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Book Review

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The Currents of Space


Author: Issac Asimov
Publisher: Harper Voyager
220 pages
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 0 00 851617 8
Publication Date: 17 August 2023

Harper Voyager books republishes The Currents of Space – the second book of the Galactic Empire Series and the precursor to the ground-breaking epic science fiction Foundation books. The author, Issac Asimov, was the most prolific SF writer of his time. By the time of his death in 1992 he had written hundreds of novels and short stories, including the iconic I, Robot – the first book to state The Three Laws of Robotics, which contemporary scientists still adhere to today. He was presented with the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula once. As well as science fiction, he also wrote detective mystery stories, a four volume History of North America, encyclopedias, a biographical dictionary, textbooks, and a two-volume autobiography. In Currents of Space, a man without a memory slowly recovers fragments of his past. He knows that a cataclysmic disaster is imminent, and that the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance. But there are individuals who would prevent this revelation at all costs. Who can be trusted in a two-world hierarchy where the extravagant Squires of Sark rule over the lowly Florinians, who labour perpetually for their masters. Rebellion is considered impossible; but both worlds are equally in peril.

I was raised on a staple diet of science fiction writers such as Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Orson Scott Card and Alan Dean Foster. I lapped-up everything I could lay my hands on, before smoothly moving onto the next. When presented with this reprint from 1952, I had no idea if my tastes had changed over the years. I read a lot of classic horror and mystery now and so suspected I would find this difficult to return to. How wrong can you be? I was sucked-in from the very first page. Asimov primarily wrote ‘people stories’ wrapped-up in a tantalising SF setting. His background in science (he was a doctor of biochemistry, an instructor at the Boston University of Medicine and, ultimately, Associate Professor, before leaving to concentrate full-time on his writing) grounds the story with more realism than many SF books could.

Nevertheless, no matter how tantalising this novel is, hindsight tells us that The Currents of Space is only a teaser. The best is yet to come with the Foundation saga – considered by many to be the best SF book series ever.


Ty Power

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