As always, Isaac Asimov's stories take the reader to a variety of places, times, perspectives and situations. There were so many thought provoking sto...moreAs always, Isaac Asimov's stories take the reader to a variety of places, times, perspectives and situations. There were so many thought provoking stories in this collection that I feel like I should immediately read it again to fully appreciate them. Unfortunately, I have library books to finish up and return that I completely neglected once I started this collection - so rereading will have to wait for another day.
Asimov deals with many themes, but most of the stories were along the same theme - (there were a few odd ones out) our relationship as humans with machines and other intelligent life and the many paths we may go as we get more advanced. Surprisingly prophetic in many of his stories as to technology and attitudes. Other stories deal with human civilization at a more advanced state and alternately inspire hope and fear for the future. I'm always surprised at how none of his characters are supermen - they're everyday people with their own set of problems and while they may exceed at one field or another, they are thankfully, never perfect people.
Some of Asimov's societies do seem quite perfect at first - as if civilization as a whole has everything figured out - in one story human beings have even transitioned from the physical world into simple consciousness and thus defeated death, yet it never turns out that life is perfect and not everyone is always satisfied. Asimov often takes you into a world that promotes progress, while nostalgic about the better parts of earlier days.
Still, on the opposite side of the spectrum Isaac Asimov writes terrible dialogue. I've read a lot of his work and he always has, but his concepts and scenes are so fascinating that you really have to stop and take notice to be bothered too much by the dialogue.(less)
This book could be classified as both a sci-fi and a fantasy book. The premise as you quickly learn is that a pantheon of gods exist with some very fa...moreThis book could be classified as both a sci-fi and a fantasy book. The premise as you quickly learn is that a pantheon of gods exist with some very familiar names from our own mythology. They demand that the god Vulcan create a set of swords that they can scatter around the world and take sides as the humans duke it out for the ultimate power one would have by collecting all of the swords, all for their amusement.
Vulcan does so, using several mortals to help him forage the swords and spilling their blood to seal the magic - all except one man whom he lets live an take one of the swords with him. Fast forward a few years later and in an unexpected turn of events the youngest son of this man finds himself inheriting the sword and becoming an outlaw at the same time.
From there on he has interactions with many of the swords and the people who wield them, all the time trying to keep ahead of those trying to find him. We learn about the unique mythology of the gods and find that something is not quite right...
As the game continues, soon the gods start to worry, as some of these swords could have the power to bring even their rule to ruin. Filled with adventure, these books do get at times a tad overly descriptive, and yes there are lulls that the casual fantasy/sci-fi reader may not appreciate, but it's a fantastic series and certainly worth reading through. I never felt it was a struggle to read through these parts, but then I appreciate detail about the world I'm immersing myself into and it feels much more realistic to me as a whole to give your characters the occasional rest from constant action. The way some fantasy books are written, all the characters would surely die from exhaustion before you read a third of the book, Saberhagen's character's are pressed to their limit and beyond, but I don't have the same feeling that they never get a break.(less)
I've always been a fan of Heinlein - but until now I'd never read any of his short stories. To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy them, as...moreI've always been a fan of Heinlein - but until now I'd never read any of his short stories. To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy them, as I couldn't imagine Heinlein's genius being quite as powerful in short stories as in his novels. While it's true that the majority of these stories didn't delve as much into philosophical issues as his novels - they were still fantastic. Each one had it's own little moral, some are quite obvious and others left up to the reader to muse on. It's hard to do an in depth review on a bunch of short stories, but Magic Inc. (like many of the other stories) was engaging, enjoyable and very tongue in cheek. (less)