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The Gods Themselves

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  29,387 ratings  ·  785 reviews

Only a few know the terrifying truthan 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 truthbut who will listen?They have foreseen the cost of abundant energybut who will believe?These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1972 by Doubleday & Company (Garden City, NY)
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Dune by Frank HerbertFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutChildhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
Best Hugo Award Winners and Nominees
28th out of 137 books — 99 voters
Watership Down by Richard AdamsRendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. ClarkeAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith ViorstFrog and Toad Together by Arnold LobelThe Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin
Best Books of 1972
7th out of 84 books — 39 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 19, 2007 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans; Newcomers and Old-timers
Isaac Asimov rarely wrote about either aliens or sex. In response to critics who complained about these omissions, he wrote a book about alien sex. Rather, a book whose middle third is mostly about alien sex. (Mostly.) The other two thirds of the book tell one of the "purest" and "hardest" science fiction stories I've ever read.

By pure, I mean that there's a single, science-related "what-if," and that the story hinges upon that. (In contrast to, for example, a space opera such as Star Trek, in w
Though a science fiction novel, The Gods Themselves is also primarily about magic.

Throughout the courses I took for my my undergraduate degree in Economics, we talked a lot about the driving forces behind the choices people make. One of the greatest is magic. We all want to find that magical thing that makes us not have to work as hard; magic makes life easier.

This quest for magic has helped us innovate on a grand scale and use the resources around us for our own benefit. Whether it's been good
Dirk Grobbelaar
What’s a man supposed to do? Here is a novel that is greatly revered by critics and fans alike. It received both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novel (1972 and 1973 respectively). Asimov himself identified this as his favourite. And yet…

I normally really enjoy Asimov’s works. Foundation, especially, is one of my favourite SF novels. I am going to go against what appears to be the norm by not giving this novel four or five stars. It’s a novel I respected rather than enjoyed.

I can certainly r
I just reread this book for the umptieth time over many years, and was struck once again by what a fine piece of work it is. This is one of the best pieces of pure science fiction every written. It isn't the best STORY, of course -- Asimov himself has better ones, as do many other science fiction authors from the post WWII era. But only a handful of other stories such as Forward's Dragon's Egg come to mind as being such excellent science fiction.

I am a physicist, mind you. The amazing thing abou
One of the Holy Grails of science-fiction writing is the Convincing Alien Sex Scene. Has it ever been done? You get these claimed sightings, but then the sceptics move in. Okay, it's sexy and alien, but is it really convincing? Or, it's alien and convincing, but does it come across as sexy?

Anyway, this book is one of the stronger contenders, as Asimov treats us to a graphic, no-holds-barred description of how a three-gendered species get it on. I found it convincing, and many people agree that i
Nandakishore Varma
Isaac Asimov is a writer of ideas: and this is one of his best.

The concept is mind-boggling. Energy transfer between parallel universes, a universe which contains a three-gendered species, a convincing thermodynamic problem solved in a convincing way: it's all there for the aficionado of Hard SF. Also, the shortsightedness of governments regarding possible disasters, when there are goodies available for the taking by ignoring the dangers seem strangely prophetic in the face of the Climate Change
David Sarkies
May 17, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like sci-fi
Recommended to David by: My Dad
Shelves: sci-fi
Asimov foresees the climate change debate
29 May 2012

The title of this book is a part of a longer title, which is used to split up the three sections of the book: Against Stupidity the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain'. I believe that that is actually an Ancient Greek saying, which is not surprising at all. Nope, as it turns out I am incorrect (thankyou Internet), it was in fact a saying of a German Poet named Friedrich von Schiller, but it is not the saying or the meaning of the saying that I re
Jason Pettus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Along with "The End of Eternity" Asimov's best non "Robot" or "Foundation" novel.

Winner: Hugo Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1973)
Winner: Nebula Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1973)
Winner: Locus Award Best Science Fiction Novel (1973)
Voted to 1998 Locus List of "All Time Best" Science Fiction Novels (Pre 1990)
Another "one off" from a major sci-fi master. Totally unrelated to any of his other stories, this one is a mind-bender. A trans-universal thriller in which everything depends upon a near-impossible cooperation between physicists here on earth, and beings in another existence so alien and bizarre it disrupts your basic understanding of what it might mean to be alive and conscious.

Bonus: alien "marriage" and reproduction so inventive it's not even sexy. But it is kind of sweet, and romantic in its
One thing I always have to remind myself when it comes to reading Asimov is that even though I've seen some of his ideas and concepts before in other author's works, that Asimov was in many ways a pioneer in the field at the time he wrote. The Gods Themselves is no exception to that rule. Yes, there are elements in this novel that others have done but none of them really as well as Asimov. There are others here who have explained the premise of this novel far better than I could and without givi ...more
One of Asimov's must reads.
The story could be cut into 3 distinct parts, the FIRST part had very interesting mystery and conflict and drew his characters quite well. I enjoyed it.
The SECOND part made the book difficult to put down, a very unique/difficult type of character was portrayed here and Mr. Asimov did a wonderful job giving life to them. I strongly felt this was my favorite part and sympathized greatly. I also found my self betting the pages what would be the conflict resolution, and th
Who knew that a novel written in 1972 could touch on global warming, woman empowerment, lax views on different sexual orientations, and foreign policy...all with very pristine and at times technically beautiful scientific writing.

Some of my favorite quotes from this year come from this book:

"Now then, young man, don't ask me to stop the Pumping. The economy and comfort of the entire planet depend on it. Tell me, instead, how to keep the Pumping from exploding the Sun."

"There are no happy endings
Ovo je knjiga koja se ne može lako pročitati više puta jer sadrži jak "twist" na kraju koji ćete upamtiti po njegovoj snazi no obvezno je morate pročitati barem jednom (ja sam uspio dva puta jer je dosta vremena prošlo)

Ako jedan od najvećih majstora SF-a ovo sam smatra svojim najdražim djelom onda vas to mora privući.
Ne samo da ga sam smatra, nego ga mnogi kritičari i čitatelji smatraju jednim od najboljih djela žanra uopće.

Obvezno štivo!

Feb 04, 2011 Kane rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: meh
I read Issac Asimov's The Gods Themselves a few years ago while lying in the sun on a beach so I'm not sure if any positive feelings I have are linked to the quality of the novel or my tan.

The novel is divided into three parts. The overall story revolves around aliens from a parallel universe (the para-Universe) who exploit a difference between the physical laws in their para-Universe and our Universe: in our Universe plutonium 186 decays into tungsten 186 and in the para-Universe tungsten 186
Read this as a kid, and didn't get it. Upon rereading, it's kickass.

The first section belabors very well a nice joke from Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, proposing a change to the physics of the universe, building an elaborate Tesla-style economics on them, and then exposing how no one wants to alter the physics, even when faced with certain death, because that would require alteration of the economics.

The middle section switches to some weird aliens with trilateral sex lives, simila
R. August
Aliens who spend 30 pages furtively masturbating in caves, or "rock rubbing" as Asimov's euphemism was, is not outside of human experience - neither is a jilted lover who wants revenge. The issue was Asimov made such a big deal about the utter impossibility of a human understanding some thing from another universe where you couldn't even count on natural law as a point of commonality. Then our utterly incomprehensible aliens have their all too human soap opera. This wouldn't have been such an is ...more
¿Cinco estrellas? Pues sí. Porque es un grande y porque siempre que leo algo suyo acaba por sorprenderme. Un libro compuesto de tres relatos que hablan sobre los descubrimientos científicos y donde realiza una crítica al ego de sus responsables.

La descripción del universo paralelo es para enmarcar.
Me ha parecido un libro muy redondo. Especialmente me ha gustado mucho la parte donde trata la sexualidad de una especie alienígena con muchas peculiaridades.

El algunos tramos, sobretodo al principio, el autor peca de un poco de utilizar tecnicismos en temas científicos que si se los hubiera ahorrado no hubiera pasado nada. Pese a que se entiende el conjunto, no hubiera pasado nada si hubiera simplificado un poco toda esa retórica.

Muy contento con la lectura.
I know I have said this before about other good books but I really do wonder how I missed this one. I've read a good majority of Asimov's works and considering the esteem this is held in I'm slightly lessened by not having read this earlier.

I've always loved Asimov best out of the science fiction giants because of just how much science he puts into his fiction. The book doesn't disappoint in that area. The other thing I love is that even most laymen can understand the science he puts into his b
Isaac Asimov má klan věrných fandů a já do něj nepatřím. Přesto jsem postupem času přelouskal větší část jeho románové tvorby. Roboti mě nudili hodně, Nadace o něco míň. Tahle knížka, pojmenovaná citátem ze Schillera (Proti hlouposti ani sami bohové nic nezmohou), mě mile překvapila. Z mého hlediska je tím nejzajímavějším, co jsem od Asimova četl. Skládá se ze tří nesourodých částí, zdaleka nejlepší je prostřední. Popisuje svět těžko představitelných inteligentních tvorů v „paravesmíru“, který s ...more
"Cuando Los propios dioses se lleva el Hugo, el Locus y el Nébula, hacía 14 años que Isaac Asimov no escribía una novela de ciencia-ficción -exceptuando la adaptación de la película Viaje alucinante-. Todos los aficionados al género estaban ansiosos por leer la nueva obra del gran maestro y él les da exactamente lo que buscan: afronta sus carencias desde una historia original que no encaja en el universo de sus sagas; elabora un argumento de invest
J.j. Metsavana
Saan täiesti aru miks Ats selle teose avaldas. Esiteks tohutult palju teaduslikku juttu millest ma mitte midagi aru ei saanud. Teiseks veider tulnukate porr ja kolmandaks Kuu ordu, või noh midagi sarnast. Ehk siis maa teadusest ja kultuurist kaugemale arenenud ühiskond, kus armastatakse suurem osa ajast käia ringi alasti. Kes on Atsi enda kirjutatud romaane lugenud suudab ilmselt üsna mitmeid paraleele leida.

Üldiselt jagunebki teos kolmeks ülalkirjeldatud tükiks. Esimeses avastavad teadlased ene
Kako sam se ja "namučio" sa ovom knjigom... uopšte mi neće ostati u lepoj uspomeni :(

A evo zašto...

Pre dve nedelje počeo mi se javljati neki problem sa očima pa sam morao prestati ne samo sa čitanjem nego i sa drugim aktivnostima koje bi umarale oči (komp, tv... ). Sledi odlaženje kod doktora, ispitivanja, čekanje u čekaonicama i izrada prvih naočara.

Knjiga svo to vreme strpljivo čeka, a ja bukvalno izgaram od želje da sazanam šta se desilo na kraju (bio mi je ostalo još samo poslednji deo).

Juan Hidalgo
Por fin acabé esta lectura. Tengo que reconocer que me ha costado y que antes que este terminé otros seis o siete libros que he ido compaginando con él.

Inicialmente mis impresiones eran bastante negativas: son tres historias que giran en torno a un mismo eje; hay mucho detalle científico; bastantes diálogos extensos y, para colmo, la traducción del ejemplar que escogí dejaba bastante que desear, por lo que más de una vez hube de echar un vistazo al original inglés para enterarme detalladamente d
I don't think I've ever read any Asimov. This makes me feel kinda lacking when I say I'm a sci-fi fan. In fact it's really a disgrace as I grew up with his books on the shelves and never got around to any of them. This one I borrowed from my dad with the promise it was one of his best.

Now as I sit trying to type about the book I'm at a loss on how to describe it without spoiling the experience of the book. It would also be hard to explain what it's about. That's where Asimov's skill seems to lie
James Steele
Told in three parts (each reading like a self-contained novella), it’s about the discovery of a new type of power source by transferring matter between parallel universes and using the matter they send to us (stable in their universe but unstable in ours) for pollution-free energy. But there’s a catch. The process is going to destroy the sun. So why don’t we just give it up? Asimov presents the answer very well, ending part one with a Twilight Zone punch that stuck with me for days. The book cou ...more
Con este libro empezó la era kindle, yo hacía tiempo que tenía claro que quería un lector de ebooks, pero necesitaba que los precios fueran aceptables y tener un opinión de primera mano.
La opinión vino del camarada en un post que dio mucho de sí en los comentarios y se titulaba Primeras dos semanas con el Kindle, luego tuve la suerte de que me prestaran uno durante un par de semanas y ya no hubo lugar a dudas.
Así que comencé a leer este libro por error, pensaba que era uno que me habían recomend
sometimes i love a good ol' sci-fi book. this one was pretty good! in the future, mankind finds a source of infinite clean power. not only was it basically an accident, but it's also coming from a parallel universe. the man who "discovered" this source is hailed as a hero by the world, with the exception of two men who figure out that this power will ultimately destroy us.
i really enjoyed the 3 sections of the book. it's told from the men on earth's side, the para-men's side, and then finally t
Fascinating, daring, clever and beautiful are adjectives that spring to mind after reading The Gods Themselves.

The first segment introduced a bunch of very important characters brilliantly. I have to admit I found it hard to get into (physics is not my forte), I took notes and made some research on the internet to get a good grasp of the subject matter and I found that to be very enriching.

The second segment is hands down the best portrayal of an alien race I have ever come across. It is so di
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One Universe, One Species 2 55 Jan 02, 2015 03:24PM  
Artist's Read: Part 2: The Gods Themselves 6 22 Jul 19, 2012 07:33PM  
Artist's Read: Part 1: Against Stupidity 7 18 Jul 18, 2012 11:55AM  
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
More about Isaac Asimov...
Foundation (Foundation, #1) I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2) Second Foundation (Foundation, #3) The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, #1-3)

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“There are no happy endings in history, only crisis points that pass.” 42 likes
“Author's Note: This story starts with section 6. This is not a mistake. I have my own subtle reasoning. So, just read, and enjoy.” 16 likes
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