nelsonmilum’s #CBR5 review #09: Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

Time for book three! Or book one, or five short stories… depending on how you look at it. I’m writing now after having completed reading the series, so I’m going over to wikipedia to help me separate out all the major plot points. This makes reviewing the books individually a tad difficult, since I have difficulty keeping things separate myself. Lesson learned, I won’t be doing it this way in the future.

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nelsonmilum’s #CBR5 review #08: Forward the Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

And now we’re into the second book! There’s an interesting twist at the end of the first, and I won’t spoil it, but suffice it to say; our cast of characters has changed slightly. Hari is married, after a fashion, to Dors. The two of them have adopted a child from one of the rougher districts in the empire. Life is looking rather good!

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Julia’s #CBRV Review #13: The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

509784I’m a big fan of used book stores. Shelves of dirty, old, used up books. My copy of The End of Eternity came from an even grimier origin, the “free bin” at the library. Yes, books so used up that the library doesn’t even want to keep them anymore. This particular book had a big circular indent on the back cover, perhaps somebody used it as a pot rest at some point? I will never know. What I do know is that I have no regrets about holding onto this book, despite the smell. It’s not a book that gets regular mention in the Asimov cannon, but it’s certainly not one to be dismissed. Clocking in at 192 pages it’s a book you can get into and out of in a few hours, but those hours will feel entirely worth it.

The book is set in Eternity, a location outside of time where time travel has been perfected. The men trained in the use of time travel are known as Eternals; they travel “upwhen” and “downwhen” in history, performing little changes that serve to better the human race. Eternals fall into different classes, there are “Computers” who calculate what changes should be made and “Observers” who amass data from different time periods. Andrew Harlan is a “Technician,” he is responsible for carrying out reality changes. Harlan travels to various points in time in “Kettles” and makes minute changes that will eventually prevent a war from being fought, or a plague from spreading, or a totalitarian government from rising. Harlan is doing good work, or so he thinks…

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nelsonmilum’s #CBR5 review #07: Prelude to Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

757396Let’s read some fiction! My reviews so far have been predominantly outside of my literary comfort zone; non-fiction, contemporary, or autobiographical. I’m usually more of a light reader, so here are my thoughts on a classic. Over the next little while I’ll be reading the Isaac Asimov Foundation series. I’ve been reading fantasy style novels for the last 15 or so years, in that time I’ve been continually annoyed by the conflation of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The two are not a single genre and shouldn’t be thought of as such. But what makes people combine them? Why are Science Fiction and Fantasy so seemingly related that people often mistake them for the same genre? The biggest and in my opinion only similarity between Science Fiction and Fantasy is the more tangible escapism; you always know behind your suspension of disbelief that the story couldn’t be actually happening anywhere nearby. Science Fiction uses technology and ideas about science as its device whereas Fantasy uses magic and superstition.

All that aside, lets get into the review.

alwaysanswerb’s #CBR5 Review 03-04: Foundation + Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

foundationcov2I’m sorry SF fans. I’m well aware that the Foundation trilogy is classic, seminal, well-loved SF, and the Hugo “Best Series of All Time” and all that… but I didn’t like these books at all.

In a very quick summary, the trilogy concerns the establishment of the Foundation, which was apparently conceived as a scientific enterprise tasked with documenting all of the knowledge of the galaxy in a Galactic Encyclopedia. Shortly after its initial settlement on a remote planet, it is revealed to Foundation scientists that the true purpose of the Foundation is not, in fact, simply to create the Encyclopedia, but rather to develop into the new dominant political power that will supplant the current failing Empire. The majority of the books chronicles a series of “crises” that the Foundation must overcome in order to achieve the predicted political goals of the Foundation founder and lead the galaxy out of centuries of “barbarism.” Click after the jump to read the rest of my opinionatin’.

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Julia’s #CBR5 Review #1: Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov

200px-RobotsAndEmpireThis is my first review for my first Cannonball, so please be gentle.

Discussing Robots and Empire is difficult. It is the fourth book of Asimov’s Robot Novels and it links his Foundation Series and Galactic Empire Series with his Robot Novels. So anyone expecting the murder-by-numbers standard issue mystery novel format that defined The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn, are treated to something very different. Fortunately, that something turns out to be quite good.

Taking place 20 decades after The Robots of Dawn, Elijah Baley, the detective protagonist of the first three Robot Novels, is now long dead. His robotic partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, and his telepathic robot R. Giskard Reventlov are still fully functioning, and are now under the ownership of Baley’s one-time lover Gladia Delmarre, a spacer. Spacers were the first people to leave the overpopulated Earth, they experience exceptionally long lives, each have personal teams of robotic assistants, have broken all emotional ties with the Earth, and mostly interact with one another via holographic projection. Settlers are the new immigrants from Earth, they worship Earth as their spiritual home, their lives are over in 8-10 short decades, they distrust robots, and enjoy the company of other humans. For most spacers, settlers are thought of as the slime that spacers evolved from. The more extreme spacers call for the destruction of all settler life and the Earth they came from.

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