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The Stars, Like Dust

(Galactic Empire #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  18,716 ratings  ·  811 reviews
Biron Farrell was young and naïve, but he was growing up fast. A radiation bomb planted in his dorm room changed him from an innocent student at the University of Earth to a marked man, fleeing desperately from an unknown assassin.

He soon discovers that, many light-years away, his father, the highly respected Rancher of Widemos, has been murdered. Stunned, grief-stricken,
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 1991 by Spectra (first published 1951)
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Tony Calder It was certainly written as a stand alone book. While these days it is considered the first book in the Galactic Empire trilogy, there are no recurrin…moreIt was certainly written as a stand alone book. While these days it is considered the first book in the Galactic Empire trilogy, there are no recurring characters between the books, and they were not written in the order that they are now listed - the third book in the trilogy, Pebble in the Sky, was written before either of the other two.(less)

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  18,716 ratings  ·  811 reviews

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Start your review of The Stars, Like Dust (Galactic Empire, #1)
Very enjoyable but “ Asimov light”. More tomorrow

Now Isaac Asimov is one of my all time favourite authors, his Foundation novels are to me the epitome of SF space Opera, and he is my "go to" author when I want a great book, so when I felt a bit down/lost/in need of a lift, I decided to read this book as I hadn't touched it in probably 20 + years.
It was an enjoyable book, without a doubt an Asimov book, but a little light, as in not as detailed and structured as some of his more famous books.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Stars, Like Dust (Galactic Empire #1), Isaac Asimov
The Stars, Like Dust is a 1951 science fiction mystery book by American writer Isaac Asimov. The book is part of Asimov's Galactic Empire series and takes place before the actual founding of the Galactic Empire, before even Trantor becomes important. It starts with a young man attending the University of Earth. Biron Farrill is the son of the greatest nobleman on the planet Nephelos, one of the Nebula Kingdoms. The story starts with the news
I'm trying to read all of the books that eventually fell under the umbrella of the Foundation series, in internal chronological order. Which brings me to this, one of the first novels Asimov ever published. In some ways, it shows. The pacing is far from smooth, and the characters tend towards the wooden. The romance, between Biron and Artemisia, is rushed and unconvincing. And yet, it's still a quick and entertaining read. So far, I've yet to be truly disappointed in any of these books. That's g ...more
Well, you can see from his writing that his 'scientist' side was stronger than the 'writer' one: he clearly writes better robots than humans :) ...more
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Ah boy. Man, Asimov disappointed me a bit with this book; fortunately it was short enough to where I could make it through without throwing in the towel.

The Stars, Like Dust is often regarded as the first book in the Empire series, though as far as I know it really doesn't have much to do with the other books in the series, or really much to do with the Robot, Empire, and Foundation series as a whole. This story surrounds Biron Farrill whom at the beginning of the book is studying at a Universit
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Isaac Asimov's very first novel, "Pebble in the Sky" (1950), was the opening salvo in what would later be known as his Galactic Empire trilogy, and was set some 50,000 years in Earth's future. It may surprise some potential readers to learn, then, that book 2 in the series, "The Stars, Like Dust" (the use of a comma after the word "Stars" is not present anywhere in my 1963 Lancer paperback, but Asimov's later autobiography, "I. Asimov," does present the book title with the comma, so don't ask me ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Spoilers follow, but honestly...who cares with a book like this.

Honestly not really worth the trouble of reviewing, but I'll say a few things anyway...Asimov himself described The Stars, Like Dust as his "least favorite novel" and even that was pretty generous on his part given its tortured publishing history. Forced to include a hokey subplot that involved the Constitution of the United States by his editor and publisher that he detested after being forced to complete an outline and two complet
Davyne DeSye
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable…

This is one of Asimov’s very early science fiction novels and is quite a reflection of his times. Having been written in 1951, it reflects the societal fear at the time regarding a possibly upcoming World War III and destruction of the planet by nuclear weapons.

In this book, the planet Earth is only one of many that has been settled by humankind, but – unfortunately – large portions of its surface are highly radioactive and everyone wears (or carries) radiation detectors (in the f
Michael Battaglia
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Those who have often accused Asimov of being historically, shall we say, lax on anything resembling action may have felt a faint flicker of hope when reading the opening passages to this novel, where mild-mannered student Biron Farrill discovers late at night that someone has broken into his room and planted a radiation bomb. There's a few tense pages that make you believe that this is a lost thriller from the master of cerebral SF, a novel of far future espionage where no one is safe and danger ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
So, my plan to re-read the all the Asimov books that make up our future history in the Foundation Universe continues with this, the first of the Galactic Empire novels. Although, it has to be said, this is the only one of his books in this universe that I hadn't read before.

The galactic empire novels, like the "I, Robot" stories, the first two Elijah Baley novels and the original "Foundation" trilogy were originally published in the 50's. When Asimov began, many years later, to attempt to weave
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Compleatists
Isaac Asimov is one of my favorite writers--truly. I used to joke he was my spiritual father, because his non-fiction pro-reason, pro-science essays had such a huge influence on me. And I love his fiction. Especially his short stories, which hold up well and I'd enthusiastically recommend a collection of them: "The Dead Past," "Nightfall," "The Ugly Little Boy," "The Last Question" are amazing science fiction. So is his Foundation series by and large and his Robot novels and stories, and I remem ...more
Ms. Smartarse
Biron Farrill is a senior student at the University of Earth, the planet now highly radio-active. He has also barely escaped a nuclear attack, good thing he didn't throw out his radiation counter . His father on the other hand, was definitely not as lucky. The late Rancher of Widemos had been imprisoned and executed for high treason.

Advised by the mysterious Jonti, our hero embarks on a top-secret and mysterious adventure to avenge his father. More specifically, to stage a coup d'état that would
May 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not what I'm used to from the grandmaster of science fiction. ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to try my first Asimov. I just randomly picked one off the library shelves, but perhaps it wasn't the best choice. The plot was mildly interesting, but the characters were impossible to understand, especially Biron the protagonist. One minute he was an innocent college boy, then he was being a jerk to a girl, then he saves the day by his mental jockeying—blech. The resolution was also fairly unsatisfying, since it was mostly just Biron explaining (view spoiler) ...more
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Good start to the middle series
Ken Doggett
Luckily this was a quick read, because it was not a very rewarding one; I had trouble getting into the book, and almost quit midway. I do not recommend this book for modern readers. It has almost no characterization, so you're held as arm's length from the story, and the story itself is less than credible. On the one hand it's almost too convoluted to follow all of the unlikely twists and turns, and on the other its final conclusion, while probably significant at the time it was written, was too ...more
Sina Homayooni
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the worst of Asimov I've read up to now. Pretty boring. Full of stale ideas. Very slow turn of events. Lacking the same philosophical, mind engaging characteristics known of Asimov.
I really hope it gets better in the next one from Galactic Empire.
Tony Calder
This is very early Asimov - the second full novel that he wrote - the book is full of 1950's gender stereotypes, and the plotting is a bit all over the place. And the reveal on the last page is incredibly twee, although I have heard that his publishers required him to put that in. Still, it's not completely hopeless - the characters have some nuance to them, and no one is either all good or all bad. And it is an easy read.

Originally written as a stand alone novel, Asimov shoehorned this into the
Anna (DoesAnnaDreamOf)
Well, it may not be Asimov at his best. Overall, it was a quick and amusing read. The storyline is quite simple: a tyrant and a rebellion. Simple, but well executed all in all. But the ending… Wait until you discover the secret of the subplot. Not great, and that’s an understatement. I’ll try to get over it before attempting to read the second book of the trilogy.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Not the greatest Asimov book but it was an easy read and got me out of my reading slump. Certainly a book of the 50s, so beware if that kind of sci-fi isn't your favourite ...more
Jeff Miller
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Still enjoyable, just the usual flaws with Asimov and characters barely drawn out.
Brian Schwartz
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Stars, Like Dust works on a level not achieved by The Currents of Space or Pebble in the Sky . It does not try to be a complex spy thriller told in less than 200 pages. Nor does it get weighed down in heavy politics or distracting and ineffective subplots. The Stars, Like Dust is pure space opera loaded with shootouts, space trips, mysterious planets, and evil bad guys.

This is not, in and of itself, the definition of good science fiction. Subplots, intrigue, complex schemes and thick
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Not really sure how to rate this one. Originally published in 1952, this is one of the first novels by Asimov.
Chronologically, this is set between the Robot novels and the Foundation novels. Having read Robots and Empire prior to this one, one can see how they tie the timeline, but the connection is very mild.

What surprised me a bit was the tone of this novel. I've read 6 Asimov novels prior to this one and was expecting some elements that had become familiar. All the robot novels (and a lot of
Apr 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I'm in a science fiction-y kind of mood I thought I'd spend some time with the guy who first got me into the genre, Isaac Asimov. Little me started with I, Robot, which I read over and over. I thought that Donovan and Powell were cool. Susan Calvin was beyond cool and well into the icy, but she was interesting. The positronic brain and the three laws were an analog for human ethics. Little Glenn realized that Asimov was dealing with human morality but had separated it from humanity in orde ...more
Bill Wellham
Mar 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I seem to have given it more stars than most readers... Should I re-evaluate? Not sure.

This book just has nice memories for me, as I read a very tatty old paperback held together with elastic bands and tape. One of those books that you have no idea where it came from. I was about twelve years old; and as such, my mind was very accepting of stories about space travel, heroes, heroines, strange planets etc. I had been spoon fed on Star Trek and Dr Who!

I wanted to review it now, so I flicked throu
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
I picked this up (along with the other 2 Empire trilogy books) since I've read a lot of Asimov's other work (Foundation and Robots stuff). I would say it was "okay" or perhaps "meh." Perhaps at the time it was published in the 1950s it might have resonated with audiences more. Honestly though, the characters I feel really brought it down, they might as well have been cardboard cut-outs. I wouldn't exactly say the story or characters were predictable (except for the last page aka "the document," ...more
Oct 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
This was dreadful. Its a pretty stressful time in my life right now, and I was looking for entertaining escapist fiction. This was neither escapist nor entertaining. I understand that it was written around 1950 - and if you were writing a satire of a 1950's novel, you could use this plot. "Noble" son's "Noble" father has been executed by the evil overlords of the galaxy. He teams up with - wait, did you guess? - a daughter from different Noble family to find the "rebellion world." You don't supp ...more
Daniel Kukwa
It pains me to give a low rating to an Isaac Asimov novel, but this early work is really hard going. The characters are unsympathetic & irritating, and much of the story is a planetary survey travelogue that is far from exciting. There is little of Asimov's wit or the evocative storytelling to be found in later novels. You can see the seeds of future works being planted here...and thankfully they will flower far more effectively into the Foundation & Robot series. If you're in the mood for more ...more
Chad Jordahl
Eh... it was 'ok'... there are a couple of interesting characters, a couple of not too surprising twists. Oh, and a silly fascination with a specific physical document -- silly and romantic for thinking that a piece of treeware could be the key to an inter-galactic revolution. Asimov has an unappealing habit of writing clunky expository sentences for his characters. There are other problems that are excusable if you remember the book was published in 1951. Maybe I only '2-star' liked it, but it ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Please don't waste your time. This is the only review I've ever written on here, and I am motivated to write this only out of a desire to save you from the miserable experience of reading this book.

I've liked every other Asimov book I've read but this was absolute garbage. Read about 2/3 of it and then read the Wikipedia summary of the rest because I couldn't take it anymore.

Maybe read the last page, which is laughably bad.
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternative Cover - The Star Like Dust, Isaac Asimov 3 12 Jul 30, 2018 11:58AM  
Incorrect Series order 2 91 Jan 17, 2010 02:44PM  

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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

Galactic Empire (3 books)
  • The Currents of Space (Galactic Empire #2)
  • Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire #3)

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