Author: Isaac Asimov
Type: Fiction, short stories
Full title: Buy Jupiter and Other Stories
I read it: October 2013
My first foray into Asimov. It was a bit of an odd one to kick off with: a collection of miscellaneous stories that had been published in magazines but not yet anthologized. The stories are quite uneven, many having too pointed of a Point, like a solid idea that needs a larger format–a novella maybe–to shape characters around a stimulating intellectual possibility. Most are pleasant and some more lighthearted than others, like “Button, Button” or “A Statue for Father.” They are good when they have a foreboding to them, as in “Rain, Rain, Go Away.” The absolute best provide both a gripping story with a unique sci-fi premise. This does not happen, unfortunately, in the title story, but rather in something like “Each An Explorer,” which contemplates alien worlds and who or what is in control of the environments.
Though perhaps not the most solid Asimov collection, in another way it was a good overview of him as a conversational person and career writer. Each story is followed with his thoughts on its origins, then his comments on the upcoming story. He narrates his life trajectory along the way, and since the stories are ordered chronologically by original publication, it’s a nice glimpse at the decades he lived through and what genre publishing looked like at the time. Asimov is clearly a big thinker with strong narrative skills, so I’m looking forward to a novel at some point.