Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov

I have always been a big Asimov fan. I've read almost all of his work. (He has been extremely prolific so it's hard to be sure.) Or at least all of his science fiction work. Recently I decided to revisit some of the old classics.

Pebble in the Sky was a big disappointment. The writing is clunky and full of old writing styles that make it hard to read. The casual sexism bothered me. I thought it wouldn't bother me because I know that it was written at a time when such sexism was acceptable. But it does bother me a lot. There is one single female character in the entire book and she has no agency at all. In fact, she actually asks the man she's interested in to 'put his arms around her' to protect her in case of trouble. The man is question is constantly talking about bashing someone's teeth in if they threaten to disrespect her in any way.

The book is also a stark reminder of how much our world has changed because of the internet. People in this novel still carry paper money around even thought it's 50,000 years into the future. Books have to be read on book projectors. Of course, Asimov couldn't have predicted the internet in the 50s. Still, it makes the books strange to read. Which makes me wonder if most science fiction would age this badly.

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