June 29th, 2003

bookies

Book: The Gods Themselves

Author: Isaac Asimov

Details: (c) 1972 Isaac Asimov; Pub Panther Books Ltd, 1976; ISBN 596-03772-1

Verdict: Highly readable, if a little patchy, and an interesting portrayal of an alien culture.

Reasons for reading it: After the complete head-trip that is Desolation Road, I wanted something a bit more comfortable and conforming to my expectations. So what better than dear Asimov, who was the bread-and-butter of my childhood exposure to SF (with John Wyndham and Arthur C Clarke)? Plus I had to sit on a train for nine hours, thus reminding myself why I never normally do the trip to SE England during the day.

How it came into my hands: Some little second-hand book stall in Notting Hill market where I went with M and his brother and sister-in-law. It's a pretty rare event for me to find an Asimov I've not read (and yes, I know he was prolific); in some ways I can see why The Gods Themselves is not particularly famous, as it is mixed in quality rather than consistently brilliant.

Oh, and an amusing incident: M and I were both buying stuff at the same stall, and the stallholder asked us if we were together. M thought she was asking if we were paying together, and thus immediately said no. At which point the stallholder mocked him for being such a miser that he would deny our relationship in order to avoid any possibility of paying for me. Me, I approve entirely; one of the things that's comfortable about this relationship is that we both have a similar attitude to money.

Um, yeah, let me get back to the point... Collapse )

But all in all, I enjoyed reading this. As a final note, the edition I read has the most inappropriate cover illustration I've ever seen: it portrays a dogfight between stereotypical 'futuristic' and 'alien' spaceships, despite the fact that the two civilizations exist in separate parallel universes and the transfer of subatomic particles between them requires the greatest ingenuity imaginable. TBH had the author been anyone other than Asimov, this cover would have put me off altogether.
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