Review of “The Currents of Space” by Isaac Asimov

This is the second book in The Galactic Empire series, and although it was a bit better than the first, this series is not nearly as good as the robot books.

Part of the problem is that we don’t get much of a sense of what has happened in the galaxy since the end of the robot series. There’s a planet, Trantor, that’s running a very large galactic empire. The number of planets is many times larger than at the end of the robot series. We don’t know much about these planets, so frankly I never really cared much when events unfolded. We also don’t know what happened to the spacer/Earthman/settler divide that characterized the robot series, though it appears the Earthman/settler side won. For whatever reason, robots seem to have disappeared as well.

In this book, there’s one independent planet oppressing another and the story is mostly of overcoming this oppression. Yawn.

Some rather bad scientific theories follow. There’s some discussion of Earth. It appears these advanced people of the future have very poor recording keeping, since they don’t seem to know that Earth was where humanity started. Science Fiction of the pre-early-internet days always seems to underestimate improvements in information technology. Anyway, the discussion of Earth doesn’t seem to go anywhere (I believe it’s setting up the next book).

To be honest, I’m glad there’s only one more book in this series before the Foundation Series starts.

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5 Responses to Review of “The Currents of Space” by Isaac Asimov

  1. jim says:

    They don’t remember the location of earth, because civilization has collapsed at least once, and probably multiple times, between the robot histories and the foundation histories.

    The foundation series assumes that progress, far from being inevitable, is fragile.

    • Foseti says:

      Yes, but we know a fair bit about ancient Egypt, no?

      • Zimriel says:

        We know a fair bit about Bronze Age Egypt. But nobody in – say – `Abbasid-run Egypt knew anything about it. (This when they did know a fair bit about their own history, and about Rome’s, and about Sassanid Persia’s.)

        In an empire concerned with only practical matters, knowledge of history falls by the wayside.

        And what gets forgotten, stays forgotten. An Englishman in 1750 AD didn’t know any more about ancient Egypt than did an Egyptian in 750.

      • Foseti says:

        They might have known much about ancient Egypt, but they knew that it existed. You can’t walk through Rome today without running into an obelisk pilfered by the Romans.

      • Zimriel says:

        (by “their own history” of course I mean `Abbasid and late Umayyad Arab history.)

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