Jun 252007

Forward the Foundation book cover

I’ve read quite a few reviews of this novel and many people are disappointed because it does not tie up the questions left unanswered at the end of Foundation and Earth. Much of this disappointment comes from the fact that Forward the Foundation is the last book in the series written by Asimov just before his death. I think that the disappointed fans were looking for answers in the wrong places. This novel simply gives us a closer look at Hari Seldon and the progress of the psychohistory project at Streeling University. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jun 152007

Prelude to Foundation book cover

Roughly twelve thousand years have passed since the founding of the Galactic Empire. Almost the whole galaxy has been explored and populated accounting for 25 million inhabited worlds, most of which have at least 1 billion people each. Trantor is the ruling world of the Galactic Empire. It is covered completely with domed cities that go far under ground except for just 250 square kilometers which made up the Imperial palace grounds. Hari Seldon, a mathematician from Helicon, has traveled Trantor to give a presentation on his new theory called psychohistory. While psychohistory could ‘theoretically’ help predict future events, Hari is interested in it only as a theory and feels that it could never become practical. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jun 052007

Pebble in the Sky book cover

The book opens up in 1949 on the day of a mysterious accident at Chicago’s Institute of Nuclear Research. Joseph Schwartz, while walking around on the other side of Chicago is somehow caught in an expanding beam of energy that transports him into an unfamiliar place. Actually, he has not traveled to another place but another time. Earth’s land is largely covered in radioactive soil, so that it can only support 20 million people. The result of this is the common practice of terminating anyone that cannot work or when they reach the age of sixty as a form of strict population control. Most people don’t resent this practice but rather look at as a way for making room for the young. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
May 202007

The Currents of Space book cover

It is obvious after the first few chapters that this novel is on a whole different level than “The Stars, Like Dust.” There are more characters, deeper development, and various plot lines are explained through flashbacks. It seemed like Asimov spent a lot more time on this book than the last one. It is just a tad bit longer at 230 pages in my paperback copy, but quite bit more happens. There is still the medieval feel with Sark ruling Florinia and the various class struggles that go with that. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
May 102007

The Stars, Like Dust book cover

Timeline discussion:
Here are a couple quotes — “Atomic warfare had done its worst to Earth. Most of it was hopelessly radioactive and useless.” and “The radioactivity of the soil was a vast sea of iridescent blue, sparkling in strange festoons that spelled out the manner in which the nuclear bombs had once landed, a full generation before the force-field defense against nuclear explosions had been developed, so that no other world could commit suicide in just that fashion again.” — The Stars, Like Dust Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Apr 202007

Utopia book cover

About five years has passed since the New Law robots were put to work at Purgatory to assist with the terraforming effort for Inferno. Alvar Kresh won the election for governor and ended up choosing a dual terraforming system combining a positronics with a super computer. In an unexpected turn, Kresh ended up marrying Fredda Leving. Initially I thought that they made a rather odd couple, but I think Allen did a good job of handling their relationship throughout this book. The main plot Utopia revolves around a plan by a scientist to harness a comet and blow it apart to dig a huge channel from the southern ocean to the frozen northern ice cap which would otherwise be impossible by conventional means. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Mar 152007

Inferno book cover

    The New Laws of Robotics

  1. A robot may not injure a human being.
  2. A robot must cooperate with human beings except where such cooperation would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First Law.
  4. A robot may do as it likes, except where such action would violate the First, Second, or Third Laws.

About a year has passed since Caliban was exonerated. The Limbo project is currently using the New Law robots developed by Freda Leving in the hopes of fixing the terraforming problem. Although these robots are equipped with range restrictors to limit them to the island, an illicit smuggling trade has developed which smuggles robots out of Purgatory and helps remove the supposedly infallible restrictors. This criminal enterprise has caused much strain between Spacers and Settlers. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Feb 102007

Caliban book cover

I was glad to break into a new series after reading sixteen books with Derec and Ariel as main characters. Roger MacBride Allen brings the robot Caliban to life from “infancy” from when he is first powered up. Caliban awakens with his arm half raised to see the body of a woman laying on the floor, which later turns out to be his creator Fredda Leving. If Caliban was a normal robot he would have sent for help immediately, but unfortunately he was created lacking the infamous Three Laws of Robotics. Instead, Caliban investigates the scene briefly and then ventures out to explore this new unfamiliar world. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jan 052007

Have Robot, Will Travel book cover

Derec and Ariel have been exiled to Nova Levis, the site of the cyborg lab that was uncovered at the end of the previous series by Tiedemann. Derec has been focusing the resources of his lab on containing the mutating plagues released by Kynig Pyrapoyos. There is a murder on Kopernik station which appears to be committed by a robot, which Derec is summoned to investigate. In the meantime Ariel is asked to look into the possibility of cyborg survivors getting the right to vote.

One of my main disappointments with this book is that the plot lines don’t seem to pick up in pace until about the last quarter of the book. Irvine doesn’t seem to demonstrate the knack for complexity and pacing that Tiedemann did during the last trilogy. Besides these things the book was overall an enjoyable read. If I could pick out one good thing it would be that the plot lines switch back and forth often enough so that you aren’t stuck wondering what is happening in the other one for too long.

***Spoiler discussion for this novel & Robots and Empire**** Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Dec 052006

Aurora book cover

If Chimera was more complicated than Mirage, then Aurora is at least that much more complicated than Chimera was. Tiedemann does a good job of weaving between four main plot lines: Derec and Ariel, Coren Lanra, Mia Daventri, and Masid Vorian. There have been severe repercussions following the aftermath that took place at the end of Chimera. Derec and Ariel are recalled to Aurora at the beginning of this book. Ariel which has become romantic with Coren Lanra must leave him behind. Coren soon begins an investigation of his own. Mia works to uncover the inner workings of smuggling through the Nova Levis blockade. Masid Vorian also begins an investigation but as a spy on Nova Levis itself. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin

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