Friday, March 26, 2010

Gold: The Final Science Fiction Collection by Isaac Asimov

This collection is scarping the bottom of the barrel of Asimov stories. Pretty bad fiction, and most of the fact articles aren't worth much, either, but a few are fairly interesting. The inclusion of the forewords for several books seems very superfluous.

An author upgrades his robot so that it can learn to write stories. Eventually the robot writes a very good yearn. Nothing very special, the story would have worked better, if the ”story” inside the story ”written by the robot” would haven been any good. As it really wasn't very good or funny, the ending didn't work. ***
Left to Right
Short short which ends by a bad pun.*½
Not a real story, just a segment of a story about how wars are hard in a world ruled by computers. **-
A newcomer to a colony world solves a problem, which deals with hallucinations nobody else has even really noticed. Very simplistic story, almost like a first effort by some young writer. **+
The Instability
Time travel, and a few slight problems. Another light story both in tone and quality. **
In the Canyon
A letter home from Mars. And that's about it. No action, not much content. **-
Good-bye to Earth
Another story told by a ”letter”, this time addressed to earth from the people of an orbital settlements. No action, no much content. **
Alexander the God
A smart man tries to conquer the world by owning everything in it. He is using a sophisticated computer program to analyze commercial trends. As usual, everything doesn't go according to the plans. ***
Another story ending to a bad pun. First it felt incomprehensible, but it clicked eventually. Doesn't make the story worth much, anyway. **-
Feghoot and the Courts
And one more story which was written just for one stupid pun. **
A writer, Asimov's alter ego, gets a word processing apparatus. It is able to learn by the time, but it seems to be very good, even too good, in learning. Ok story, pretty light. ***+
Kid Brother
A family consisting from an irritating, bigoted husband, a stupid wife and a bully son gets a robot ”big brother” for their son. Not one of the worst in this collection, but that is not saying much. ***
The Nations in Space
A simple ”bed time story” of two nations hating each others and what some individuals might do. Is hate natural? Extremely simplistic. **
The Smile of the Chipper
Two brain chipped business geniuses battle it out over a female. There is a slight twist, but overall another very inconsequential story. **+
A movie produced makes a sort of computer animated movie about the middle part of Asimov's “God Themselves”. Okay, but nothing really special. Probably best in this collection, but again, not saying much...

448 pp.

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