Book Review: The Currents of Space (Galactic Empire #2) by Isaac Asimov (four stars)
“Don’t you know that everything in all the Galaxy is mostly Nothing?”
“No school like the old school.” Published in 1952, this story is better than much of today’s science fiction. Asimov competently weaves the science of his day into an engaging tale of amnesia, power, and apocalypse.
‘It took hours to reach a point far enough from star-mass distortion of the space fabric to make a jump possible.’
Many tropes of subsequent science fiction are already present: faster-than-light jumping, galactic empires, and orbital dynamics. He also addresses social issues of his day—racism, sexism, classism, power politics—though from the point of view of mid-twentieth century. (Younger readers may have doubts.) Of course, there’s a lot of pseudo-scientific hand waving, but its no worse than subsequent franchises.
‘No Florinian could, of course, be more than a clerk, regardless of how much of the actual threads of office ran through his white fingers.’
His character building and storytelling stand up well. His language and social habits are credible and inoffensive. Though this tale becomes an origin story for his Foundation series, the story admits standalone reading.
“May the Spirit of the Galaxy watch over the Squires as they watch over us.”