Where I Got It: My library.
Who I Recommend This To: Space-Spy-Thriller fans would enjoy this book.
Narrator: Stephen Thorne
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America (2008)
Length: 7 hours, 22 minutes
Series: Book 1 Galactic Empire
The Galactic Empire series is made up of three very loosely connected books. In publication order they are: Pebble in the Sky (1950), The Stars, Like Dust (1951), and The Currents of Space (1952). The series order is as follows: The Stars, Like Dust, The Currents of Space, Pebble in the Sky. Or as near as I can tell, according to the various Wikipedia articles. So far, I have read 2 of these books and each stands alone just fine. I expect Pebble in the Sky will be the same.
When I finished reading this book, my impression was that Isaac Asimov watched several black and white espionage flicks, took his 3-4 favorite plot lines, twisted them together and wrote The Stars, Like Dust, and set it in space. The characters are a bit one dimensional, the plot predictable, and cliches have a free run. I think this is one of his earliest published novels; I can tell a significant difference in his story-building skills just between this novel and The Currents of Space.
With that said, it was still fun. Biron Farrill, a young physically fit male, gets tricked into a plot deeper than he is mentally prepared for. Of course, it starts with the death of his father, which could off-set anyone. He believes he must flee his university and Earth for his own safety. Along the way, he meets unexpected friends, and certain friends unexpectedly turn out to be villains. Artemisia, daughter of a powerful ruler, is the main, er…only, love interest being the single female character of the story. She disobeys her patriarch and has a mind of her own, even if it is mainly interested in Biron’s thigh strength. In the end, the good guys win while Artemisia was taken in a swoon, poor lass.
The narrator, Stephen Thorne, pulled off the different male voices well, with enthusiasm in the correct places. As there was only 1 lady, he only had to employ a semi-feminie voice on occassion, which worked well enough.
What I Liked: Asimov, even at his worst, is still pretty entertaining; Asimov pays attention to both male and female physique giving the ladies something to appreciate.
What I Disliked: Predictable plot; only 1 female and she doesn’t get a weapon and spends time in a faint.
This review is part of both The Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage SciFi Month and Stainless Steel Droppings’ The Science Fiction Experience. Vintage SciFi Month runs through January while The Science Fiction Experience runs through the end of February. Make sure to stop by both blogs to see what other scifi aficionados are up to.