While acknowledging Asimov's scorn for academic criticism, Patrouch has nevertheless flung himself into a chronological study of Asimov's fiction. One senses a desire to elevate SF to the level of ""serious"" literature and thereby to make literary criticism more ""relevant."" But by attempting both, he achieves neither. Niggling stylistic analyses of Asimov's pulp writing sound like corrections of freshman compositions; while his more interesting thematic excursions (the supremacy of reason, machines are good, etc.) yield few new insights. Sections devoted to the robot series, the foundation series, and the major novels are balanced by equally detailed accounts of minor works. Still, Patrouch occasionally has some interesting flashes; and his conclusion -- that Asimov has avoided themes that are important to him -- is especially telling. Asimov addicts will appreciate the abundant excerpts from his personal correspondence with the author, although someone might like to expedite Patrouch into an alternate world peopled by aliens who dislike pedants.