The Currents of Space Hardcover – April 27, 2009
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|Hardcover, April 28, 2009||
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“Obviously, Isaac Asimov had a lot of fun concocting this merry tangle of interplanetary power politics. . . . If it isn't often science-fiction, it is always beautifully contrived melodrama. The reader will have just as much fun as Mr. Asimov.”
--The New York Times on The Currents of Space
"Science fiction on the larger scale is Isaac Asimov's specialty. . . . Clear writing and excellent suspense make this book a welcome addition to the science fiction lists."
--The New York Times on The Stars, Like Dust
“How do you explain Isaac Asimov to Earth men? How do you even begin to describe that glorious union of all-American optimism, bleeding-heart Yiddishkeit, and cutting-edge science speculation? You can’t. He’s one of a kind. . . . Psycho-history buffs will love this book for its through-the-looking-glass view of the Foundation series. Everyone else will love it because it’s fun, fun, fun.”
--Fantasy & Science Fiction on Pebble in the Sky
About the Author
- Publisher : Tor Books; First Edition (April 27, 2009)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765319160
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765319166
- Item Weight : 11.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.44 x 0.92 x 8.48 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,755,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Asimov presents a futuristic version of the antebellum South with a material akin to cotton serving as the unique resource from which another planet derives their wealth. He also deftly displays competing interests vying for position within the overall galactic empire. The backseat both science and basic human dignity take relative political and economic interests as well as raw personal ambition, while not desirable, is nevertheless quite realistic. While still short in the areas of character development, the plot is well structured and unfolds nicely.
The only thing I have changed in my order of reading is to put the two prequels to the Foundation series before the series and not after, although they were written by Asimov afterwards. However, my reason for suggesting to read them afterwards is still valid. I just made a personal choice to read them first, since I had already gone through the Foundation series some 20 years ago. So for me they will be both before and after, since I'll be reading theFoundation series again this year.
This story is set on the planet Florina, which is harshly ruled by the nearby planet Sark. Florina, alone in the Galaxy, produces Kyrt, which is a fabric with fabulous qualities and which makes Florina the key to great wealth for its Sarkian overlords. No one knows why only Florina can produce Kyrt, and the reason for this contains the doom of Florina. More would be telling; no spoilers here.
This is quite a serviceable story, which has aged well despite certain anachronisms. I first read it as a teenager, and after picking it up after a delay of nearly 35 years I still enjoyed the book. This is not always true when revisiting books one enjoyed as a youth.
Asimov was a giant of science fiction, and with his passing it is good to see that his stories are being republished and that they will be available for future generations of readers. This one is very recommended, and I rate it 3 stars only because so many of Asimov's other works are even better than this one.
The Trantorian empire is closing in on it's conquest of the galaxy. But, the planet Sark stands in the path of this conquest. Sark is an independent planet but, more important, is its sale of kyrt. Kyrt, a cotton-like substance, is the foundation of most of the materials in the galaxy and is only available from Sark.
Sark doesn't produce kyrt by itself. Instead, kyrt is grown on the planet Florina. Sark uses the population of Florina as cheap slave labor to produce kyrt. Many have tried, but none have succeeded in growing kyrt anywhere but on Florina. These imitations are more like plain cotton and nowhere near the quality of kyrt. Due to this relationship, Sark has become extremely powerful and wealthy, while Florina has suffered under the rule of Sark.
But, a man has entered the picture with information which could prove devastating to Sark, Florina, and Trantor. This man claims to have knowledge that Florina and it's valuable supply of kyrt is in danger of being destroyed. This leads to an exciting story of murder, political manuvering, and intrigue.
I'm a big fan of science fiction, but this is only the 2nd Asimov novel that I've read, the other being the classic "Nightfall", which I also recommend. I thought this book was good, but I had some difficulty following the story. I thought Asimov introduced too many characters in such a short book, too. However, I did enjoy the story and I plan on reading "Pebble in the Sky" and "The Stars, Like Dust".
Asimov is one of the masters of science fiction authors, and this book is a good choice for fans of science fiction.
Top reviews from other countries
What else is there to say? If you like English-language science fiction, the Empire series has to be on your must-read list! In these three novels, Asimov sets up the grand stage of a Galactic Empire upon which the events of his epic seven-volume Foundation series takes place.
In “The Currents of Space”, the story is set on a planet called Florina, which is controlled by people living on another planet called Sark. The Florinian people do not have much freedoms; all they do is to harvest a crop called kyrt for the Sarkites, who are extremely wealthy because kyrt is extremely valuable as a fabric material and it doesn't grow anywhere else in the Galaxy. Well, one day, a strange, naked, mentally-retarded man is found lying by a road on Florina …