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40 of 50

  1. Alexander, Lloyd — The Black Cauldron
  2. Anthony, Piers — Letters to Jenny
  3. Cooper, Susan — Over Sea, Under Stone
  4. Proulx, Annie — Close Range: Wyoming Stories
  5. Kincaid, Jamaica — Lucy
  6. Christie, Agatha — The Unexpected Guest
  7. Dick, Philip K. — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  8. Cooper, Susan — The Dark Is Rising
  9. Cooper, Susan — Greenwitch
  10. Shaffer, Peter — Amadeus
  11. Anonymous — Go Ask Alice
  12. Cooper, Susan — The Grey King
  13. Martin, Steve — Shopgirl
  14. Cooper, Susan — Silver on the Tree
  15. Gaiman, Neil — Stardust
  16. Gaiman, Neil — Coraline
  17. Le Guin, Ursula — A Wizard of Earthsea
  18. Le Guin, Ursula — The Tombs of Atuan
  19. Le Guin, Ursula — The Farthest Shore
  20. Le Guin, Ursula — Tehanu
  21. Merton, Thomas — The Seven Storey Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith
  22. Alexander, Lloyd — The Castle of Llyr
  23. Zelazny, Roger — Lord of Light
  24. Card, Orson Scott — Ender's Game
  25. Clarke, Arthur C. — Childhood's End
  26. Grahame, Kenneth — The Wind in the Willows
  27. Dahl, Roald — James and the Giant Peach
  28. Lewis, C.S. — Out of the Silent Planet
  29. Lewis, C.S. — Perelandra
  30. Milne, A.A. — Winnie-the-Pooh
  31. Card, Orson Scott — Speaker for the Dead
  32. Bester, Alfred — The Stars My Destination
  33. Greene, Graham — The Power and the Glory
  34. Gaiman, Neil — Neverwhere
  35. Ballard, J.G. — The Drowned World
  36. Ballard, J.G. — Crash
  37. Joyce, James — The Dubliners
  38. Le Guin, Ursula — Tales from Earthsea
  39. Le Guin, Ursula — The Other Wind
  40. Asimov, Isaac — The Robots of Dawn

Since I had just finished one series with The Other Wind, I figured it was time to finish another series I'd started in the past couple of years. Thus, I pulled my tattered old copy of The Robots of Dawn off the shelf. (I guess technically Robots and Empire concludes the Robots series, but I didn't know that until a few minutes ago—and this is the last of the Lije Baley books.)

I have mixed feelings about this book. Asimov really put me off in the first 30 pages or so with what seems to me obviously sexist and racist attitudes. I don't think he means to have these attitudes or is mean-spirited about them: he is a product of his generation in many ways, and it shows. I suppose I should give him some credit for writing a woman into a position of power, for example, but the manner in which he does so undermines his effort.

His dialogues—they all seem so stilted, so unnatural. Please, skip the "witty" banter and get to the meat of the story, Isaac! He seems so much more in command when writing about robots and technology than people.

That said, I forced myself to finish the book and found myself enjoying it towards the end. Though it all seems a bit too put-on, he does create some compelling situations, and his writing has good pace to it. Heck, I think I would still consider reading Robots and Empire and then the Empire and Foundation series at some point. I'm certainly not in a rush, though.

A friend and I were discussing Asimov last week. We both agree: although he has written a lot of thought-provoking and enjoyable stuff, we don't feel he will ultimately stand the test of time. He's no Tolkien, Lewis, or Le Guin!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
I also talked to a friend about Asimov last week. She claimed to be a scifi fan yet never heard of him. I was floored.
Sep. 10th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
Asimov was as noted for how much he wrote as for what he wrote, writing hundreds of books on all kinds of topics in the long days, frequently 14 hours, he spent writing. He is probably as noted for his science fact material as for his science fiction. He was one of those strange people who could crank out finished copy, never having to go back to revise or correct what he produced. At least that is what I remember hearing many decades ago. For some reason he, like John Madden and a few others, refused to fly and would travel by bus or steamship. When he attended a party, he was usually the life of the party, being as noted for his wit and humor as for his exuberance.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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