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The Gods Themselves Mass Market Paperback – September 4, 1990

4.3 out of 5 stars 267 customer reviews

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Winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award.

From the Publisher

Only a few know the terrifying truth--an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun. They know the truth--but who will listen? They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy--but who will believe? These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (September 4, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553288105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553288100
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's been a while since I read any of Asimov's books - the Foundation series has always been one of my favorite science fiction series. Therefore, I decided to read another classic of Asimov (or at least, so I've been told). "The Gods Themselves" didn't surprise me, yet I was also surprised. Why? Well, the book was terrific, definitely one of Isaac Asimov's greatest novels. But also, I was surprised to see such an amazing description of a fascinating alien society - Asimov usually does not like to write about aliens (at least, that's the impression I've gotten from reading his books), but the "alien part" of the book was SO good, and so well conceived and written, it made me wish Asimov would've written more books in this style.

What is the book about? The book contains 3 parts, each is actually a separate story which revolve around the same theme.
The first part tells the story of Dr. Peter Lamont, a physicist, which recalls how the "Electric Pump", a device which enables receiving a near-infinite amount of energy as a result of matter transferral between our universe, and another universe which has different laws of nature. Lamont finds that this device might destroy our solar system, and this story depicts his attempt to stop the pump. I really liked this story. It's written in typical Asimov style: witty, humorous and totally brilliant.

The second part tells the story of Odeen, Dua and Tritt - an alien "Triplet" (3 beings which are a family). These aliens live in the other universe and the story describes what happens on this side of the pump (as a result of the events from part one). As I mentioned before, this part was truly amazing.
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By A Customer on August 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Asimov's fiction as well as his science essays since childhood. I've read his Foundation novels, Robot novels, and various unrelated fiction and factual material. While most of his works have usually appealed to me, I can say with little reservation that "The Gods Themselves" is my favorite Asimov novel - and certainly earns a prominent spot in my personal "Top 10".
One of the things I like about this novel is the way the Friedrich von Schiller quotation "Against stupidity, the [very] Gods themselves contend in vain" is worked into the story. The three phrases that make up this quote - "Against Stupidity...", "...The Gods Themselves...", and "...Contend In Vain?" are used as chapter titles - and, what's more, these titles are quite appropos to the theme of each chapter.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the novel is the second chapter, which portrays a most unusual, and wholly believable and consistent alien race. Science fiction authors often struggle with the difficulty of portraying an alien race that is different enough from humans to be believable as aliens, yet similar enough to make their motives and culture graspable by a human reader. Asimov succeeds brilliantly in this task, something I can say for only a few other SF titles.
At the risk of sounding PC, I was also pleased that Asimov introduced a strong female supporting character, something not usually found in most of his works. The "Selene" character introduced in the third chapter is reminescent of the strong female leads found in many Heinlien novels.
Any fan of Asimov's works - or, for that matter, any fan of good science fiction should add this book to their essential collection.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love the Asimov robot novels and also the Foundation series. What Asimov lacks in character development, he makes up for in excellent plots with good surprises throughout. "The Gods Themselves" is an interesting book--it's later Asimov and it's not a robot novel nor a Foundation novel. It deals with a major discovery, the "electron pump" which looks to be a source of unlimited, free energy, and two groups of scientists in parallel universes who each have an agenda that threatens to obscure a dangerous truth.

In this novel, Asimov creates a totally believable alien race, complete with three sexes (and he deftly handles their mating or lovemaking with amazing sensitivity and creativity.) A bridge between the alien universe and ours offers something for each side, seemingly for free, but scientists on both sides begin to sense that something is evilly wrong. How the wrong is righted is quite surprising and touching. The alien adolescents Odeen, Dua and Tritt are fascinating together. Dua shines as a conflicted, troubled and unusually intelligent person who turns out to be quite the heroine. (Incidentally the names are sorta-kinda "one", "two" and "three" in Russian)

The third part of the novel is the weakest (where the people on the Moon figure out what's happening with the Proton Pump.) It has the worst of Asimov's attempts to write romance. And the first section can be a bit slow unless you have worked in academia, in which case, his characterization of professors and their internal wars is spot-on (you wonder, what was life like when Asimov was a professor at Boston University. Probably pretty acrimonious at some point.
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