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The Currents of Space Paperback – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765319179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765319173
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the world's premier science fiction writers."
--Newsday

“Isaac Asimov is the greatest explainer of the age."
--Carl Sagan

“For fifty years it was Isaac Asimov's tone of address that all the other voices of SF obeyed.… For five decades his was the voice to which sf came down in the end. His was the default voice of SF."
--The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

About the Author

Isaac Asimov, author of the Foundation trilogy and many other novels, was one of the great SF writers of the twentieth century.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on January 1, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After finishing "The Stars, Like Dust", Asimov started working on a third novel which would be called "The Currents of Space", which he was intending to publish in "Astounding". After discussing the idea with Walter Bradbury of Doubleday & Co., Bradbury expressed interest in publishing the third novel as he had the first two. The novel was published in October - December of 1952 in "Astounding", and by Doubleday in December.

"The Currents of Space" is easily the best of the three precursor novels to the Foundation series which have become known as the Galactic Empire Series; however that is not all that difficult. This story takes place in Asimov's universe chronologically between the other two books, at a time when Trantor had become an empire, but not the Galactic Empire that it would become later.

The story is centered on the planet Florina and on a man named Rik, who initially appears to be mentally challenged, but who is in fact a spatio-analyst from Earth who has had much of his mind erased by a Psychic Probe after he tried to warn of the impending destruction of the planet. When Rik's memory starts to return, people from Trantor and Sark (the world which rules Florina), and perhaps others as well become aware of his existence and try to find and control him.

As with the first two Galactic Empire novels, Asimov wrote an afterword where he explains the scientific errors in the story. In this story the error is rather significant to the plot; however, the other elements of this story do not suffer as badly as they did in "Pebble in The Sky" or "The Stars, Like Dust". Regardless, this is only a fairly average novel, and not the best place to start if you are unfamiliar with Isaac Asimov.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. L. MILLER on July 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One day, on an agricultural colony planet run by a empire as harsh as the Roman Empire in biblical times, a local functionary finds a man whose mind has been destroyed in one of his town's fields. A peasant woman is tasked to re-raise this man from pretty much a second infancy. But now things are starting to come back, and the supervisor, although a native himself, sees the threat this poses to his masters' power. The principal crop on this world is a form of cotton that grows only this way on his planet--it's used in expensive clothing. But before his mind was "wiped", the victim was a scientist who had discovered a menace which threatened that planet. Although the story has Ludlumesque head games by people in power, its strong point is in the human factor in the form of the victim, his female protector, as well as his former boss who's concerned about what became of him. That's why I say Wouk. But this is a sci fi book, right? Well, don't let that scare you off. It's a hell of a story in a middlin' size book--you don't get the two in a single package all that often.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Craig MACKINNON on November 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read all of Asimov's early works, it's fair to say that this is the best of the crop of the Empire novels, and is better than all the Robot novels as well. It's not quite up to the Foundation stories, hence the rating of 4 stars.
The plot is interesting, and has aged well. There is not very much that makes you snicker in the light of current scientific knowledge. He has a lot of characters for a 200 page book, but it is never confusing; they are individuals and it's easy to keep them separated in your mind. The story draws you in and keeps you interested from beginning to end.
Asimov had the tendency to throw too many cliffhangers/revelations that didn't go anywhere in his early novels (as compared to, say, Nightfall), and it feels like he's cheaply manipulating the reader. This book, while containing some of these events, are far more logical and less contrived than in the other Empire and Robot novels. This makes it a far more enjoyable read.
It is a shame that these books are out of print. I think the fact that 14 people have written reviews of this book points to the fact that there is still a following for Asimov out there, and maybe the publishers should print another edition of these early books, even in a single volume (as each Empire book is only 200 pages or so).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on December 19, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's actually nice to finally be able to read this novel. I bought the darn thing probably around fifteen years ago when I was a teenager and on an Asimov kick. What I didn't realize at the time was that it was the only novel in the Empire series in print. Being slightly picky about such things (and probably not totally realizing that the novels aren't all that related) I tried to order the other two, failed, and then put this volume aside for quite some time. Eventually due to the magic of the Internet, I was able to find used copies of the other two and I was able to satisfy my strange urge to read them all in a row.

Was it worth it? Actually, it was. I'm glad that I read it after the first two volumes because there's such an uptick in . . . I won't say "quality" because all three are decent but however you want to quantify the elusive factor known as "knowing what you're doing." Inspiration, maybe? That could be it. This one feels more inspired.

After a beginning where a scientist predicts that a planet will be destroyed to someone who not only openly scoffs but then proceeds to drug and mindwipe the poor guy, we're shifted to the world of Florina, ruled by Sark. Upon arriving we discover worker Rik, who was mysteriously found in a field a year ago knowing little more than a baby did and slowly putting himself back together and learning basic skills. Until more than basic science skills come back to him, kicking off a search that threatens to drag every conceivable faction into the mess.

Of all the Empire novels, this one shows off Asimov's sometimes underrated skill at building intensity, something that we only really saw in the early Robot novels.
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