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The Gods Themselves

The Gods Themselves [Kindle Edition]

Isaac Asimov
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

For 14 years of a career stretching from 1939 to his death in 1992, Isaac Asimov wrote little SF and instead produced popular non-fiction in enormous quantities. The Gods Themselves (1972) was his "comeback" SF novel, welcomed by both Hugo and Nebula awards.

It opens in the world of Big Science that Asimov knew well, full of in-fighting and the race to publish first. The Inter-Universe Electron Pump sucks unlimited energy from nothing, making all power stations obsolete and bringing a new golden age. No one--especially not the scientist who got the credit--wants to listen to the doomsayer Lamont who calculates that the pump's side effects may detonate the Sun. Worse, there's no kudos for him: "And no one on Earth will live to know I was right".

Part two moves to the dying parallel universe whose hyper-intelligent aliens actually invented the pump and don't care what happens to our Sun. Asimov cleverly focuses on three immature aliens whose intelligence is less daunting and who slowly learn--with very different personal reactions--about their race's weird analogue of sex, about the pump's moral implications, and eventually about the unexpected meaning of maturity. These are the most original, engaging aliens Asimov ever created.

Part three is set in a carefully worked-out Moon colony and grapples with the "para-physics" of inter-universe loopholes. Can a politically acceptable replacement for the pump be developed? Solid, workmanlike SF with far more talk than action: one of Asimov's rare standalone novels. --David Langford

Book Description

His single finest creation¿ The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1444 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553288105
  • Publisher: Spectra (4 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHYRP4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,349 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Asimov's best novel 23 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I have been a fan of Asimov's fiction as well as his science essays since childhood. I've read his Foundation novels, Robot novels, and various unrelated fiction and factual material. While most of his works have usually appealed to me, I can say with little reservation that "The Gods Themselves" is my favorite Asimov novel - and certainly earns a prominent spot in my personal "Top 10".
One of the things I like about this novel is the way the Friedrich von Schiller quotation "Against stupidity, the [very] Gods themselves contend in vain" is worked into the story. The three phrases that make up this quote - "Against Stupidity...", "...The Gods Themselves...", and "...Contend In Vain?" are used as chapter titles - and, what's more, these titles are quite appropos to the theme of each chapter.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the novel is the second chapter, which portrays a most unusual, and wholly believable and consistent alien race. Science fiction authors often struggle with the difficulty of portraying an alien race that is different enough from humans to be believable as aliens, yet similar enough to make their motives and culture graspable by a human reader. Asimov succeeds brilliantly in this task, something I can say for only a few other SF titles.
At the risk of sounding PC, I was also pleased that Asimov introduced a strong female supporting character, something not usually found in most of his works. The "Selene" character introduced in the third chapter is reminescent of the strong female leads found in many Heinlien novels.
Any fan of Asimov's works - or, for that matter, any fan of good science fiction should add this book to their essential collection.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science and Sex Do Mix 1 Sep 2009
The good doctor, over his lifetime, wrote more books than many people read in their lifetimes. Many were excellent explanations of various aspects of science written in language that a layman could understand. Some were good analyses of literature, such as Shakespeare and the Bible. But it is his science fiction works, from his vision of a Foundation to Robots imbued with Three Laws, that guarantee him a place in the hearts of fans of the genre, and a fame that spreads well beyond its boundaries.

This book was something of a departure for him, not being related to any of his other SF works, but still shows his sure hand at plotting and his deft melding of real science with a literally out-of-this-world idea. The story is told in three completely different segments, related only by the commonality of the scientific idea that drives this book, the Electron Pump, a device that can, apparently, deliver infinite free energy by trading material with a universe that operates on slightly different physical laws than our own.

The first segment is a beautiful glimpse into the sometimes not-so-nice world of the academic researcher, into who gets credit (not necessarily the deserving one) for an idea, how animosities begin and are nurtured, about the crassness of public policy being determined by those who do not and cannot understand the basics of the science that delivers the technological goodies.

The second segment is the part that makes this book deserving of its Hugo Award. Shifting from our universe to the para-universe that initiated the transfer that began the Electron Pump, Asimov invents a truly alien race that is at once believable and violently different from our own. Here we meet Odeen, Tritt, and Dua, who each form one part of tri-sexed whole.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Who am I... 13 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To judge this great author? But there are two stories interconnected hhere and one does not seem to have a proper end while the second half of the main one is just sometimes plain boring.
Anyways it works in general but seems to have been written in a rush :)
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2.0 out of 5 stars The gods themselves 27 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was ok. It seemed to be three books combined into one and the section about the parapeople I skipped because it was boring. The characters were twee and the writing about the sexual situation on the moon was silly considering the book was written in 1972. Also there was too much info-dump.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you like Asimov this is a good yarn 24 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Basically three intertwined stories, however the middle one could have been much shorter and would still have got the point across. But overall it was a good story told withs Asimovs detail for science.
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2.0 out of 5 stars confused 24 Nov 2013
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Disjointed and confusing
A hard read.
After a difficult start goes into two different stories that never really take off or fulfill.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating ideas 22 May 2013
By Pat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's the second time I've read this and I still enjoyed it. It contains some thought provoking ideas and the narrative flows well.
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3.0 out of 5 stars THe Gods Themselves 14 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not Asimov's best work but glimpses of his genius shone through although rather slow moving at times and plot jumped about
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A parable from the 70s for the modern climate debate
A tale of world destruction and scepticism that resonates strongly with the current climate-change debate. Read more
Published 16 months ago by MikeS
5.0 out of 5 stars Asimov's best
Isaac Asimov was often better at short story length, but here he shows himself to be a master of the novel. Read more
Published 20 months ago by infrequent
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow, then weird, then amazing.
This book is truly astounding, I haven't even finished it, however about two-thirds of the way through and I already want to scream "science fiction masterpiece". Read more
Published 21 months ago by Krald
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back to the future
I will not bog you down with plot lines etc. others have down that already. What I will say is I read this years ago and having read it again recently it has lost none of its... Read more
Published 23 months ago by JimmyG
2.0 out of 5 stars Sudden ending
Did not enjoy the book. Hard to get into. Very sudden ending that leaves the story hanging. Not a good effort.
Published 23 months ago by Ron
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to giveup on it
I dont often give up on books but I only got half way through the second section then gave up on it. I read and enjoyed the Foundation trilogy in my teens but this left me cold
Published on 2 July 2012 by Dr. M. Ronchetti
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised
I was a little fearful, going in to this, that it was going to be dull. I haven't read much Asimov before, but my impression was that his stuff would be quite dry and boring. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by Simon Bradley
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‘Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.’ &quote;
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“It is a mistake,” he said, “to suppose that the public wants the environment protected or their lives saved and that they will be grateful to any idealist who will fight for such ends. What the public wants is their own individual comfort. &quote;
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He’s a pygmy with only one talent, the ability to convince others he’s a giant.” &quote;
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