Issac Asimov is an author who’s work I’ve loved, even if on this book his first name is entirely missing. Who knows, maybe the next book of his I’ll find will just call him ‘A’, or ‘Mov’. I guess when you’re that great and well known as an Author, who needs first names.
This book is a collection of short stories, some of which I’ve read before, some being completely new to me. My favourite new story found in this collection is “The Last Trump”, where the Angel Gabriel arrives to call an end to Earth based on a decree by God. It presents an impression of hell that is created by the common desire to survive without pain or suffering. In a clever twist of office politics at the Deity level (God, Gabriel and our unknown to us guardian angle Etherial) our life with it’s highs and lows, births and deaths is returned, for the time being.
Compared to the other series of short stories I’ve read recently, this one has to get a Rootie Rating of 4 out of 5, enjoyable and memorable make the difference.
Another old book from the second hand bookshop, this reprint had an authors introduction where he fondly referred to the collection as “Stan”, shortening Space, Time And Nathaniel into a name more cosy. It’s a collection of short stories and was an enjoyable read. The only trouble I have now is that having read it last month and being a little behind on recording my reading, I can’t remember one of them! I know they were good enough I enjoyed the book (that’s why I went on to read the other Brian Aldiss book I bought) and I remember the last story had something to do with Nathaniel. Alas, it escapes me. Rootie Rating 3 out of 5, Good, if not memorable amongst my other recent reading.
Printed 6 years before I was born, the jacket of this book showed it’s age in the second hand bookshop. On the plus side, if it’s been kept that long it can’t be too bad. There were also several other books by this author which I’ve found to be a good sign. Lots of old books by the same author seems to mean the stories were successful enough to be printed in large quantities, so that many copies survive to stand tightly packed in the limited shelf space of second hand book shops. I bought this and another couple of them to read over the summer holidays.
Onto the story, and for me this is a classic piece of science fiction. Think of the future as it would develop from now. Imagine it going the way we wouldn’t like it to, on a social level. Imagine war pushing the development of space exploration, in a way that only war can create a technology growth spurt. Imagine then discovering intelligent life on another planet. This story eloquently describes this situation, an intelligent extra terrestrial species that mankind isn’t intelligent enough to recognise. The book makes you ask a fundamental question; How do you define intelligent?
It’s a really good read so perhaps it’s not surprising it’s still in print. Rootie Rating: 4 out of 5