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The Early Asimov or, Eleven Years of Trying

(Early Asimov #1-3)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  27 reviews

• Biographical Comments
• The Callistan Menace
• Ring Around the Sun
• The Magnificent Possession
• Trends
• The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use
• Black Friar of the Flame
• Half-Breed
• The Secret Sense
• Homo Sol
• Half-Breeds on Venus
• The Imaginary
• Heredity
• History
• Christmas on Ganymede
• The Little Man on the Subway by Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl
• The Hazin
Hardcover, 568 pages
Published September 1972 by DoubleDay (first published March 1940)
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Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Favourite stories:

Magnificent Posession
Black Friar of the Flame
Ring Around the Sun

I'm honing in on the ideal short story collection. 27 stories is too long. And spending over a month reading it is also too long. I started to not remember which stories I had or had not read (that could be fixed by reading them in order, though).
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hardcover omnibus.

For completists only. Most stories unfortunate. Scientifically ridiculous, written to sell to the teens who bought the nascent pulps (Asimov admits same himself), with nary a woman who is a person. Or a man, for that matter. Way too much of that 'psychohistory' stuff.

I did sort of like "Blind Alley," one of the last. It's got that hero in disguise thing going, that Asimov likes so much... but this time the guy is believable, and he's not a "Half-Breed" or otherwise an object o
Martijn Vsho
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I like sci-fi but do not read it too often. In fact this is the first time I read anything by Asimov.
I enjoyed these stories, even if they were some of his earlier published stories and by his standards mediocre. Maybe I just haven't read enough of this genre to critique it well.
I really liked Asimov's commentary on his stories. Each story is preceded by an account of how it got published and preceded by a short commentary on things he liked and disliked about it. I
Mark Oppenlander
This lengthy collection of short stories (27 in all) gathers pieces Isaac Asimov wrote and published during his first 11 years as a writer. This is not everything he wrote during that period, as many of his stories (especially the Robot and Foundation tales) have already been collected elsewhere. So in essence, these are the outtakes and B side, and as such, some of them are not very good.

What keeps the book interesting is that Asimov places the stories in chronological order of when they were w
Jim Razinha
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found a copy of this a year ago and started it soon after. I lost my original copy to a fire in 2013 and wasn't actively looking for a replacement, though I jumped on it when I saw one because it had a nostalgic longing for some of those lost pieces of my youth. As one can see from the date log, it took me a while to get through it...I am not a big fan of collections of short stories - even those of Asimov. Yes, he has exceptions - the robot shorts and the stories that became the Foundation tr ...more
Skyler Peterson
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Asimov Fans
This is a collection of Asimov's early works, so the writing is not as mature as can be found in other collections. However the quality of many of these stories is still quite good. The highlight of this book though is the autobiography Asimov writes in between each story. He describes exactly what he was doing and thinking at the time that he wrote each novel, described his relationship with various editors, and even shared the price he was paid for each accepted work. This level of detail of h ...more
Cesar Leon
Sep 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Me encanto poder dar este paseo de la mano de Asimov por el camino con los aciertos y errores que lo llevaron a ser ese escritor que todos conocemos.

Hablando del contenido tiene varios cuentos con ideas que son precursoras de varias de sus grandes obras , Algún experimento creativo y otros que realmente no me gustaron nada. Por lo que no diría que es un imprescindible pero vale la pena para los fans mas acerinos para conocer mas de como fueron esos primeros años antes de que se considerara a si
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Favourite Stories (in no particular vertical hierarchical order of precendece ):
Ring around the sun
The Secret Sense

Whilst those middling around par include:
The Weapon to Dreadful to use
Half Breed
The Imaginary
Half Breeds on Venus
Not Final!
Time Pussy
Death Sentence
Mother Earth

Those excluded estimated as poor.
Chris Backhouse
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Asimov of course gets better at writing as time passes. So the first book is full of fairly weak stories, which give some interesting insight (actually the writing style is there from the beginning, it's just decent plots that are lacking) while by the third book they are just all solid stories. ...more
Marsha Valance
27 early short stories and an autobiography. Locus Award Nominee for Best Reprint Anthology/Collection (1973), Retro Hugo Award Nominee for Best Short Story for "Death Sentence" (2019). A Science Fiction Book Club selection. ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Some good stories and some boring ones. Interesting to hear the background of the publishing process
Darren Goossens
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Review from

Can there be anything left to say about Asimov? Between his various volumes of autobiography, his vast and highly personal output of essays, introductions and afterwords, and the various volumes of critical material written by others, surely not much space is left. Well, there's always room for a personal response. And The Early Asimov invites such a response possibly more strongly than any ot
Sean Guynes
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Early Asimov stories are trying reads, indeed.
Leonardo De lima
É muito boa a coletânea, e em que pese já ter lido os principais livros, de contos inclusive, não fica atrás do Fundação ou de Eu Robô, imperdível.
Anthony Faber
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
A collection of his early stories that haven't been collected elsewhere. The forwards dealing with how the story got published are interesting, if you're into that sort of thing. The stories are hit and miss, mostly miss. More for the completist, rather than the "Best of" crowd.
Brad Guy
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I ran into this book in the high school library, in 1980. I enjoyed it so much I checked it out again a few months later. And again the following year. I think I checked it out and read it three or four times, over three years. During that time only one other name appeared on the sub-card, it was a friend of mine.

During my senior year the school installed a magnetic anti-theft system in the library, sort of like those systems you find at some big-box stores. Walk through the gate at the door an
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Long-time readers know of my enormous affection for the good doctor Asimov; imagine my delight in finding this anthology of over two dozen of his earlier and previously uncollected works, from his first eleven years as an author. These were stories written in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, when young Asimov worked in a candy store to pay for college, later doing civilian work for the army before being drafted. It's a splendid collection for an Asimov fan like myself. Although the stori ...more
Scott Shepard
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of Asimov's early short stories. It is interesting to see his writing style develop and his stories get profoundly better as the book progresses. You can also see him laying the groundwork for works like Foundation and I, Robot. I feel that in short story collections more than novels I get to know the author better. He narrates in between stories about what was going on in his life when he wrote them. The eleven years of short stories contained here include World War I ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I just read the last chapter, Mother Earth, because i wanted to know more about the gap between the robot series and the Spacer Worlds. I was amazed how Asimov directly addressed xenophobia and racism in this story, and that it had two POC as characters. Yet, at the same time this is slightly disappointing because it just restricts the rest of the spacer stories as places with white people.
Aaron Crofut
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Didn't read it cover to cover, but not a bad book to pick up if you can find it cheap. The book consists of his stories sold in various sci-fi magazines back in the day plus little postscripts detailing his experiences as a writer trying to get published. In a weird way, it is encouraging to see even a famous writer like Asimov not being particularly great as a 19 or 20 year old. It gives me hope that the teenage writers I see may yet mature into true talent. ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Hampered by stories being order they were written, so his weakest stories are at the beginning.
Worth it for a couple of the stories towards the end, especially the "Red Queen's Race" but his earliest works are pretty weak.

His commentary is pretty interesting however, and I think offers some useful tips to aspiring writers.

Towards the end it gets better, especially as you see him improve as a writer, but it does weigh down this book and make it hard to get to the best stories.
Bill Harrison
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book includes stories from the beggining of Asimov's career. Asimov gives a brief history between stories about when they were written, how and when he got them published, etc. While some of the stories may not be his best (Asimov's worst is hands down better than most other's best), this was an interesting look into the mind of an author and the world of scifi magazine publishing in the very early years of the genre. ...more
Earliest works of Asimov accompanied by autobiographical comments concerning the circumstances of how they came to be written.
Great to be able to read his very first books that did or didn't make it into other publications, and to hear first hand how he started out. A must read for any Asimov fans. ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Full of short stories by Isaac Asimov with introductions on each one. Good stories and interesting tidbits about how he came to write them.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-up
Just picked it up to read a couple of stories... Blind alley and Mother Earth, which both tie in to the foundation universe
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This Asimov story had a neat science basis and a humorous twist. So glad to be working through his short fiction.
Jonatan Db
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2019
William Richey
rated it it was ok
Sep 17, 2011
rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2018
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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

Other books in the series

Early Asimov (6 books)
  • The Early Asimov: Volume 1
  • The Early Asimov: Volume 2
  • The Early Asimov: Volume 3
  • The Early Asimov: Book One
  • The Early Asimov: Book Two

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