Tag Archive | Isaac Asimov

The Caves of Steel by Asimov Review

A Spaceman – a specialist in robotics – has been murdered. Lije Baley, a plainclothesman of his time, combs the vast caves of steel in a tense hunt for a lone fanatic, for a murderer and for the solution to an almost perfect crime that could set an entire galaxy ablaze.

This wouldn’t have been a novel I chose to read myself.  My boyfriend reads nothing but Sci-Fi and really wanted me to try reading some – my experience of it was one or two pages of books before giving up as I didn’t understand the ‘worlds’.  But, one day he was telling me about this, and I thought it sounded pretty good.

I’m glad I did.  although it was written in 1958, because it is set in the future, you really can’t tell.  It’s set on earth in a couple of thousand years!!

The future earth Asimov has created in this novel is completely different to anything we know now – but it’s believable.  Apparently Sci-Fi novels have to be based on something that’s believable.  There’s a lot of explanation throughout the book about how the world developed.  Most of it I understood, which I wasn’t expecting. 

The characters are three dimensional – as I was reading I’d sometimes even forget the humanoid robot was in fact a robot and not human. 

For me, the mystery that must be solved about the murder wasn’t as interesting as the other sub-plots going on and the detail about the earth.  I did really enjoy it, and would recommend it to anyone – whether they ‘like’ Sci-Fi or not.  There are more books in this series, so I’ll definitely be checking them out at some point.

Exciting Stuff

Actually quite a few exciting (to me anyway) things to write about today.  Yay.

Most importantly – I’ve finished reading the modules I needed to for my writing course.  That means I can get on with the assignment now.  Yay.  This morning I read through the first section and have made notes.  Can’t wait to get started, except I have a few ideas and don’t know which one to go with.  It’s only 750 words, so I might try more than one and use the best.  Something I’ve done with every assignment I’ve handed in so far.

Also at the end of last week I finished reading Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl.  Ah, it was great.  I actually laughed out loud at one part.  I think I was on the tube at the time.  Laughing I don’t mind on the tube, it’s crying that I don’t like doing.   

I only wanted to read it because it was by Sophie Kinsella and I love her books.  The idea didn’t interest me all that much.  But, I’m really glad I did.  I actually think it would make a very funny movie.  I can just picture her talking to the ghost, but everyone else seeing her talk to thin air.

So, I finished the novel I was reading; I finished the modules I was reading for my course; I had nothing to read.  Until… I went to my boyfriend’s and he convinced me to take one of his Sci-fi novels.  Somthing he’d been trying to do for a while as I don’t read Sci-fi, and he thinks I should.  He’d only just finished reading it, and the week prior had told me all about it – it actually sounded really good.  I’m a few chapters in, and am really enjoying it. 

BUT, in my mind I don’t classify it as Sci-fi.  It was written in I think the 1960s (correction – 1953) and is about a world in the future.  Which I guess yeah IS sci-fi, but hey.  I’ve just discovered it’s the first in a series… this could be bad.  I-Robot is part of the series too – the book that was turned into a Will Smith film.  From what I remember I really enjoyed the film – it will be interesting to see what I think when I read that book.  (I’m not looking forward to seeing my boyfriend after he reads this – he’ll be so triumphant that I’m not only enjoying this book, but that I want to read more!).

It’s kind of made me realise a few books I’ve read in the past probably go in the Sci-fi bracket.  Well, at least one.  Can’t remember the name, but it was a Ben Elton book set in the future.  Yeah, I guess Sci-fi.  And maybe The Time Traveller’s Wife.  Although I’d class it as romance, I guess the whole time travelling thing is.

Oh oh, something else exciting.  I subscribe to a newsletter from the Creative Competitor website.  because I’m subscribed I can get a free copy of a 20 page booklet called Quick and Easy Creative Writing Prompts.  I’ve just received it.  Woop!

I’m sure there was more exciting stuff going on.  But I can’t remember. 

I’m going to the gym this evening for the first time in about 3 months.  I think I went a couple of times in January.  It’s so much easier to think about doing that when it’s light when I leave work! 

Final exciting thing – Flash Forward is back tonight.  I’m so excited! A Double episode too. Oh yay!

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #141 – February 5th 2010

How Fiction Friday works:

  • Spend at least 5 minutes composing something original based on the theme or challenge (below).
  • But, remember, no editing. This is to inspire creativity not stifle it.
  • On Friday, simply post what you wrote to your own blog. Then come back to Write Anything and leave the link in the comment section below.  

Pick a book of fiction you’d never read (e.g., if you read sci-fi, pick a romance). Open to a random page and read the last couple paragraphs of the page. DO NOT TURN THE PAGE. Now continue writing the story. Feel free to change the genre as you write.

 What?  Are you kidding?  That’s hard.  Right here goes then.  My extract is from the novel my boyfriend is currently reading The Stars Like Dust by Isaac Asimov (for information, it was publised 1955).  I asked for page 25, but he said it was ‘wishy washy’ go gave me this from page 24:

The view-room was a bubble on the ship’s “skin”, a bubble of curved two-foot-thick, steel-hard transparent plastic. The retractile iridium-steel lid which protected it against the scouring of the atmosphere and its dust particles had been sucked back. The lights were out and the gallery was full. The faces peering over the bars were clear in the earth-shine.

 For earth was suspended there below, a gigantic and gleaming orange-and-blue-and-white patched balloon. The hemisphere  showing was almost entirely sunlit; the continents between the clouds, a desert orange, with thin, scattered lines of green. The seas were  blue, standing out sharply against the black of space where they met the horizon. And all around in the black, undusted sky were the stars.

Using that and this picture:

I got this…

The second the earth came into view gasps and mutters filled the room like a tide.  Then silence, the passengers were in awe of the view.  No one could quite believe they were actually seeing the early from this high, and all for a couple of hundred thousand dollars. 

A voice came over the tannoy,

‘10 seconds’

The muttering started again.  They all knew they would only have one minute and 20 seconds in position before they had to start the decent back to Florida, but the time seemed to flash quicker than anyone imagined.

 ‘5 Seconds’.

Julie turned to the man to her right, she recognised him as an aging pop star.  20 years ago she’d idolised him, going to bed each night dreaming of him, now, he looked like a washed up has been. 

‘This is the bit I’ve been dreading’ she said smiling at him.  He smiled back, a smile that showed off his brilliant white teeth and more ‘laughter lines’ than Julie’s 95 year old mother had. 

‘It can’t be as bad as the way up…’

As he finished his sentence they felt the bubble detach from the rocket booster – a ungodly sound that they knew would haunt their dreams for months to come – before their whole bodies were thrust back into their seats and the earth quickly got closer.

When I read the prompt my heart sank.  I’d spent half the week looking forward to Fiction Friday, and then it was something that I was sure I was going to hate.  I knew I really had to use sci-fi or horror which I thought was going to be horrible.  I’ve tried reading sci-fi before and I find it hard to read, trying to understand other worlds or other creatures kind of detracts from me picturing the story in my head, which is what I do when I read. 

Even when I read the extract from the book I had no idea what I was going to write.  I actually chose 2 of the 4 paragraphs my boyfriend emailed me from the book.  The other 2 didn’t make sense talking about rockets blasting sideways or something.  I scrapped them before I’d even read half. 

Once I started writing though, I didn’t find it too bad.  Maybe because I took some sci-fi from the 1950s and changed it into what would probably be a thriller or dark comedy or something set in the future.  I nearly didn’t do it when I read the prompt, but I’m glad I did.  Again, I welcome any positive or negative criticism. 

Elsewhere in the NTWG galaxy, I think I’ve made a decision that the first short story I’m going to write for my writing course will be a lengthened story I’ve done before for Fiction Friday.  That’s what I think today anyway, I’ll probably change my mind a few times before I send it off.  Next week.  I’m going to complete this assignment and send it next week.  For definite.  By Friday at the very latest. 

I’ve just done the Oneword activity for today (use a word prompt to write for a timed minute).  Talk about coincidences, or maybe psychic abilities… Before I start each one I think of the names that I’ll use in that short story.  As I pressed ‘go’ I realised I hadn’t thought of a name.  I closed my eyes before the prompt came on and ‘Joe’ popped into my head.  I looked at the prompt and it was ‘brother’.  Guess who Joe is…