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The Gods Themselves

April 27, 2008

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

The Gods Themselves is my second Asimov book — the first being Robot Dreams which is a collection of short stories. The novel is an exceptional work of science fiction, one that combines multiple parallel universes with different physical laws.

The novel tells the story of the electron pump. The pump transfers matter between parallel universes and generates energy on both by utilizing the difference in physical laws. The story then explores the consequences of this seemingly clean and free source of energy to both our universe and the parallel universe.

The book is divided into three parts. In the first part (Against Stupidity…) tells the story of Pater Lamont, a physicist-historian interested with the story behind the electron pump. During his research he found out that the pump could potentially destroy the solar system and attempts to stop it. I really love this story, brilliant and humorous. It truly is a story of a solitary man fighting against stupidity.

In the second part (…The Gods Themselves…) we see what happens on the other side of the pump. It tells the story of a triad or family of aliens named Odeen (a Rational), Dua (an Emotional), and Tritt (a Parental). Asimov’s unique description of the alien race is very detailed and clearly sets this novel apart from the others. The aliens are not human-like at all (their physical law is different) but Asimov easily makes them into uniquely believable individuals.

The last part (…Contend in Vain?) takes us to the moon where a self-educated physicist named Denison, which was briefly mentioned in the first part, tries to proof Lamont’s theories. This part also introduces an interesting moon-earth rivalry sub-plot.

I highly recommend this book. The science is a bit overwhelming in some parts, but don’t let it stop you. This one is a science-fiction gem.

12+/2008: My ninth book of the year. I’m starting to think 12 is too easy as a goal.


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