Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Isaac Asimov - The Complete Stories Volume 2

The last review was the Volume 1 of this collection. This is the concluding review, taking on the stories in Volume 2 of this series. There are some great stories in this collection as well, and let's get started on reading them.
Asimov has an incredible novel called 'Nightfall', about a society, not very advanced, that has 6 suns all around it, and does not know darkness. It's scientists find out that the society has followed an unusual pattern, with society dying and taking rebirth every 2500 years, and almost at the same time, they discover the law of gravitation, and find that the 6 suns actually all go into an eclipse once every 2500 years, and the time for that is approaching. This society cannot stand darkness, and when the suns are all away, setting fire to society is the only response from the crazed crowd. Nightfall was developed from a short story, and this story is there in this Volume of short stories.
There are some very interesting stories - some stories about interaction with alien species such as 'Green Patches' - probably a form of precursor to the single super-organism concept used in his later novels; there is another moving story about conflict with an alien species in the story 'Hostess' - in fact, this is about a parasitic organism, 'Breeds there a man' is more about humanity being a lab species for a super species, C-chute is about the conflict with another species and the disparate group of people who get caught in this conflict, 'In a good cause' is a classic story where the focus is on inevitable conflict with another species and the different ways of getting humanity to focus on this conflict. 'What is this thing called love' is a humourous take at some of the same concepts.
'What if' deals with some what if scenarios in a relationship, and is a pretty intersting story, 'The Ugly little boy' is a story about the passion of motherhood and what it can make a person do, 'Sally' is an intersting story about a sort of robotics and how it can eventually seem scary, the same with 'Nobody here but -', 'Its such a beautiful day' is a great story about the wanting to escape from a closed society even when it is very comfortable. 'Strikebreaker' is a very moving story about the discrimination in a closed society and how they can make humanity veer off its basic sense of right and wrong,
In this second volume, Asimov was moving more towards a model of more conflict with other species, where eventually humans will strove to move into other worlds, and conflict is inevitable. It is possible that the basic nature of humanity being of a state of independence of thought, the possibility of humanity getting split is also possible.

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