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The Gods Themselves

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  36,529 Ratings  ·  1,038 Reviews
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 surviva ...more
Hardcover, Book Club Edition, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1972 by Doubleday & Company (Garden City, NY) (first published 1972)
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Richard
Aug 19, 2007 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
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
...more
seak
Feb 18, 2015 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review, audio, 2015
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
...more
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
...more
Robert
Mar 13, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Manny
Apr 01, 2011 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Michael
This reread for me was still fun, well-paced, imaginative, and thought provoking. The tale concerns an opening with a parallel universe discovered by a physicist whose tungsten is converted into an impossible isotope of plutonium. When it decays usable energy is produced. At the point of the story when a science historian is interviewing this scientist, the massive construction of “Electron Pumps” is producing free energy on a scale sufficient hold the prospect of a coming shift to utopia for hu ...more
David Sarkies
May 17, 2015 David Sarkies rated it liked it  ·  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
...more
Jason Pettus
Apr 11, 2008 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maede
Jul 13, 2016 Maede rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 1395
به کسانی که با حد و مرز محدود نشدنی تخیل و مباحث فیزیکی مشکل دارند توصیه نمی شود
موجوداتی تصور کنید که جسم متراکم ندارند و شناورند. سه جنسیت متفاوت دارند و به جای جفت گیری "سه گانه گیری " می کنند و ستاره خورشید مانندی منبع تغذیه آن هاست
آینده ای از زمین را تصور کنید که بشر به منابع بی نهایت، پاک و عملا بدون هزینه انرژی دست پیدا کرده است. اما به چه قیمت؟
ماه را تصور کنید که به یک قمر مسکونی با فرهنگ ویژه ماه نشین ها تبدیل شده است
توصیفات دقیقی از این سه شرایط تخیلی در سه فصل کتاب داده می شود که افراد
...more
Stephen
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)
Brian
Sep 28, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
...more
Ivana Split
Jul 17, 2016 Ivana Split rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading the first few sentence of this novel not being terribly impressed, not that I would ever considered giving up reading of one of HIS novel, but the descriptions of character seemed childish and I may have even though (blasphemy) there is something lacking there, but then I pulled myself together and told myself 'What do you know? This is Asimov. Have you ever read anything by Asimov that didn’t amaze you? Off course not. So shut up.' Anyhow, it didn’t take me long to become eng ...more
Spiro
Jan 18, 2008 Spiro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Krbo
Jun 16, 2014 Krbo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!




Jim
A good foreword by Asimov. It's can be fun to find out the inspiration for a story & since this one involved Silverberg, another giant in the SF genre, that was even better.

The basic premise is good, too. Actually, it might be great, especially the way he leverages it to show the realities & politics behind science & society. It's easy to see where a catch 22 can & would develop. Unfortunately, the narrative & characters are so flat that I kept zoning out. I didn't like any o
...more
Tallise
Dec 26, 2012 Tallise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kane
Feb 04, 2011 Kane rated it liked it  ·  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
...more
Michael
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
Belcebon
Jun 27, 2015 Belcebon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
¿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.
sologdin
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
...more
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov
عنوان: خدایان هم؛ ایزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: هوشنگ غیاثی نژاد؛ تهران، پاسارگاد، 1373؛ در 383 ص؛ شاهکارهای ادبیات علمی تخیلی؛

عنوان: ایزدان هم؛ ایزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: حسین شهرابی؛ تهران، تندیس، 1393؛ در 344 ص؛ شاهکارهای ادبیات علمی تخیلی؛ 9786001821141؛

ماجرای بیگانه های جهانی موازی، که قوانین فیزیکی آنها با دنیای ما متفاوت است، آنها قصد دارند با رد و بدل کردن ماده با زمین، از تفاوتهای قوانین فیزیکی سود ببرند. این رد و بدل شدن ماده، منبع انرژی تازه ای در جهان رو به مرگ آن
...more
Shari
Jan 23, 2012 Shari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, award-winner
It had been a while since I last read Asimov, and so it was good to resume by reading this book that won both the Hugo and the Nebula. It was a good choice for I was impressed by Asimov's idea of other intelligent beings here. Plus, the twist in the story was not only intriguing, but thought-provoking as well. The science is also good - a bit of quantum knowledge could add more to the reading, though.

Marcos
Aug 08, 2014 Marcos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia-ficcion
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.
Brad
Apr 17, 2016 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
*sigh* Some books should remain fond memories.

I'm dropping a star on the re-read. Enjoying the insistence of intuitionalism doesn't make up for the abysmally uninteresting aliens or the 1970's culturally-locked ideas surrounding smart human women and smart alien women. It was actually pretty groan-worthy.

As for the actual story idea, I enjoyed the extrapolation of a modified natural law and the SF conversation Asimov was having with Silverberg, but it turns out that a tiny handful of ideas isn'
...more
Zorena
Jul 28, 2013 Zorena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Magdelanye
It was difficult to get into the spirit of this book,the beginning being rather cumbersomely written,with lots of hard science mixed up with much imaginary technical detail. None of the characters were at all endearing,and Asimovs distanced treatment made it more so..

The only reason I continued was because it was the book had out for travelling.
Which was a good thing,really, because part 2 was fascinating,part three almost equally so.

It is not in me to attempt to explain why,other than to report
...more
Michael
რამდენიმე წლის წინ ფიზიკის პოპულარული ლექციიდან გავიგე რომ შესაძლებელია ადრონულ კოლაიდერზე სამყაროც კი დაიბადოს, ჟრუანტელმა დამიარა და ვიფიქრე რომ გარდა იმისა რომ ეს შესაძლებელია ერთ-ერთი ყველაზე განმაცვიფრებელი მოვლენა, სიმართლე იყოს, სამეცნიერო ფანტასტიკისთვისაც საუკეთესო იდეაა. მაშინ არ ვიცოდი რომ აზიმოვმა შესანიშნავი ნოველა დაწერა მსგავს თემაზე 70-იან წლებში.
აქ ყველაფერია რაც კარგ სამეცნიერო ფანტასტიკას ჭირდება: პარალელური სამყაროები, საინტერესო სამეცნიერო თეორიები, სამყაროს განადგურების სა
...more
ირაკლი სულაძე
სამი დამოუკიდებელი ისტორია, რომლებიც იდეალურად ექცევა თითოეული ქვეთავის სათაურის ქვეშ. პირველი - ალბათ მაინც ყველაზე მძაფრი ნაწილია. /ჩემი აზრით, ყველა სახელმწიფო მოხელესთვის სავალდებულო საკითხავი/ დანარჩენები კი, უკვე ინერციას მიყვება. მძაფრი სიუჟეტი, საინტერესო სამეცნიერო ჰიპოთეზები და მოულოდნელად მსუბუქი დასასრული. ყველაფერი აქვს ამ წიგნს, აზიმოვის შესაფასებლად რომ გეყოს.
p.s. ოდინი, დუა და ტრიტი :დ I see what you did there, tovarisch
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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
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“There are no happy endings in history, only crisis points that pass.” 54 likes
“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. We know that well enough from our experience in the environmental crisis of the twentieth century. Once it was well known that cigarettes increased the incidence of lung cancer, the obvious remedy was to stop smoking, but the desired remedy was a cigarette that did not cause cancer. When it became clear that the internal-combustion engine was polluting the atmosphere dangerously, the obvious remedy was to abandon such engines, and the desired remedy was to develop non-polluting engines.” 23 likes
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