📚 Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov

43/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I didn’t find this one to be a strong as the original trilogy, and Asimov’s writing style doesn’t seem to work for me in the context of other Hugo winners published around this time as much as it does with his earlier works. He’s still a very good SF writer, but more obviously one of an earlier era, in both style and in his fumbling around with female characters.

Michael holding Foundation's Edge

📚 21/2021: The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1973 Hugo Best Novel

One of my favorite classic SF authors, but not a favorite of his works. The ideas were interesting, but the dialogue felt particularly dated, and the final third’s sociological bits were a bit silly.

📚 fifty-one of 2020: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sure, Asimov’s gender politics don’t age particularly well. But he was always a brilliant and breezy writer, and for all his faults, he’ll always be a favorite. This collection of robotic puzzlers is always enjoyable.

📚 thirty-seven of 2020: Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids by Isaac Asimov ⭐️⭐️

Even for this series of ‘50s YA space adventures, a bit underwhelming. A key point basically depends on magic, and has a twist that is painfully obvious very early on.

📚 thirty-six of 2020: Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus by Isaac Asimov ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s ‘50s pulp young-adult space adventure. Quality? Accurate? Progressive? Nope. But for what it is, it serves just fine. Plus, you know, telepathic Venusian frogs.

Book eighteen of 2020: Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sure, the miniaturization process is basically magic, and the only woman in the story is treated abysmally, even for Asimov. But if you can cope with those, the concept and adventure is still a lot of fun.

Our Idols are Fallible

Isaac Asimov has long been, and still is, one of my favorite authors. He was also a person who regularly sexually harassed women. Both statements can be (and are) true, without me having to give up the former or condone the latter.

His history with women is no secret, and is the subject of the article Asimov’s Empire, Asimov’s Wall:

Over the course of many decades, Asimov groped or engaged in other forms of unwanted touching with countless women, often at conventions, but also privately and in the workplace. Within the science fiction community, this is common knowledge, and whenever I bring it up in a room of older fans, the response is usually a series of nods. The number of such incidents is unknown, but it can be plausibly estimated in the hundreds, and thus may match or exceed the long list of books that Asimov wrote.

…I regularly hear the argument that Asimov was simply a product of his era. You certainly don’t need to look far to find parallel offenders, including Asimov’s friend Randall Garrett, of whom Frank Herbert recalled, “You could follow his movements … by the squeals of the women whose bottoms he had just pinched.”

But excusing Asimov by saying that some of his contemporaries were guilty of similar transgressions is like downplaying his productivity by pointing out that other authors were prolific.

I find it important to recognize and consider the flaws in the people and the media that we enjoy, rather than shrugging them off or brushing them under the proverbial carpet. It doesn’t mean we have to “cancel” things, banishing entire swaths of previously-enjoyed content when we discover the creator said or did something we find problematic (though in some instances, we may decide to; each person has to determine that for themselves depending on their values and the situation in question). But learning how to hold ourselves and others to higher standards means not ignoring the failures when they appear.

Book twenty-one of 2019: Second Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📚

Asimov himself notes this in an introductory essay, but his ability to craft engaging SF of ideas and conversations over three books (eight stories) with little to no “on stage” action is remarkable.

Book twenty of 2019: Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1946 Retro Hugo Best Novel (for The Mule, part two of this book) 📚

Very much enjoying finally reading these (and surprised that it seems I never had, or had done so so long ago that I’d forgotten).

Book nineteen of 2019: Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📚

Though I’m a big fan of Asimov’s short fiction, I don’t think I’d actually read this series, and I’m happy to see that (for the most part) Asimov’s writing doesn’t suffer as much as other works from this era do.