Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If I only ever read one book by...

I've been trying to get a bit better acquainted with the classics of the science fiction genre for the last two years or so. During that time I have read books by Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Frederik Pohl, C.L. Moore, Jack Vance, Frank Herbert and Philip K. Dick to name a few. I haven't exhausted the bibliography by these authors by a long shot (and in a few cases I probably never will) but once in a while I like expand my horizon a bit. There are plenty of authors who are missing in this very modest list but one of the more obvious names that comes to mind is Isaac Asimov.

I've looked around a bit and found out the man has a bibliography the size of your average phone book (did they publish his grocery lists too?) so I have no idea where to begin. I could take the easy route and pick up Foundation but picking a book because it is the author's best known work doesn't strike me as a particularly good way of selecting my reading material. So my question to you, if I only ever read one book by Isaac Asimov, which one should it be?


  1. It's been years and years since I read any Asimov, but recently I decided I would like to reread Foundation, having first read it before I had any real critical faculties with regards to SF. I'm wondering what my experience will be, this time around. Your remark about not picking his best known book as a matter of course is valid, but in this case I think I would still recommend going for Foundation. I've read some of his other novels, and some of them may even be better, but the first three Foundation books are the ones that have stuck in my mind, for their sheer scope and ambition.

    You could also look for his short stories. He's written loads of them. The ones in the I, Robot collection are valid candidates, but try Tales of the Black Widowers for straight mystery writing.

    I'm not a great fan of Asimov's, really, but this is my 2c.

  2. Hmm, I have a stack of short fiction waiting to be read. I'd rather not add to that right now. One vote for Foundation it is ;)

  3. Foundation, Second Foundation and certainly Foundation and empire are is his best (in my humble opinion). I've read the series only two years ago and would recommend it warmly. The other work of Asimov did not appeal to me as the (original) Foundation Series did.

  4. Hmm, I guess I will go for the best known work after all then. At least it will be easy to find.