THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF ISAAC ASIMOV by Isaac Asimov

THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF ISAAC ASIMOV

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twenty-eight tales, 1951-80, chosen by Asimov himself; excluded are the robot yarns (The Complete Robot, 1982), and "Nightfall," his best-known story. But there's still no shortage of famous entries. In "The Dead Past," the invention of a time-scanner brings an end to personal privacy. "The Feeling of Power" describes an era of computers when people rediscover how to calculate using only paper and pencil. Supercomputer Multivac extrapolates the opinions of a single voter into the election results for the entire country ("Franchise"), and determines that dirty jokes have an extraterrestrial origin ("Jokester"). "Obituary" features a perfect murder, carried out at the insistence of the time-traveling victim. In the fine, touching "The Ugly Little Boy," unfeeling scientists experimenting with a time machine bring a Neanderthal boy into the present, only to abandon him when his presence is no longer convenient. And the somewhat less famous pieces range from horrible puns, limericks and longer jokes to meddling aliens, Jewish ancestors, dreams-as-entertainment, non-organic life-forms, matter transmitters, more Multivac, computerized schoolmarms, and Shakespeare. Some of the selections here have been anthologized dozens of times. All are more or less familiar and have appeared in various editions and guises over the years. Still, Asimovophiles will probably relish the cozy geniality of it all, and some curious browsers may be attracted too.
Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1986
ISBN: 0451151968
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1986




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