James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Contributor

Reviews by Contributor: Asimov, Isaac (14)

You’ll Get The Message By The Time I’m Through

Before the Golden Age

 Edited by Isaac Asimov 

17 Jul, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Isaac Asimov’s massive 1974 Before the Golden Age is, as its cover subtitle promises, a Science Fiction Anthology of the 1930s.” In one sense, the subtitle is accurate: the stories predate the supposed golden age of SF, that period between 1938 and 1950, after John W. Campbell, Jr. became editor of Astounding and before Galaxy and The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy offered a broader vision than that offered by Campbell and his idiosyncratic tastes. 

In another sense, the subtitle is quite false. 

Read more ➤

Time Was Just A Clock To Me

The End of Eternity

By Isaac Asimov  

12 Apr, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Isaac Asimov’s 1955 The End of Eternity is a standalone1 time-travel thriller.

A secretive cabal of Eternals (recruited from the mundanes of various periods) guide human destiny. They monopolize time travel and monitor human societies over a span of 70,000 centuries. They steer societies away from extremes and disasters, towards sustainable optimums. Andrew Harlan is a loyal member of the cabal, known as Eternity. 

Or rather, he was. Now he is working to destroy Eternity.

Read more ➤

Secrets Stolen From Deep Inside

Pebble in the Sky  (Trantorian Empire, volume 1)

By Isaac Asimov  

1 Dec, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

Asimov’s 1950 Pebble in the Sky is either the first (by publication date) or the third (by internal chronology) of three standalone novels (The Stars, Like Dust, The Currents of Space, and Pebble in the Sky) set some millennia prior to the beginning of the Foundation trilogy. The three novels form a loose trilogy that has been dubbed the Empire novels or sometimes the Galactic Empirenovels.

The Stars, Like Dustis set long before Trantor began its rise to power; The Currents of Space is set during its rise. Pebble in the Sky is set at the height of the Galactic Empire’s power. 

The book opens with an Eisenhower-era tailor, Joseph Schwartz, who finds himself transported onto a desolate alien world. He later learns that he is still on Earth, an Earth of the far future. The plant has been scoured by nuclear war. Even though this happened some time ago, Earth is still radioactive in places and is largely sterile. 

Read more ➤

One classic and three others

The Martian Way and Other Stories

By Isaac Asimov  

10 Jan, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1955’s The Martian Way and Other Stories is a collection of four short works by Isaac Asimov, one of which is, I think, rather well known. The three others? Not so much. Still, this was one of my go-to books as a teen. I just didn’t (and still don’t) think the other three stories had the same oomph as The Martian Way.

So how well did this classic stand up, you ask?

Read more ➤