Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire, #3)” as Want to Read:
Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire #3)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  13,766 Ratings  ·  529 Reviews
One moment Joseph Schwartz is a happily retired tailor in Chicago, 1949. The next he's a helpless stranger on Earth during the heyday of the first Galactic Empire.
Earth, as he soon learns, is a backwater, just a pebble in the sky, despised by all the other 200 million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it's the original home of man. And Earth is poor,
Hardcover, first, 224 pages
Published 1950 by Doubleday
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pebble in the Sky, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Andy Love I was his first published novel, but he wrote two other novels in the Galactic Empire series that were prequels ("The Stars Like Dust" and "The…moreI was his first published novel, but he wrote two other novels in the Galactic Empire series that were prequels ("The Stars Like Dust" and "The Currents of Space"). You can read them in any order though (as as I recall, "Pebble in the Sky" is the best of the three).(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Isaac Asimov's first published novel is rough around the edges and shows its 1940s roots with the outdated science and social attitudes (other than the love interest, who is occasionally awesome but too often of the hand-wringing variety, and a cameo appearance by a farmer's wife, no women grace the pages of this book), but there are also parts where you see what made Asimov such a great SF writer.

Joseph Schwartz, a retired Jewish tailor, is instantly transported from 1949 Brooklyn to a time ma
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a now-famous interview, sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov once revealed how he avoided getting stuck with writer's block. The hugely prodigious author would often be working at four or five books at the same time, with five typewriters arrayed side by side, and when he would get inextricably bogged down with one book, he'd simply move to the neighboring typewriter, and recommence work on that one! Thus, one can almost understand how it was possible for Asimov--who claimed, in his later years, to do ...more
Davyne DeSye
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable! This is Asimov’s first science fiction novel (published in 1950), and is a wonderful example of the science fiction of the era.

This book has time travel, a galaxy-wide human civilization, deadly viruses, hyperspace, blasters… plenty of the traditional early sci-fi necessities.

It starts with time travel: Schwartz, a 60-year-old retired tailor, is enjoying his morning walk in downtown Chicago… Because of an unexpected phenomenon at a nearby research facility, Schwartz, between one
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Greatly entertaining, though that's no surprise. After a somewhat slow start, it turns wonderfully tense. Although this is the most cartoonish villain I've encountered in an Asimov book, the rest of the characters have the same "realness" that I've come to expect from his casts. Even though the Galactic Empire books don't really relate to each other on a plot or character level, it's been interesting to watch the Empire develop from one book to the next. I don't know yet how it will relate to th ...more
Michael Battaglia
Don't you just hate those days when you're walking down the street just minding your own business and then suddenly poof! you're in another time completely? That's how Joseph Schwartz's day starts, and it more or less goes downhill from there. Before too long he's volunteered for a scientific experiment because everyone assumes he's mentally damaged (due to nobody being able to understand a word he's saying, and vice versa, thanks to a several thousand year language gap) and that, hey, it can't ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Holds up very well. Even to the point where it's the bad guys who diss the female. I don't know how readers who have never read the old stuff will like it, but I was weaned on these kinds of stories, this kind of writing and I love it so much I can't fully explain why. Very thoughtful, with great lines, plot, and ideas. The future may not be futuristic enough (but then, we are on a backwater, primitive planet) or the politics complicated enough (thank goodness, as I do not like intrigue), b ...more
He steps through a wormhole in space and ends up in a future world where he has exotic Super Powers -

Like what, I hear you ask? Right, listen to this. He can obtain a deadly attack as White from the variation of the Spanish which starts 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Nc3. Impressive, huh?

I know. Alekhine showed it was possible a couple of times. And then there was the game Spassky won against Beliavsky in 1988. If you can play through that and not conclude that Boris had Super Power
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peple said the early books Asimov wrote on his galactic empire were a little raw and ultimately quite skippable. I didn't want to believe it, mostly because I had yet to not love one of Asimov's works.

This trilogy of books however haven't had the greatness I expect of Asimov. They seem to lack the ambition of the Foundation and Robot series. Concentrating on smaller stoires when a subject as big as a whole galactic empire beckoned to be explored.

I found myself enjoying this one quite a bit in pl
Travis O.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m going to begin this review with a generalization: every fan of science fiction should read at least one Isaac Asimov book in their life. Whether or not they enjoy it in the end is superfluous; it is the tax one pays to the (arguably) first patriarch of the genre as a concrete entity. Pebble in the Sky, the book on my docket today, was Mr. Asimov’s first novel, though it had been published serially between January and June of 1933. I came upon the book years ago, after binging on the Foundati ...more
Jared Millet
(2013 Asimov Re-Read, book 2)

So when I decided to revisit Asimov this year, my battle plan was to do the original Foundation Trilogy interspersed with the three Galactic Empire novels in the order of publication. I enjoyed Foundation as much as I did back in high school, but I remembered having a hard time with Pebble in the Sky. I'd hoped that I'd appreciate it more coming to it as an adult, but while it has plenty of interesting ideas, they don't quite fit together as a novel. This was Asimo
It has been a while since I read this, so I decided to listen to it as part of my listening homework. It is an excellent, all too believable, story about a possible future earth that is radioactive with a much diminished population from the mid 1900s, which is when Joseph Schwartz is from. Suddenly he finds himself many centuries in the future through a device that was probably the weakest part of the sci fi story: a beam of radiation let loose and sent him into the future in the midst of taking ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2000.

In 1949 when he was writing his first novel, Isaac Asimov had already had some success with published short stories. Pebble in the Sky shows both experience as a writer and inexperience in the longer form, as it tends to jump around rather too much for a continuous narrative to emerge. The style is basically fully developed, and (in his fictional writing) did not change a great deal over the next forty years.

In terms of the rest of Asimov's fi
John Park
Two and a half stars. Mainly curiosity value, but . . .

This was Asimov's first published novel; it preceded 1951's Foundation by a year, though most of the contents of the latter were older, having appeared in magazines in the 1940s.

Coming belatedly to Pebble after reading other Asimov novels was something of a revelation. It has energy, variety, some sense of human complexity, and female characters who show occasional spirit. Asimov's narrative voice tends to be garrulous and undisciplined but
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El ultimo libro del Galactic Empire novels. Muy parecido en disfrute a sus predecesores... supuestamente me los leí alberrez... el primero de ultimo, pero la verdad esto no afecta en nada ya que las historias no están relacionadas, se hace alusión a algunos planetas pero nada mas... por ejemplo Trantor. Asimov es simplemente brillante, las historias son tan creativas, que es rajado pensar que fueron escritas hace tanto tiempo. El mae hasta profético es en algunos tech gadgets y no me extrañaría ...more
Mary JL
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any Sf reader
Recommended to Mary JL by: I am a fan of this author.
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
As a long time fan of Isaac Asimov, I enjoy almost everything he wrote. Certainly some books are a bit more dated than others, and this is his first book. Nevertheless, Asimov tells a good story. The idea of Earth being hated by the Outer Worlds, instead of being the center of everything, was an unusual idea at the time this was written. And I found some of the political in-fighting interesting. I also liked the idea of a man from our time going so far in the future that everything he knew was l ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an interesting book. I think that in a way this book should be read really close to 1q84 not only because they have a similar starting point, but also because they complete each other. The story was fascinating and I have to admit, very close to the end I was so much into it that I almost screamed in anger when it seemed that there is no hope left for the Galaxy. However, there is one thing that I couldn't swallow, and that is Bel and Pola's relationship, which at times felt forced and out ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my favorite type of sci-fi! time travel comparing pre-present day to the far future. In this future, Earth is the embarrassment of the galaxy, backward with outdated traditions and customs and a deep distrust of the rest of "mankind", who more than returns the sentiment. Lots of talk about radiation (written prior to our full understanding of radioactive weapons) and centered on one poor guy who accidentally slips through time because of it. A really fantastic book. Asimov's reputation is well-e ...more
Justin Rees
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This was my first Issac Asimov novel, and it made me an instant fan. Any man who can think of a story like a simple tailor being lifted into the future over a crack in the sidewalk, and actually make it substanial and brilliant, is a genius in my books. A must read for all science fiction lovers as this is where it all begins...
Chaitanya krishnan
One of my all time favourites by Asimov. Have re-read it several times over the years. one of the central plots of the old, elderly being thrown aside like they don't matter, left deep impact on my mind when i read it as a school student. It also has one of the most creative+accidental modes of time travel i've seen in scifi so far.
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book in 7th grade. It was my first science fiction book, and it hooked me. I think it is the reason I’m always looking for “fish out of water books. Asimov did a great job in placing a late 1940’s Chicago tailor into a world that was so different as to be unrecognizable to the main character.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Maybe 3 stars. This first novel of Asimov's was fun although the plot had some flaws. Perhaps most interesting was seeing the appearance of certain ideas which show up in his later books as well. ...more
Dragos Iosif
Mar 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
There are far too many coincidences, almost no science and the is barely a plot. Forgettable characters, no twist, nothing innovating.
It really has absolutely no redeeming value.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to see earlier Asimov, especially in the setting of the galactic empire. But the romance here (and overall sexism) was ridiculous, as well as so much random and disorganized plot. And the psychic powers are pretty weak, too. I'm also not sure what to make of his "I find no fault in this man." We clearly have a Pilate character as well as a Sanhedrin and so on, but the exact setting and characters don't map over exactly, so I'm not sure fully what was intended. Anyway, some good food ...more
Nutshell: bucolic twerp ripvanwinkles into a galactic imperial crisis.

A’s first novel, which displays an elevated rhetoric in comparison to later texts. I likes.

Protagonist had an “indiscriminate voracity” and a “trick memory” (9)—so, similar to Heinlein’s protagonist in Starman Jones, who also had a plot-significant eidetic memory. As readers of the Robot, Empire, and Foundation novels, we might chuckle at the irony in protagonist’s naïve but well stated belief “that Earth would [n]ever see th
Apr 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
The last Galactic Empire novel and the last book set on earth in the Foundation Universe (although Earth does become the focus again, of course, in Foundation and Earth). Although we know that Asimov didn't have the connected vision of our future history when he wrote this novel and I think it shows, especially with the ending that really doesn't gel with the rest of the series.

Still it was an engaging enough read. Interestingly, it is the only story I'm aware of in which he tried to connect the
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miei, 2010

E già, che libro!
letto in un batter d' cosa ci posso fare? lo ripeterò fino alla nausea..Asimov lo adoro!

Mi ha catturato da subito...lette solo due pagine e già non volevo separarmi più da libro!
Insomma non capita tutti i giorni di camminare e ritrovarsi in un'altra era!

Letto ovunque...lavoro (in pausa) treno, metro, mentre cucino, prima di andare a dormire...insomma era sempre con me!

Il libro ci introduce nella galassia precedente al ciclo delle fondazioni.
Shwarz sarto di se
Michael Nash
I’ve been pretty negative about Asimov’s Galactic Empire Series, and Pebble in the Sky is no different. The Foundation Series is great because it uses a structural view of history to deconstruct Space Opera, whereas the Galactic Empire is just Space Opera. Pebble had a lot of flaws: For a guy famous for “hard” science fiction, a lot of magic appears here, from an atomic particle somehow causing time travel to the same man gaining psychic powers from a device unironically called “the synapsifi ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This would make such a boring movie. No explosions. No evil alien attacks. Not even a whole lot of fighting. The climactic duel is fought first with mind control and then with words. So yeah. Boring movie, but fun book. This was Asimov's first published novel. His author voice must be very strong, because as I was listening to this book, I remembered two other books by him that I had read and completely forgotten. He was a very smart man. And I was so happy that he measures the galaxy in volumes ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-series
This is Isaac Asimov's first novel, expanded from an unpublished novella titled "Grow Old Along With Me" at the request of Doubleday. He had been writing short stories for more than a decade, mostly for Astounding - including most of what would become the Foundation novels.

Like the Foundation stories, these have an allegory to the Roman Empire - in this case, the Jewish revolt of 66 CE. At one point, the main character (Schwartz) is described as a Zealot, and in another section where the Earth p
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Incorrect Series order 2 57 Sep 10, 2008 04:21PM  
  • The Sands of Mars
  • Inferno (Isaac Asimov's Caliban, #2)
  • The Players of Null-A (Null-A #2)
  • The Green Hills of Earth
  • The Humanoids (Humanoids #1)
  • Big Planet
  • Perihelion (Isaac Asimov's Robot City, #6)
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
More about Isaac Asimov...

Other Books in the Series

Galactic Empire (3 books)
  • The Stars, Like Dust (Galactic Empire, #1)
  • The Currents of Space (Galactic Empire #2)
“Any planet is 'Earth' to those that live on it.” 1873 likes
“They won't listen. Do you know why? Because they have certain fixed notions about the past. Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes, even if it were the truth. They don't want the truth; they want their traditions.” 234 likes
More quotes…