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The Ugly Little Boy

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,774 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Asimov wrote the short story "The Ugly Little Boy" in 1958. But there is much more to the story of the little Neanderthal boy plucked out of time and transferred to the 21st century. Now, Robert Silverberg--in this second collaboration with Asimov--has made this sf classic into an engrossing novel-length tale.
Mass Market Paperback, 387 pages
Published August 1st 1993 by Bantam/Spectra (first published January 1st 1958)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  2,774 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I love it when a book sneaks up on you and holds you in it's grasp as thoroughly as this one did with me. A simple pairing of stories, really, made fascinating by the 40,000 year time span and the numerous endings that could have been.

I loved Asimov's robot short stories and novels for the moral and ethical dilemmas the author tackles. This novel was similar, in that the scienctific underpinnings are secondary to the unforseen consequences of their implementation.

It was refreshing to see, too, t
Silverberg clearly intended this novel as a kind of eulogy to Asimov. It carefully retains the style and thematic approaches that Asimov used. A book of dialog, a measured pace, minimal action, maximum reasoning and logic. As a result, the novel (this is a big 'IMO') both succeeds AND fails because of its achievement of these elements. The novel succeeds in expanding Asimov's short story in exactly the same way Asimov would have likely novelized the short story, 50 years ago. That makes the nove ...more

'Lastborn' (aka The Ugly Little Boy) by Isaac Asimov;

Description: Asimov wrote the short story "The Ugly Little Boy" in 1958. But there is much more to the story of the little Neanderthal boy plucked out of time and transferred to the 21st century. Now, Robert Silverberg--in this second collaboration with Asimov--has made this sf classic into an engrossing novel-length tale.

Silver Cloud
She Who Knows

4* I, Robot
3* The Ugly Little Boy
TR The Caves of Steel
3* Fantastic Voyage
5* The Last Question
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel really got me hooked from the very start of the story. Most enjoyable! This was originally a short story by Asimov that first appeared in the September 1958 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction under the title "Lastborn". It was later republished under the current title in the 1959 collection Nine Tomorrows. Robert Silverberg later expanded it into a novel with the same title, published in 1992 as this full-length novel (also published as Child of Time in the UK).

The story is about a Neand
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Asimov is a difficult author to categorize because he's so prolific, but even for him this story represents a dramatic change from the norm. Through a strange new technology, a neanderthal boy is transported from his time to ours. As he grows up he faces the hardships of prejudice, loneliness, and confusion. Where does he belong? Not the typical robot-fare from Asimov, and an enjoyable read from start to finish. This is the full-length version, written in part by Robert Silverberg, of a very fam ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
I'm sure I read some Asimov years ago, but I can't recall specific titles. I know that I didn't read this one, and it took me by surprise. If I'd had to guess who wrote it, Asimov wouldn't even have made my long list. How much of the story was written by Silverberg?
Book Concierge
Stasis Technologies Ltd has perfected a way to reach back into time and bring forth objects for scientific study. Their most recent triumph was a baby dinosaur and now they’ve taken a Neanderthal child from the Ice-age to the 21st century. The nurse assigned to care for the child must somehow bridge a 40,000-year cultural gap. Initially shocked by the “ugly little boy,” Edith Fellows soon recognizes that he is really a frightened child, and slowly forms a deep emotional bond with Timmie.

Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When a company has the scientific technology to "scoop" a neanderthal boy and bring him to Earth in modern times, what will happen? Is he human? Can he learn things, even though he looks barely human? Or is he an animal? In this short story turned into a full-length novel, this question is explored, through the point of view of Timmy's nurse, Edith Fellows. She explores these questions and this story alternates with what is happening to Timmy's family 40,000 years ago. I fear I'm not doing this ...more
Amelia Nichole Defield
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historial, Fantasy or Science Fiction lovers
Right from the beginning I knew this was going to be a book I was going to read more than once. It takes on intense subjects such as the morality of time travel and the awareness that one is growing old, with a light airy tone, and I dare say beautiful tact. Robert Silverberg has done a wonderful job of creating a wonderfully refreshing strong, yet feminine woman. No one is right and no one is wrong, but depending on who the POV character is and how they are feeling, you get to see the good and ...more
M. Wiggins
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imagine standing before a museum exhibit representing humans through the ages; you’re musing over the lifelike recreations of Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Which one is the savage? The callous aggressor? How does one define a ‘savage’?

The Ugly Little Boy provides us with a clever way of (eventually) joining in time a united front between two peoples. How interesting, though, that it could only be attained in the past… and not in our very own ‘modern’ future.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hmmm. Just looked at the currently most popular reviews in English here. Have to say I don't a bit regret the lack of "edginess" in Silverberg's expansion, and that I'm fully convinced by his answer to "What happened after they went back?"

But then, I'm one who's content to read on their own terms 50yo works, including Asimov and Edward Eager; 100yo, like Sherlock Holmes, Henry James (sometimes), and P.G. Wodehouse (always); and even 200yo, like Sir Walter Scott.
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
I read the short story so many years ago! I found this novel in a used book shop in Hobart, NY, a charming "book town". There are so many theories as to why Neanderthal man was not the line that prospered as they were physically better able to handle the conditions of that era. The authors have their own ideas about their intellectual abilities. Their brains were larger than any other human line, including ours.

The ending was lovely, but of course, I do want to know what happens next.
Georgia Susurkova
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I found myself being endlessly exasperated by Fellowes's though process, being able to keep trudging through the book solely thanks to the prehistoric subplot and its prose... and then I left the book halfway through and didn't pick it up until yesterday. And - it seems - now I've found something better in it. It's a good book - which might seem dismissive, but the world needs books who are simply unexceptionally good.
Steve R
Isaac Asimov's story with this title was first published in 1958. In 1992, Robert Silverberg expanded the original story into a full length novel. It deals with a Neanderthal child who is brought forward to modern times to be studied, and the erstwhile attempts of one researcher to actually care for the child as a person rather than a scientific subject. Not remembered.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book about 25 years ago. I loved it then. I love it now. Isaac Asimov has always been one of my favorite writers and I've read much of what he's written alone or as in this case with Robert Silverberg another giant. There's is my third read and I'm recommending it to my granddaughter . I think she'll love it too!
William Tracy
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a surprisingly good read. I was expecting it to be pretty dated, based on an Asimov story and expanded by Robert Silverberg, but it delves into a lot of assumptions about what makes us human, and does fairly well in representing male and female characters. The ending is a little abrupt, and I would have preferred another chapter or so to resolve things, but overall very enjoyable.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Ugly Little Boy" is a good illustration of how Asimov's fiction improved over his lifetime. At the risk of upsetting those readers who have accorded his early novels -- and especially the highly-lauded "Foundation" trilogy -- sacrosanctity, I have always contended that the author's early novels were better conceived than executed. By this I simply mean to say that they often feature two-dimensional characters and wooden dialogue, and just as frequently lack the sort of action which imparts ...more
Jay Wright
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silverberg does an expansion of a short story of a famous Asimov short story. It is actually good. Although the plot is rather simple and the action minimal, the faith in human kindness is the true message of this story. I enjoyed it.
Simran Sandhu
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't have words for this story.Such a masterpiece. This story revolves around an unmarried nurse who develops motherly feelings for a Neanderthal child TAKEN BACK FROM TIME, who was extraordinarily ugly and had to go one day. A great SCIENCE FICTION !The end is amazing!
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I found it very difficult to suspend my disbelief far enough to actually entertain the idea that the majority of the public would be okay with basically kidnapping a child and dragging him through time. In the end I'm a sucker for Neanderthal stories, though.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
My rating: ★★★★
Kim Zinkowski
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This tale makes you think about the technology and the morale implications involved in using the tech. I really liked this book and would have to say that this was a Good Read.
Beryl Morago
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
My favorite.
Anupriya Karippadath
Once again the short story is better than the full length novel (like Nightfall), but it's a good book nonetheless
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this better, so I read it a second time. The writing is good, but the future seems so dated ... kinda like the 1980's. Still only a 2 star.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story, very well told. Magnificent and unexpected ending: heartfelt, moving and hope-inspiring.
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
How would you like to babysit a Neanderthal? Granted, Edith Fellowes didn't realize that was the job description. She knew she'd be responsible for caring for a small boy from the past -- a wild child, a true savage who could not discern the difference between a salad fork and a dinner fork -- but never did she imagine working with a true Neanderthal. (Besides her boss, anyway.) A company called Stasis, Ltd. has developed the technology to pull small articles from the far past and hold them in a ...more
Rachel Fisher
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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The Ugly Little Boy - Inspirational Science-Fiction
Title: The Ugly Little Boy (this is a short story)
Author: Isaac Asimov
My Rating - 5 Stars

If you've never written a novel before then the first time that you do it will seem weird. Probably more so if, like me, you hadn't been planning to write a novel. It's hard to explain to people what came over you when you suddenly began to 'live' and write a story.

I am not certain that I have an explanation
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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 one of the most prolific writers 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 o