Book Review: Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire #3) by Isaac Asimov (four stars)

Book Review: Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire #3) by Isaac Asimov (four stars)

‘Schwartz was a believer in the goodness of human nature. He didn’t think there would be another war. He didn’t think Earth would ever see again the sunlike hell of an atom exploded in anger.’

 Fun science fiction classic. Don’t let the series sequence number fool you, this is Asimov’s first science fiction novel. First. If you think you like science fiction and haven’t read this, you should. It’s not as good as his later work, but worth reading.

“By the life of the Emperor, your comrades of Earth are themselves the best such missionaries. Living here, as they do, cooped up on their deadly planet, festering in their own anger, they’re nothing but a standing ulcer in the Galaxy.” 

First published in 1950. Before the Cold War got cold, before Sputnik, before molecular biology. Allowing that, it works. In fact, Asimov seems prescient. I first read this decades ago; enjoyed it more now, especially as contemporary offerings are such thin soup.

‘The bloody fools! Who the devil did they think they were? Yes, yes, he knew. They thought they were the original humans, the inhabitants of the planet—The worst of it was he knew that they were right.’ 

Asimov’s ridicule of racism, sexism, novelists, and bureaucrats should resonate with modern readers, even as he suffers from a cringe-worthy quaintness endemic to his youth and time.

“It’s like a visicast, isn’t it, with the great all-conquering heroes zooming to victory in the nick of time? That’s where they usually end it. Only in our case the visicast went on and we found that nobody believed us.” 

1 thought on “Book Review: Pebble in the Sky (Galactic Empire #3) by Isaac Asimov (four stars)

  1. When I finish Pride’s Children (book 2 almost ready to publish, hope book 3 takes fewer than 7 years), I had though about tackling some SF, more from the human than the hard side. I certainly read tons in my youth, and then bailed when things got too weird for me (and I had a full time job, three small children, and then a chronic illness, but whatever). The questions remain: posit something – how do the humans respond? Because the readers are current-day, the books have to have a least a nod to that.

    Azimov’s first – don’t think I read this one, but did read plenty of his. Interesting guy. Fascinating intellect and range of interests.

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