Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Gods Themselves new cover The Gods Themselves (1972)
Hugo Award and Nebula Award Winner

Current Bantam Spectra paperback
cover art by Don Dixon
293 pages (left)

Fawcett 1st edition paperback
1973 - 288 pages (right)
Gods Themselves old cover

From the back cover of the current paperback:
       In the twenty-second century Earth obtain limitless, free energy from a source science little understands: an exchange between Earth and a parallel universe, using a process devised by the aliens.  But even free energy has a price.  The transference process itself will eventually lead to the destruction of Earth's Sun -- and of Earth itself.
       Only a few know the terrifying truth -- an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun.  They know the truth -- but who will listen?  They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy -- but who will believe?  These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival.

Read for group discussion on May 28, 2003

How we each rated this book
Dan 9 Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 8 Barb -
Aaron 9 Cynthia -
Jackie - Ron 6
Christine 8 Mitch -
Amelia 8    

Our book group has also read the following books by Isaac Asimov:
-- Foundation in November 1994
-- I, Robot  in June 1997
-- The Caves of Steel   in February 2001

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was an amazingly prolific writer, and arguably the most important science fiction author of the Twentieth Century (Robert Heinlein being the other leading contender).

1963 Hugo Award "for putting the science in science fiction"
1966 Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series for The Foundation Series
1973 Nebula Award for Best Novel for The Gods Themselves
1973 Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Gods Themselves
1977 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for "The Bicentennial Man"
1977 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "The Bicentennial Man"
1983 Hugo Award for Best Novel for Foundation's Edge
1986 Nebula Grand Master Award
1992 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "Gold"
1996 Retro-Hugo Award for Best Novel of 1945 for The Mule (Part II of Foundation and Empire)

Robot / Foundation Series
(in order of internal chronology)
The Caves of Steel (1954)
The Naked Sun (1957)
The Robots of Dawn (1983)
Robots and Empire (1985)
Prelude to Foundation (1988)
Forward the Foundation (1993)
Foundation (1951)
Foundation and Empire (1952)
Second Foundation (1953)
Foundation's Edge (1982)
Foundation and Earth (1986)

Asimov began his writing career with "Marooned Off Vesta" in the March 1939 issue of Amazing Stories, and wrote for publication almost without pause for the next fifty plus years. Over this span, he wrote well over 250 non-fiction books and better than 200 books of fiction (although just over half of his fiction credits are anthologies he co-edited, most of which were assembled by Martin H. Greenberg).

In the early 1940's, under the tutelage of John W. Campbell, Jr., Asimov made his reputation through his short stories. These included "Nightfall," regarded by many as the greatest science fiction story ever written; the stories that were later assembled as the Foundation Trilogy - Foundation (1951, also titled The 1,000 Year Plan), Foundation and Empire (1952, also titled The Man Who Upset the Universe) and Second Foundation (1953) - intoducing Hari Seldon's hypothetical science of psychohistory; and the earliest of his robot stories, featuring the three laws of robotics, which were later collected in I, Robot (1950) and Eight Stories from the Rest of the Robots (1966). Many of the stories in these two collections were later reprinted in The Complete Robot (1982), Robot Dreams (1986), and Robot Visions (1990), with some new robot stories added.

In the 1950's, Asimov turned to writing novels, beginning with Pebble in the Sky (1950), The Stars, Like Dust (1951, vt The Rebellious Stars), and The Currents of Space (1952), all of which were set earlier in the future history of the galactic empire featured in the Foundation series. His novel-length work is generally considered (including by Asimov himself) to have improved with The End of Eternity (1955), a time travel novel, and The Caves of Steel (1954) and The Naked Sun (1957), SF mystery novels that featured detective Lije Baley and his robot companion R. Daneel Olivaw. Baley would return later in Asimov's career in The Robots of Dawn (1983).

Collections of Asimov's short SF from this first phase of his career include The Martian Way and Other Stories (1955), Earth Is Room Enough (1957), Nine Tomorrows (1959), Asimov's Mysteries (1968) (which is a collection of Asimov's science fiction, not of his mysteries - go figure), Nightfall and Other Stories (1969), The Early Asimov (1972), and The Best of Isaac Asimov (1973).

During the 50's, Asimov also wrote a series of juvenile science fiction novels, originally printed under the pseudonym Paul French: David Starr, Space Ranger (1952), Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids (1953), Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (1954), Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury (1956), Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter (1957), and Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn (1958). 

Later on, he co-authored another series of young adult SF novels with his wife Janet Asimov (a/k/a J.O. Jeppson): Norby, the Mixed-up Robot (1983), Norby's Other Secret (1984), Norby and the Lost Princess (1985), Norby and the Invaders (1985), Norby and the Queen's Necklace (1986), Norby Finds a Villain (1987), Norby Down to Earth (1988), Norby and Yobo's Great Adventure (1989), Norby and the Oldest Dragon (1990), and Norby and the Court Jester (1993). Other novels for juveniles of his were The Best New Thing (1971) and The Heavenly Host (1975).

Between 1958 and 1980, Asimov's science fiction output was relatively small, as he focused his energies on writing non-fiction. His only important novel during that period was The Gods Themselves (1972), which won a Hugo and Nebula award for best novel. Most of his short SF from this time is collected in Buy Jupiter, and Other Stories (1975) and The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories (1976).

From the early 80's, beginning with Foundation's Edge (1982), for which he won his second best novel Hugo award, Asimov again devoted himself to writing SF. Over the next decade he added six novels to his Robot and Foundation series, joining the two sequences into a single future history. He also wrote a stand-alone novel, Nemesis (1989). Asimov's important collections of short SF during this last phase of his career include The Winds of Change and Other Stories (1983), The Edge of Tomorrow (1985), The Best Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov (1986), The Asimov Chronicles (1989), and Gold (1995). He also published two collections of fantasy short stories, Azazel (1988) and Magic (1996).

Other SF novels to Asimov's credit include Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain (1987), both based upon the movie, and three novels expanded by Robert Silverberg from classic Asimov short stories: Nightfall (1990), The Ugly Little Boy (1992, vt Child of Time), and The Positronic Man (1993, expansion of "The Bicentennial Man")

Asimov also frequently wrote mystery stories. His two mystery novels were The Death Dealers (1958, also titled A Whiff of Death) and Murder at the ABA (1976, also titled Authorized Murder), in which one of the suspects is Isaac Asimov. His numerous mystery short stories told in the Black Widowers Club are collected in Tales of the Black Widowers (1974), More Tales of the Black Widowers (1976), Casebook of the Black Widowers (1980), Banquets of the Black Widowers (1984), and Puzzles of the Black Widowers (1990). His other mystery shorts are collected in The Key Word and Other Mysteries (1977), The Union Club Mysteries (1983), The Disappearing Man and Other Stories (1985), and The Best Mysteries of Isaac Asimov (1986).

Asimov also wrote several books of humor, including The Sensuous Dirty Old Man (1971, originally published as by "Dr. A"), Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor (1971), and Asimov Laughs Again (1992). He also penned multiple collections of dirty limericks: Lecherous Limericks (1975), More Lecherous Limericks (1976), Still More Lecherous Limericks (1977), Limericks: Too Gross (1978, with John Ciardi), A Grossary of Limericks (1981, with John Ciardi), and (not quite as dirty) Limericks for Children (1984).

Asimov edited or co-edited over 100 SF and other anthologies. Of particular note are Before the Golden Age (1974), in which Asimov himself selected some of his favorite stories from 1931-1938; Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories, collecting in 24 volumes notable stories from 1939-1962; and the first seven volumes of The Hugo Winners, presenting winners of short fiction Hugo awards.

Asimov's first non-fiction book was an advanced textbook, with Burnham Walker and William C. Boyd, Biochemistry and Human Metabolism (1952). He went on to publish dozens of collections of science essays and well over 200 other books of non-fiction spanning nearly every conceivable subject, including (with selected examples): General Science (Asimov's Guide to Science, 1972), Astronomy (The Universe, 1966), Biology (The Human Brain, 1964), Chemistry (Building Blocks of the Universe, 1957), Earth Sciences (The Ends of the Earth, 1975), Mathematics (Realm of Algebra, 1961), Physics (Understanding Physics, 1966, three volumes), History (Asimov's Chronology of the World, 1991), Literature (Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare, 1970, two volumes), Bible Studies (Asimov's Guide to the Bible, 1968, two volumes), and Science Fiction (Asimov on Science Fiction, 1981).

Asimov's non-fiction interests encompassed, of course, Isaac Asimov himself. Asimov's books about Asimov included Opus 100 (1969), Opus 200 (1979), and Opus 300 (1984), each giving his thoughts on reaching those milestones in publishing (one can only marvel at the self-restraint that prevented an Opus 400); his two-volume autobiography, In Memory Yet Green (1979) and In Joy Still Felt (1980); and his memoir, I. Asimov (1994).

Thanks to Aaron for this "necessarily lengthy" Asimov bibliography

Our book club's page for Asimov's The Caves of Steel
Wikipedia - Isaac Asimov
Kaedrin's Guide to Isaac Asimov

Return to Home Page - Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

This page was last updated October 17, 2008