The Gods Themselves

Monday, June 24, 2013


The Gods Themselves
Isaac Asimov, 1972

Hugo Winner - 1973

Premise: The Electron Pump is the most revolutionary invention in history, creating free energy through a complicated exchange system with another universe. Only young physicist Lamont begins to believe that the downsides to the Pump might soon outweigh the benefits...

This was a great read. It’s divided into three sections, which were originally published as (and still work as) separate but interlinked stories. The first part works the best on its own, and I was actually a little disappointed that the story continued; it has such a great, pointed ending.

The second section takes place in the parallel universe, focused on an utterly alien, three-gendered race. This was equally fascinating for completely different reasons. The social structure and norms of the aliens are not completely divorced from human culture, but there are tons of intriguing wrinkles. If you’re not paying attention, you might miss the allusion to masturbation in the description of one character's experiences growing up, it’s subtle. The ways that these characters interact, socially and physically, are really interesting. Dua, the “Emotional” in the trio the story follows, is the most compelling and sympathetic character, for all that she’s single-minded and sometimes shallow.

The third section is back in Earth’s universe, although it takes place with a new group of characters on the Moon. It’s well written, interesting, and enjoyable to read, however it didn’t have the same impact as the first two sections. Now, bear in mind, ‘not having quite the same impact’ still places it pretty high up on a list of great works of science fiction. Overall, I found this to be an extremely satisfying book, both to read and to think about later.

5 Stars - An Awesome Book

List of Hugo Winners

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