kind, an achievement celebrated in this cheerful rag-bag of Asimoviana. Read full book review >
SATURN AND BEYOND by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 13, 1979

"Just as irregularities in Uranus' orbit predicted Neptune before it was discovered, later observations of the same orbit indicate another, larger planet on beyond Pluto."
As usual in his science books, whatever the series, Asimov tells us not only what is known about his subject but also "how we found out"—and how the different measurements are calculated. Read full book review >
CASEBOOK OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS by Isaac Asimov
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Jan. 4, 1979

"So these are stories for a very limited audience—those with a taste for miniature game-playing, eager (but not genuinely erudite) dinner conversation, and Asimov's incorrigible verbal playfulness."
The third collection of Asimov's "Black Widowers" stories from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine—each tale consisting of 90% talk as the yakky Widowers discuss a crime puzzle over their fancy club dinners; as Asimov admits, "the mysteries, as mysteries, can be described, discussed, and solved in about a quarter of the space I devote to each." Read full book review >
LIFE AND TIME by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 17, 1978

Read a collection of Asimov essays (these mostly culled from magazines as varied as Penthouse and Popular Mechanics) and you can count on finding a statistical gem. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1978

"Readers will come away from Fodor's Earth in Motion (p. 638, J-154), about plate tectonics, with a better understanding of earthquakes than they get here; for a fuller all-around discussion of the subject, see Lauber's Earthquakes (1972)."
As in his other How Did We Find Out books, Asimov begins with the beliefs of primitives and ancients; later come summaries of other theories that "didn't work out" either, plus a synopsis of landmarks in the development and application of the seismograph. Read full book review >
ANIMALS OF THE BIBLE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 8, 1978

"An attractive incidental, which does not overlap with Dorothy Lathrop's retelling of the stories in her Animals of the Bible."
Forty-three animals that "are (or might be) mentioned" in the Bible are pictured in Berelson's decorative cinnamon-colored drawings and described by Asimov in a short paragraph each. Read full book review >
ANIMALS OF THE BIBLE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 8, 1978

"An attractive incidental, which does not overlap with Dorothy Lathrop's retelling of the stories in her Animals of the Bible."
Forty-three animals that "are (or might be) mentioned" in the Bible are pictured in Berelson's decorative cinnamon-colored drawings and described by Asimov in a short paragraph each. Read full book review >
QUASAR, QUASAR, BURNING BRIGHT by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 7, 1978

"Leave it to Asimov to supply such figures, along with familiar comparisons and ingenious analogies, which together make the revelations of science wondrous and never tedious."
Another Asimov Anthology, this one of pieces that appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 1978

"At half the length and with half the schmaltz, this 200th Asimov title would have been distinctly more memorable."
What happens when an overachiever with almost perfect recall is let loose on autobiography? Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 23, 1978

"Brisk—if you feel that the Apple flavoring warrants the new line."
. . . or All Around the Town with Encyclopedia Brown. Read full book review >
MARS, THE RED PLANET by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 26, 1977

"Superior."
Like Jupiter (1973) and Alpha Centauri (1976) this presents information about Mars, and how Mars was used as a reference in plotting the solar system, in a solid astronomical context. Read full book review >
THE BEGINNING AND THE END by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 14, 1977

"Aside from the general information content the book might show would-be writers how a pro popularizes science for a wide market."
Another Asimov Anthology—in case you missed those articles in Playboy, TV Guide, or your favorite in-flight airline magazine. Read full book review >
THE HUGO WINNERS by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1977

"The collection is a must, but not always a monument to the merits of all concerned."
Winners in the short-story, novella, and novelette categories from 1971 through 1975. Read full book review >
HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT OUTER SPACE? by Isaac Asimov
Released: June 15, 1977

"An often sketched chronology, painlessly retraced."
Space flight, not what's out there, is the subject of Asimov's latest historically ordered explanation, which begins with the story of Daedalus and proceeds rapidly to the Montgolfiers (who, noting that hot air rose, built the first balloons) and the Wrights (who first put a powered motor on a glider). Read full book review >
THE COLLAPSING UNIVERSE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 1, 1977

"Certainly this is a good exemplification, exuberant and really quite exciting as it demystifies those longish all-too-often incomprehensible newspaper accounts."
High marks for Asimov as he leads us down the astronomical garden path from particles and forces to black holes—the ultimate be-all or end-all of a collapsing (but maybe not) universe. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 10, 1977

"A pretty well-designed collection for reference or desultory browsing, not for consecutive reading."
A hundred shiny little items with all the variety and dimension of a miniature automobile collection salvaged from the breakfast cereal. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 8, 1976

"4 years at the speed of light and 7,400 years at ten times the speed of our current, fastest rockets, it will be a while before even Asimov can come up with a Land and Peoples of Alpha Centauri."
Asimov gives so patient and detailed a survey of the mapping of the heavens, the naming of stars, and (especially) the different ways of measuring their distance, size, and luminosity that Alpha Centauri becomes less the subject than a focusing point for a general astronomy lesson on the order of his younger "How Did We Find Out. . ." series. Read full book review >
MORE TALES OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1976

"Asimov can hardly be said to have mastered this elegant puzzle-in-a-bottle form, but he obviously loves it."
Twelve more stories (see Tales of the Black Widowers, 1974) in what Asimov likes to consider his Chestertonian vein—the misplaced heirlooms, baffling safe combinations, and conditions of eccentric bequests chewed over at the monthly banquets of the Black Widowers club and invariably, imperturbably solved by ex officio member Henry the waiter. Read full book review >
Released: May 7, 1976

"Only for the most incurable Asimov addicts."
Asimov at his thinnest, which is pretty thin. Read full book review >
TO THE ENDS OF THE UNIVERSE by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 30, 1976

An updated edition of Asimov's nine-year-old introduction which spans "about 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles" from earth and the planets outward to exploding galaxies and quasars. Read full book review >
ASIMOV ON PHYSICS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 1, 1976

"But after all the man doesn't pretend to write anything but mass-produced popular science—and he can't be beat at it."
Of making many books there is no end, saith the Preacher, and he never even met Isaac Asimov. Read full book review >
FAMILIAR POEMS, ANNOTATED by Isaac Asimov
Released: Jan. 7, 1976

Well, there can't be too many worlds left for the old pansophist to conquer, short of Great Recipes from Isaac Asimov—and maybe it's a tactical error to mention that. Read full book review >
THE HEAVENLY HOST by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 25, 1975

"As little Wheel finally demonstrates his understanding to Jonathan's elders by staging a display of Christmas lights, this slight tale functions best as a sort of sci-fi greeting card."
"The little Wheel sparkled with rapid white flashes and there was the sound of laughter in Jonathan's head." Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 24, 1975

"Electricity (1973), this is an area where a clear, non-mathematical explanation should pay its way."
Beginning with a not very rigorous definition of work, Asimov goes on to discuss kinetic and potential energy and is at his best when retracing the reasoning of scientists like Count Rumford, who figured out the relationship between heat and energy while wondering why cannon-boring made the metals so hot; Julius Mayer who posited the conservation of energy; and Joule and Helmholtz who figured out how to demonstrate the theory experimentally. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 13, 1975

"An interesting subject worked out with smooth efficiency, if not the ultimate Asimovian energy."
BUY JUPITER AND OTHER STORIES by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 5, 1975

"Rain, Rain, Go Away' (a what's-with-the-family-next-door variant) click; most of the other 22 are pretty thin."
We are apparently destined to see the entire Asimov oeuvre recycled between hard covers in our lifetime. Read full book review >
SCIENCE PAST SCIENCE FUTURE by Isaac Asimov
Released: July 11, 1975

"By publication date, who knows?"
Asimov, who may be Renaissance Man or half the Sperry UNIVAC catalogue in drag, processes data with the joyous abandon of a goat processing tin cans. Read full book review >
Released: May 28, 1975

"Not as solid or involving as How Did We Find Out the Earth Is Round (KR, 1973), but a steady progression of discoveries that readers will have no trouble catching by the tail."
Again Asimov takes readers through the thought processes of the ancients (here seen puzzling out the unpredictable behavior of the "aster kometes" or "hairy star" that seems to bring earthly disaster in its wake) and traces the collective process of "finding out" about comets from Aristotelian misconception through instrument-aided observation. Read full book review >
Released: April 25, 1975

"And the unfussy outline of presidential policies and the solidification of our two-party tradition (which clarifies the importance of one-issue parties like the Anti-Masons) makes this a useful overview and a good point of departure for more specialized studies."
Electoral politics and the military events of the Civil War are the main threads of Asimov's narrative and he moves briskly through a tortuously complex era. Read full book review >
OF MATTERS GREAT AND SMALL by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 11, 1975

"Ingratiating and mind-stretching when not boggling."
This collection of essays from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction finds the eight-armed, four-typewritered Asimov venturing into the remotest crevices of light in the observable Universe and revealing that its diameter is 25,000 million light-years and will remain so until we invent an instrument that measures speeds faster than light. Read full book review >
ASIMOV ON CHEMISTRY by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 22, 1974

"There are also fascinating tidbits on both the great and the obscure researchers, in addition to better explanations of phenomena such as 'catalysts,' than can be found in most standard chemistry texts."
A recycling of Asimov's articles on chemistry originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 18, 1974

"Well, if there's nothing but straws to dutch we night as well grab them, and Asimov's argument is worth trying on those cerebrally-oriented kids who are most easily convinced by figures and reason."
Asimov's approach to population education is to lead readers step by painstaking step through a series of demographic figures showing world population in toro and per square kilometer. . . comparative density and present and projected growth rates in different parts of the world. . .how man has multiplied since the time of pre-human hominids and how long it will take to reach various estimated maximums. . .how "jumps" in available energy lead to population explosions and how we will soon use up our fossil fuels, landing a newly nonindustrial world with a population it can't support. . .finally, how "we simply will not avoid disaster within a few decades if population keeps going up and up." Read full book review >
THE BEST OF ISAAC ASIMOV by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 27, 1974

"Asimov at his best is as good as they come."
Twelve stories by one of SF's masters, starting with a 1939 saga of a cleverly engineered escape from a wrecked spaceship running out of air in the asteroid belt and ending with a 1972 detective story in which an expert on robot psychology deduces which of two mechanical servants is telling the truth. Read full book review >
TALES OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: June 14, 1974

"As insubstantial as cotton candy and as sweet."
These appealing five-finger exercises all involve meetings of a misogynistic secret society, the Black Widowers, who foregather monthly at a restaurant to eat good food and to quiz a single nonmember guest on his profession, interests and vagaries. Read full book review >
Released: April 26, 1974

A layman's access to Milton's rich epic — drawing from the Bible, Greek and Latin literature (the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid), etc. Read full book review >
BEFORE THE GOLDEN AGE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 19, 1974

"Asimov's autobiographical introductory notes communicate a pleasure in these extravagant tales that only the most churlish fan could wholly fail to share."
The period that SF devotees call golden began in 1938 when John Campbell took over as editor of Astounding and technological precision became a feature of the field. Read full book review >
Released: April 8, 1974

"Marginal."
The latest in Asimov's lightweight science history series covers the well-worn path from Leeuwenhoek's observations with his primitive lenses to the discovery of the tobacco mosaic virus. Read full book review >
Released: March 27, 1974

"Asimov parallels but only incidentally supplements the material found in most high school level American history texts, though his clear and orderly recapitulation will make this a handy alternative to the standard required reading."
Chronologically and methodologically this carries on the narrative begun in The Shaping of North America (KR, 1973) by condensing into one volume the political and military highlights of the Revolution, the Constitution, the war in the west, the Federalist-Anti-Federalist struggles, foreign policy and other problems of the new nation. Read full book review >
NEBULA AWARD STORIES EIGHT by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 14, 1973

"First-rate."
The latest Nebula Award collection deserves an award itself. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 18, 1973

"The pages on dinosaurs themselves, after the usual mention of Mary Anning who found the first ichthyosaur and plesiosaur remains, is simply a rundown on the size, names, build and eating habits of a few of the better known species — and as such surely superfluous."
This is the fourth volume in Asimov's "How Did We Find Out. . ." series which aims at reader participation in the process of discovery, but there is nothing in his lackluster survey of fossil finds and dinosaur features to stimulate any kind of mental activity. Read full book review >
PLEASE EXPLAIN by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 10, 1973

One-page answers to 100 questions as diverse as "What is the solar wind" and "What is the speed of thought," but many of them — such as "What is a quark. . . or a black hole. . . or a pulsar" already answered in the author's Words of Science and More Words of Science. Read full book review >
Released: June 7, 1973

"118), to rediscover with the ancients."
Numerals, not numbers, are the subject of this survey of how man gradually developed handier words and symbols to express "how many." Read full book review >
TODAY AND TOMORROW AND. . . . by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 13, 1973

"Well prepared in the author's serendipitous style, this volume reads easily and is entertaining, appealing to readers interested in the natural world and the interactions of science and society."
Is the duckbilled platypus your thing? Read full book review >
JUPITER, THE LARGEST PLANET by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 11, 1973

"There is much raw data here for student reports, and for more serious readers a solid astronomical context as well."
A comprehensive report on the largest planet (and "the largest true planet possible"), including considerable background on the history, methods and findings of solar system astronomy and copious comparative tables on the size, orbits, position, etc. of all the planets. Read full book review >
THE SHAPING OF NORTH AMERICA by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 28, 1973

Isaac Asimov once again demonstrates his breathtaking capacity for cramming in more facts per page than any of the competition. Read full book review >
THE SHAPING OF FRANCE by Isaac Asimov
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 25, 1972

"As such pre-processed histories go, this is a competent enough job, but we doubt that many youngsters will go the whole route from cover to cover."
Another of Asimov's grand historical overviews, this is a fluent synthesis of the political, social and intellectual mainstreams from the accession of the first Capetian to the end of the Hundred Years' War. Read full book review >
THE EARLY ASIMOV by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 15, 1972

"It's a nostalgic journey through the pulps of the '40's with all Asimov's themes from positronic robots to mathematical psychology to galactic empire putting in an appearance, laced with fond reminiscences of editor John Campbell who presided over SF's golden age and with exhaustive reports on each story clown to the last penny it brought in the marketplace."
The title is only half the story. Read full book review >
ABC'S OF ECOLOGY by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 5, 1972

"The book is printed on recycled paper and we can assume too that it's compiled from scraps of recycled data out of Dr. A's copious files."
This is the fourth of Asimov's ABC books and like the others it suffers from the inaptness of the concept itself. Read full book review >
THE STORY OF RUTH by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 1, 1972

"Indeed, everything is spelled out in so much detail that the flow of the narrative is lost; this is not, then, a way of meeting the virtues of Ruth for the first time, but a teaching tool which answers all possible questions after the fact."
Isaac Asimov presents the story of Ruth as a plea for brotherhood, written originally as a dissent from Ezra's prohibition of mixed marriages (it contends that King David himself was descended from a non Jew). Read full book review >
THE GODS THEMSELVES by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: May 5, 1972

"Asimov's following will enjoy the innovative clutter of math, physics, and those oozy para-Universe 'Soft Ones,' but articulated speculations proceed at a long, slow crawl."
Asimov's first full-length science fiction novel in 15 years features an impossible glut of protons, called "Plutonium-186," starter for a two-way energy-flow project between Earth and a parallel universe. Read full book review >
MORE WORDS OF SCIENCE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 26, 1972

"The mix makes no sense at all but you'll upset your circadian rhythm and cut into your rem sleep turning just one more page and then another to the final zinjanthropus and zpg."
Partly to keep up with the vocabulary explosion that has occurred since Asimov's Words of Science (1959), a sequel with the same alphabetical arrangement and rather discursive style, with no more reference or basic educational value than its predecessor but the same irresistible browsability. Read full book review >
Released: March 10, 1972

"About 200 are new; others are extensively updated; all are accessible."
Asimov's revision of the 1964 edition now offers 1195 biographies of "great scientists from ancient times to the present." Read full book review >
ABC's OF THE EARTH by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 22, 1971

"Considering that children old enough for the contents don't want an ABC, it's hard to imagine any point to this wholly gratuitous earth catalog."
Another ill-conceived anomaly by the makers of ABC's of Space (1969) and ABC's of the Ocean (1970). Read full book review >
THE LAND OF CANNAN by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 26, 1971

"But for exciting readable history Asimov must limit his scope and adjust his focus."
Intermittently interesting, chiefly in its accounts of familiar heroes (Saul against the Philistines, King David, Alexander the Great and that very late Canaanite, Hannibal) and its refreshingly provocative treatment of the Bible as legend and history and of the early influences on Christianity, The Land Of Canaan is burdened (like the author's Constantinople, 1970) with a time span of almost twenty centuries, a plethora of military details surrounding government overthrows (with only infrequent hints of socioeconomic and cultural conditions), and a distressing lack of topical development. Read full book review >
ISAAC ASIMOV'S TREASURY OF HUMOR by Isaac Asimov
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 9, 1971

"Isactly."
Unplugged Isaac's at the typewriter again, this time playing for laughs, guffaws, cackles, squeals, wheezes, whatever he can get. Read full book review >
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 16, 1971

"Please."
ABC'S OF THE OCEAN by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 26, 1970

"A peripheral book of definitions and descriptions, attractively put together and well illustrated."
The ABC's are for Aquanaut, Buoy, and Continental Shelf, or if you prefer lower case letters, for aquaculture, bore, and current. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 19, 1970

"Table of dates and genealogies appended."
Forgotten, believes Dr. Asimov, in the sense of being slighted, even slandered, by Western historians — but this conscientious recapitulation of Byzantine history is defeated by an excess of detail, a want of emphasis and topical development: ultimately, one remembers not what the Empire stood for but the difficulty of keeping it standing. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 16, 1970

"Two Gentlemen from Verona)—the top of the head."
What on earth is Isaac Asimov—teller of outer-stellar tales, popular science explicator, etc.—doing with Shakespeare? Read full book review >
THE STARS IN THEIR COURSES by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 12, 1970

"Sure it does."
This non-technical, misnamed study is not about the movement and make-up of the stars. Read full book review >
TWENTIETH CENTURY DISCOVERY by Isaac Asimov
Released: June 6, 1969

"The scientist or serious student might quail at Asimov's simplifications through the decades and centuries; nonetheless for the uninitiate or those who like their science neat if not necessarily complete, this is very-easy-readable summary."
More pleasant post-prandial coffee-talk from the lecture notes of everyman's Professor of Popular Science. Read full book review >
THE DARK AGES by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 30, 1968

"No other juvenile compares in scope and depth, and few adult books synthesize so simply and clearly."
Not the entire Middle Ages but those justly called dark and what came before, from the first southward barbarian drift to the nadir of disintegration between 900 and 950 — a stunning consolidation of obscure strands that is lit by humanistic and scholarly perspective. Read full book review >
SCIENCE, NUMBERS, AND I by Isaac Asimov
Released: May 10, 1968

"More of the same from Asimov's busy grotto."
The assiduous Mr. Asimov, in addition to his science fiction chillies, juveniles, and popular science books, admits to live count 'em five other books of science essays previously featured in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and this latest again contains a beaker full of science tidbits, restating of present controversies, flights of fancy, autobiographical anecdotes, and numerical parlor games. Read full book review >
TO THE ENDS OF THE UNIVERSE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 15, 1967

"The junior high audience will find a wealth of information effectively presented."
This fascinating and complete account of the nature of the universe from thee earth and solar systems to distant quasars could be one of the better Asimov books for the juvenile audience. Read full book review >
THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Isaac Asimov
Released: March 1, 1967

"Despite its positive points, most youngsters will find this unrewardingly tedious and would be better served by a more selective approach."
The Table of Contents, a tabulation of ruling lines and rulers, is the tip-off: like its predecessor, The Roman Republic (1966, 515, J-175), this is detailed political history, reign by reign, in this case, with occasional sorties into literature, philosophy and science. Read full book review >
TOMORROW'S CHILDREN by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 21, 1966

"The Go-Go generation will stop long enough to read this one."
Today's young adults should certainly respond to Tomorrow's Children. Read full book review >
FANTASTIC VOYAGE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: March 21, 1966

"Asimov is a shot in the arm."
Take five people, put them in a submarine and shrink the whole kit and caboodle to the approximate size of a molecule. Read full book review >
THE REST OF THE ROBOTS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 20, 1964

"Fascinating- a must for collectors."
Isaac Asimov might sniff (albeit approvingly) at the robots on display at World's Fair, but who could have a better right than the father of the new breed of science fiction robots: the man who developed the science of Robotics with its famous free laws. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 20, 1964

Reference-reading book which gives short biographical sketches of some 000 scientists from the earliest times to the present, evaluates their contributions, and also relates their work to the development of the various sciences all over the world. Read full book review >
ADDING A DIMENSION by Isaac Asimov
Released: June 5, 1964

"The last essay, an attempt to list the ten greatest scientists of all time, poses a challenging problem to which the author ought to devote a whole book."
Another group of Asimov essays on scientific subjects gathered this time from the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Read full book review >
QUICK AND EASY MATH by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 1, 1964

"School, Young Adult, and popular math collections should find this a reasonably readable addition to their shelves."
The prolific author of science fiction and scientific nonfiction for the lay and young reader, biochemist Isaac Asimov goes outside his special field here. Read full book review >
A SHORT HISTORY OF BIOLOGY by Isaac Asimov
Released: March 13, 1964

"A good, authoritative, easy-to-read tool for junior and senior high school collections and for anyone wanting a quick introductory survey."
One can hardly believe that the history of biology can be encompassed in brief chapters, and indeed this is a once over lightly performance...but by an expert. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 19, 1963

"The approach, while original, has the overall effect of bits and pieces, rather than an integrated whole."
It was Benjamin Franklin's kite, to be sure. Read full book review >
VIEW FROM A HEIGHT by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 6, 1963

"These are excellent examples of the modern scientific essay which very few writers today can equal in style, form, and content."
Seventeen crackerjack essays again give witness to the clarity and pleasure with which Asimov writes on favorite topics in biology, physics, chemistry, and astronomy for the reader with a modicum of knowledge and interest in science subjects. Read full book review >
I, ROBOT by Isaac Asimov
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 16, 1963

A new edition of the by now classic collection of affiliated stories which has already established its deserved longevity. Read full book review >
THE HUMAN BODY by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 28, 1963

"For those hypochondriacal theme writers who always pick some anatomical obscurity, Asimov goes from impacted wisdom teeth to ingrown toenails."
Limb by limb, organ by organ, occasionally cell by cell, Asimov describes man in terms of his chemical and structural nature. Read full book review >
WORDS FROM THE EXODUS by Isaac Asimov
RELIGION
Released: Feb. 25, 1963

"Asimov unerringly plucks out the odd, the difficult, the 'lost-in-translation' words and makes the discovery of their meaning as exciting as the events they are used to describe."
It is hard to imagine this book being used by itself but it makes a perfect companion volume for the young reader attempting the Bible on his own. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 9, 1963

"Certainly necessary for any library having the previous volume, and vital to any collection with even a minor interest in human biology."
The incomparable Asimov again! Read full book review >
THE SEARCH FOR THE ELEMENTS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 12, 1962

"Carrying the story through modern times, as the atom is split and man made elements created, Dr. Asimov recaptures the drama of science as well as specific contributions in the field of chemistry."
Isaac Asimov's inquiry into the age-old research for the components of the Universe is a worthy addition to the distinguished titles in the Science and Discovery series. Read full book review >
THE HUGO WINNERS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 7, 1962

"Novelettes and short stories in a good combination."
This collects nine of the winners of the SF awards, from 1939 to 1961, and, with Asimov's introduction to the volume and notes for the writers and their inclusions, is an easy-to-take entertainment. Read full book review >
THE HUMAN BODY by Isaac Asimov
Released: Feb. 28, 1962

"This is his ninth book on biological subjects; he also writes on mathematics and philology."
"In writing a book about the human body there is the great advantage that all the readers know what a human body is." Read full book review >
WORDS FROM THE MYTHS by Isaac Asimov
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Feb. 27, 1961

"This is a generally enlivening approach to mythology."
Isaac Asimov has organized a large portion of Greek mythology around a specific theme, the effect of mythological words and phrases on our language. Read full book review >
THE DOUBLE PLANET by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 30, 1960

"With the Soviet achievement in photographing the other side of the Moon, this sort of information is vital to every inquiring mind."
There is probably no writer today who is so successful in translating scientific facts and terms into language the average reader, with even a dim interest in the subject, can read. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 1960

"Special appendix on Mathematics in Science."
A brilliantly successful and heroic effort to present to the educated layman all the major developments and trends in modern science in understandable terms. Read full book review >
BREAKTHROUGHS IN SCIENCE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 1, 1960

"Embracing every area of science, this is a readable text which should interest even the most reluctant student, and is therefore recommended to school libraries."
In the lucid and information packed style that has rendered the author outstanding in the juvenile science field, Isaac Asimov describes twenty-six men and the moments at which they reversed the course of scientific thought. Read full book review >
THE WELLSPRINGS OF LIFE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 27, 1960

"An important book for all libraries having the slightest interest in providing the best in scientific explanation to the general reader—adult or teen age."
This is an up to date survey touching on every aspect of science's attack upon the question, "What is Life?" Read full book review >
THE KINGDOM OF THE SUN by Isaac Asimov
Released: May 16, 1960

"An exciting exploration into astronomy which answers many vital questions and encourages a further investigation of astronomical subjects."
The solar system has long been a subject of primary fascination both for poets and scientists. Read full book review >
REALM OF NUMBERS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 22, 1959

"Diagramatic illustrations by Robert Belmore support this text which for the intellectually curious student, long baffled by the apparent dogmatism of arithmetic by rote, should prove an inviting welcome into the realm of mathematical investigation."
Once more Isaac Asimov takes the venom out of abstract study, presenting the theory of numbers on which mathematics are based in a lucid and entertaining manner. Read full book review >
THE LIVING RIVER by Isaac Asimov
Released: Sept. 1, 1959

"A book which gives much insight into the physical nature of the body and to the prospects of science in dealing with it therapeutically."
The paramount importance of the blood is vividly illustrated in the terse text by Isaac Asimov, prolific writer of books for the layman on scientific subjects. Read full book review >
WORDS OF SCIENCE by Isaac Asimov
Released: Aug. 25, 1959

"An imperative book for the student of science and one written with such clarity that any reader possessed of intellectual curiosity or love of language will enjoy turning- and returning- to its pages."
An excellent encyclopedia of scientific terms, the articles in this alphabetically arranged text are written with that same verve, lucidity, and concentration of knowledge which characterize Isaac Asimov's other books. Read full book review >
THE CLOCK WE LIVE ON by Isaac Asimov
Released: April 21, 1959

"A meaningful analysis, marked by erudition and lucidity."
The enormously complicated subject of "time" which extends itself into the natural and philosophical sciences is explored and to a large extent made coherent by author-scientist Isaac Asimov. Read full book review >
THE WORLD OF NITROGEN by Isaac Asimov
Released: Nov. 15, 1958

"Vividly written, this is a book which demands and deserves the active participation of the reader, a participation which will be rewarded by a solid sense of understanding of our life and death processes, and of preventative and curative medicine."
Following solidly in the tracks of his previous book, The World of Carbon Dr. Asimov, Professor of biochemistry and science-fiction novelist comes to grips in The World of Nitrogen with a vital and intensely interesting aspect of organic life. Read full book review >
ONLY A TRILLION by Isaac Asimov
Released: Oct. 5, 1957

"Answer- about a trillion) More than one conundrum- for connoisseurs."
A chemical holiday— and only professionals should go along. Read full book review >
EARTH IS ROOM ENOUGH by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 3, 1957

"Persuasive."
17 selections (mostly short stories, some poems) by a hand well practiced in the art of science prestidigitation. Read full book review >
BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE UNIVERSE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: May 10, 1957

"Though the book suggests nothing of method and gives its facts away free, without payment exacted by lab work, it makes a definitely satisfying review and may serve as a stimulus to students who are having a hard time with their class work."
The Chemicals of Life and Inside the Atom were Mr. Asimov's first ventures into non-fiction for the teen ages after his firm establishment as an s-f writer. Read full book review >
INSIDE THE ATOM by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: May 11, 1956

"Plenty to chew on here, all very well explained by a man whose business is science."
To add to the many recent surveys of atoms and their function (see Atoms Today and Tomorrow by Margaret Hyde, The Tenth Wonder by Carleton Pearl, etc.) this is another efficient study which, with Asimov's name, should have its drawing power. Read full book review >
THE NAKED SUN by Isaac Asimov
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Jan. 24, 1956

"As in Caves of Steel (1954), purposeful projection."
A murder on Solaria returns Elijah Baley, human, and R. Daneel Olivaw, robot, to partnership in crime hunting. Read full book review >
THE END OF ETERNITY by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 25, 1955

"Combinations and permutations by the dozen."
Time theories set the story of Technician Harlan's journeys upwhen and down-when until he meets Noys Lambent who cracks his observer's objectivity. Read full book review >
THE MARTIAN WAY AND OTHER STORIES by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: June 1, 1955

"Snappy."
Four stories by an SF specialist should be welcomed by the space-hardened for they develop the colonizing of new worlds, the possibility of friendliness between alien cultures and the coexistence of unfamiliar peoples. Read full book review >
THE CHEMICALS OF LIFE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 1, 1954

"The audience interested in the subject- and their number is growing wants it that way."
This is a sound introduction to bio-chemistry, that infant science that is making a revolution in our understanding of how our bodies function. Read full book review >
SECOND FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: June 25, 1953

"The blue yonder, and not so wild."
Foundation (1951) and Foundation and Empire (1952) are the predecessors of this tale of galaxy security based on conflicting searches for the Second Foundation, established and hidden by the master psycho-historian, Hari Seldon. Read full book review >
THE CURRENTS OF SPACE by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Dec. 29, 1952

"Way off in the wild blue yonder — for the faithful."
An earthman's mind is turned off and its slow return, on the planet Florinda, sets in motion the activities of Townman Myrlyn Terens, the espionage systems of Sark and Trantor, and the conclaves of the Squires. Read full book review >
FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 30, 1951

"The story of this colony's survival and eventual command of the broken empire sustains the narrative which is- this time-better science than fiction."
First of a three-book series covering the world of remote tomorrows, the effectiveness of this first volume is curtailed by its attempt to cover more than a century in time with its many generations of characters. Read full book review >
THE STARS, LIKE DUST by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 1, 1951

"Top writing, with a welcome interpersion of humor often rare in the field."
The U.S. Constitution whoofs across a thousand years of time and a million light years of space to bring peace and freedom to the Kingdom of the Horsehead Nebula and prove itself the Universe's strongest weapon. Read full book review >
PEBBLE IN THE SKY by Isaac Asimov
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 1, 1950

"A science fiction which reflects current bias and prejudice, this has all the up to date trimmings."
A preview of the pattern in the Gallactian era — when Earthmen — and their planet are despised and untouchable. Read full book review >

"Fair warning is given in the last chapter as to possible roads to destruction but the way to human betterment through understanding and our still infinitesimal knowledge of genetics, is equally clear."
An excellent definition of race and its various connotations and meanings this should be read by every teen ager, with a general science Freshman High School grounding, especially those whose thinking in this direction is confused or uncertain. Read full book review >
PLANETS FOR MAN by Stephen Dole
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

"A specialized book in astronomy."
Characterized as a book on "planetology," this volume is based on a research study by Stephen Dole done for the RAND corporation and is an admirably thorough analysis — and a technical one — of all the physically significant environmental characteristics necessary to sustain life as we know it on planete other than earth. Read full book review >