Hot Best Seller

Gold: The Final Science Fiction Collection

Availability: Ready to download

Gold is the final and crowning achievement of the fifty-year career of science fiction's transcendent genius, the world-famous author who defined the field of science fiction for its practitioners, its millions of readers, and the world at large. The first section contains stories that range from the humorous to the profound, at the heart of which is the title story, "Gold, Gold is the final and crowning achievement of the fifty-year career of science fiction's transcendent genius, the world-famous author who defined the field of science fiction for its practitioners, its millions of readers, and the world at large. The first section contains stories that range from the humorous to the profound, at the heart of which is the title story, "Gold," a moving and revealing drama about a writer who gambles everything on a chance at immortality: a gamble Asimov himself made -- and won. The second section contains the grand master's ruminations on the SF genre itself. And the final section is comprised of Asimov's thoughts on the craft and writing of science fiction.


Compare

Gold is the final and crowning achievement of the fifty-year career of science fiction's transcendent genius, the world-famous author who defined the field of science fiction for its practitioners, its millions of readers, and the world at large. The first section contains stories that range from the humorous to the profound, at the heart of which is the title story, "Gold, Gold is the final and crowning achievement of the fifty-year career of science fiction's transcendent genius, the world-famous author who defined the field of science fiction for its practitioners, its millions of readers, and the world at large. The first section contains stories that range from the humorous to the profound, at the heart of which is the title story, "Gold," a moving and revealing drama about a writer who gambles everything on a chance at immortality: a gamble Asimov himself made -- and won. The second section contains the grand master's ruminations on the SF genre itself. And the final section is comprised of Asimov's thoughts on the craft and writing of science fiction.

30 review for Gold: The Final Science Fiction Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eirin

    It feels odd sitting down to review this book, because on page 309, in the Essay titled "Book reviews", Asimov states: "I have never made any secret of the fact that I dislike the concept of reviews and the profession of reviewing." Ha! Well. Rarely do I disagree so heartily with Asimov - one of my favourite authors - but I do here (quite good-naturedly). He is of course poking fun at both the reviewers and himself, as he is wont to do. I still think reviewing is something that does have a purpos It feels odd sitting down to review this book, because on page 309, in the Essay titled "Book reviews", Asimov states: "I have never made any secret of the fact that I dislike the concept of reviews and the profession of reviewing." Ha! Well. Rarely do I disagree so heartily with Asimov - one of my favourite authors - but I do here (quite good-naturedly). He is of course poking fun at both the reviewers and himself, as he is wont to do. I still think reviewing is something that does have a purpose. I love both reading and writing them. (I'm not going to write an essay on the subject though, I'll leave it at this.) Gold is a collection of Asimov's previously uncollected stories and essays. Editorials he wrote for his magasine, short stories that have only occurred in anthologies and magasines, but never in an actual Asimov collection. As such, it is an ecclectic bunch of stories, with both robot stories and more of the SF-"idea" stories he loved so much. There isn't an ongoing theme, but it is all very, very Asimov. I'm super biased when it comes to Asimov, and I have yet to read a single story or novel of his that I didn't like. As such, Gold was read with the same giddy delight I always read his books. My favourites of the stories: "Cal" This one is about a robot who wants to become a writer. I love robot stories, so I was immediately pleased! It also turned out to be an interesting comment on the writing profession in itself, as Cal the robot had to be taught how to write - and thus what it entails teaching someone to write. What constitutes good writing, and is a robot capable of doing it? "Hallucination" About a boy who comes to a strange planet for an education he doesn't much want to get. I'm not going to say anything else, because that would spoil the story, but it was a well-written, interesting story. One of the idea-stories, where you can practically see the "what if..?" question that spawned it. "Alexander the God" Detestable main character and a very loveable super-computer. What's not to like! Excellent ending. "Fault-Intolerant" Another story about writing, and computers, and what modern computing could possibly one day entail for the writing profession (SF as a genre does What if-stories so incredibly well). Saw the ending coming a mile away; loved it all the same. I cannot really choose between the essays, I liked them all. Asimov has a peculiarly familiar way of writing. It feels like he's sitting there, chatting with me about this and that, and just by chance happen to share some of his opinions on writing, SF, readers - and everything in between. There's not much in the way of groundbreaking revelations in these essays, but then they were never meant to be such either. It's interesting to learn that Asimov would revise no more than once or twice, that he doesn't outline, that he writes so much just because he loves it. His advice on writing are sound, but not novel in any way. The collection did have another interesting effect though: I started writing because of it. Asimov, with his insane output of 5-600+ books, is a marvel in prolificness. And the way he writes about stories, and about science fiction and about ideas, plots, characters, makes it quite clear that writing is something he loved more than pretty much anything else (he's quoted as saying such many times). His joy of the craft is contagious. During the week I read Gold I had to stop four times to jot down ideas, and twice those ideas turned into actual short stories. I should think he would approve very much indeed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sable

    Read for the Genre Non-Fiction and the Collections! Reading Challenges. This collection represents the last batch of stuff that Isaac Asimov gave to us. Half of it is stories, and the other half is a collection of essays about science fiction and writing in general that he produced, mostly as editor of some of the most legendary sci-fi magazines ever. As a result, it qualified for both a short story collections reading challenge and a genre-related non-fic challenge that I was doing, and I counte Read for the Genre Non-Fiction and the Collections! Reading Challenges. This collection represents the last batch of stuff that Isaac Asimov gave to us. Half of it is stories, and the other half is a collection of essays about science fiction and writing in general that he produced, mostly as editor of some of the most legendary sci-fi magazines ever. As a result, it qualified for both a short story collections reading challenge and a genre-related non-fic challenge that I was doing, and I counted it for both. This is going to be a short review because, in a nutshell, you can see why Asimov remains a legend. He was a master of his craft, and this writing spanned the breadth of his illustrious, long career. I enjoyed his non-fiction writing immensely. He was a thoughtful, intelligent man with a self-deprecating, dry wit that I think tickles my Canadian sense of humour especially well. He was also capable of doing a great thing that I admire in intellectuals; he was capable of thinking harder about an issue and then changing his mind! Asimov is somewhat infamous for having directly contributed, for example, to the stereotype against women writing sci-fi. In one of these essays he apologizes and confesses that this view was mostly was the result of having been told this by people he admired when he was still a young writer, and he clearly begins to change his approach, including his use of pronouns in the course of these ongoing essays. I learned an amazing amount about the genre and its evolution through his eyes. The short stories were like reading liquid light. I had forgotten, since it's been a while since I'd read Asimov, what an amazing storyteller he could be. As a reader, I felt his prose flowed like magic. His stories were all page-turners that left me feeling satisfied, whether it was a light snack (there's a couple of three-page stories) to a full meal deal (Gold, the title story). And as a writer, I know enough about the craft to recognize the technical minutiae of his style and the way he told his stories, and I think I learned some things by watching this master at work that might help me to write better short stories. Why did it take me so long to read it? I started with the non-fiction, and I tend to read non-fiction in snippets, and also the book was misplaced for a while. When I got into the fiction, I couldn't put it down. Don't think the long reading time is in any way a comment on its quality! A must for anyone who considers themselves a sci-fi fan, and recommended for anyone else also.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    For completists. Most entries are concise; I appreciate both that Asimov always has a point and that he gets to it. Of course I skimmed the non-fiction. But I did read the stories. The significant ones here are the one w/ Cal, the robot who wants increasingly badly to be a writer (the story that, upon this read, reminds me of Flowers for Algernon) and the title story, which is a nice nod to Shakespeare and to SF genre writers. (The SF story staged by the MC seems familiar... did someone actually For completists. Most entries are concise; I appreciate both that Asimov always has a point and that he gets to it. Of course I skimmed the non-fiction. But I did read the stories. The significant ones here are the one w/ Cal, the robot who wants increasingly badly to be a writer (the story that, upon this read, reminds me of Flowers for Algernon) and the title story, which is a nice nod to Shakespeare and to SF genre writers. (The SF story staged by the MC seems familiar... did someone actually write that up?) 2.5 stars rounded down in a feeble effort to correct for how over-rated this is by the GR community.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    Not the best collection of short stories from Asimov but I will commend him on a truly, clever pun in the story "Battle-Hymn". About 2/3s of this collection is an assortment of essays about science fiction and writing. I didn't read many of them but they are entertaining in their own right. Favourite: Battle-Hymn

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Rossi

    Gold is my gateway into the universe of Asimov, and what a mistake that was! Gold, as it turns out, is not just a collection of short stories from the later end of Issac Asimov's huge career but a collection of reflective essays on his works and methods of writing - something ideally read after I've not only read plenty of Asimov, but dived deeper into the world of science fiction. The short stories which make up just under half of Gold ranged from interesting to simple and sometimes a little si Gold is my gateway into the universe of Asimov, and what a mistake that was! Gold, as it turns out, is not just a collection of short stories from the later end of Issac Asimov's huge career but a collection of reflective essays on his works and methods of writing - something ideally read after I've not only read plenty of Asimov, but dived deeper into the world of science fiction. The short stories which make up just under half of Gold ranged from interesting to simple and sometimes a little silly. Standing out were 'Hallucination' and 'Kid Brother', as they were a little longer in length and stronger in complexity (and perhaps a little darker). The namesake of the collection, the story Gold was interesting but great lengths of it didn't really make sense in the context of someone reading it in 2017. Perhaps two didn't resonate with me at all, one of them literally ending with "this was the moral of the story". It was interesting seeing small glimpses at Asimov's legendary sight in to the future, even if it didn't quite hit the mark (could you imagine paying for a computer that they couldn't tell you the specifications for?). There was even a short story that I would swear was the inspiration for the The Expanse series. The reference parts in the second half was interesting, but with no reference of his other works it was hard to know how to absorb it. Unlike Stephen Kings 'On Writing', where I have read enough King to know what he is talking about what which parts I want to absorb, I don't know anything about Asimov. At least I know what his own favourites are, and can go from there. A name that lives on my "will get around to reading one day" lists, Gold makes me exited to read more of what this titan of his genre puts out, and maybe then I'll give this book another go.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Lapidow

    Because this book contains short stories of Asimov that hadn't been published before, I was eager to read this book. It also contains a lot of essays and letters to the editor that Asimov wrote for the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction. This is a kind of inside baseball book and not for someone who hasn't read Asimov before. The stories are good but feel as though they haven't been fully fleshed out. His essays, especially those targeted to writers, are well worth reading if you are writer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Among many other varied accomplishments, Asimov is well read and loves Dickens and Shakespeare (well, you'd be a fool if you didn't). He gives us some good stories here, and they're not all fiction. But if you're after a collection of his best SF stories, this is not it (The Martian Way [1964] is that). This is a late collection (largely) of what's left unpublished in his many other anthologies. With only two short stories of any substance - Cal and Gold - this set of frivolous diversions gives u Among many other varied accomplishments, Asimov is well read and loves Dickens and Shakespeare (well, you'd be a fool if you didn't). He gives us some good stories here, and they're not all fiction. But if you're after a collection of his best SF stories, this is not it (The Martian Way [1964] is that). This is a late collection (largely) of what's left unpublished in his many other anthologies. With only two short stories of any substance - Cal and Gold - this set of frivolous diversions gives us only a little insight into Asimov's brilliance than, say, any of the Foundation trilogy [1951-3], or The Gods Themselves [1972], for example, but rather are more illustrative of Asimov's relentless narrative and inventive hyperactivity. Section 2 provides introductory covers to his signed anthologies. Section 3 are his words of wisdom on his craft. One of the problems of a compilation of this kind is that the poor (rare) gets bundled in with the average (often) and the good or thought-provoking (often). As a result, the median is always lower than the best - and the promise. Asimov may have been the most prolific of writers, but surely the rules of probability occur in his essays as in his fiction. This is for completists, and therefore, for me. If you want a truly excellent book of a writer on writing - and this was not intended as such, only in part turns out to be - see Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft [1999] and Margaret Atwood's On Writers and Writing [2202]. George Orwell has written a couple too (Books v. Cigarettes [1952]). But I don't know of one by an SF writer... Some of the best advice in his essays on writing are particular to his own method. He recommends reading a lot in the field you intend to write about, start with several short stories before attempting the novel, do as many revisions as you feel comfortable with, and then stop (unless the editor demands another, then face the consequences, one of which is to tote it elsewhere), and find out if you are the kind of writer who needs an outline, by doing one, and try sticking to it. Do your research, especially the science if you're writing science fiction. Otherwise, discover your own style, and don't obviously plagiarise (that's not, obviously, don't plagiarise). Take from the canon, but give something new back. Here's a few of what I consider the best, the worst or the notable... + Part One - The Final Stories · Cal [1990] - 6.47 It has been observed that the ultra-prolific Asimov was intent in his later life to be even more prolific. These stories of the '80s and early '90s are part of that determination. And the essential pitfall of that objective is, it is apparent, a sacrifice of quality. It has also often been observed that his best output was from the '50s, the time of the original Foundation trilogy. Both aspects are fiercely telling in this opening story, which was intended as wit and comic adroitness, but which was a chore I little wish to repeat. Very poor. It seems to be of a kin with his six Tales Of The Black Widowers, where 6 professionals meet at a restaurant to tell each other tales of, and solve mysteries. We shall see... · Hallucination [1995] - 6.8 A neat glimpse into the wider imagination of Asimov - such as the creation of the Foundation series, or the Galactic Empire novels - and how he can create a self-contained microcosm of a full science fiction story in a tidbit. · In The Canyon [1995] - 3.33 This missive from Mars implies that we should be populating it about now. · Good-bye To Earth [1989] - 7.2 The probable cause of the human diaspora. Bear in mind that Iain Banks was writing about supremely advanced orbitals at around this time... (The Player Of Games [1988]). · Fault-Intolerant [1990] - 6.57 Asimov's humorous depiction of the intelligent word processor reminds me of my first attempt to go into business with an Amstrad PC1640. It had 16Kb of RAM - or was that 640Kb? - and duel floppy disks - I didn't ever see the need for the enormous hard disk space of 10Mb! Or 20! Anyway, this thing had TWO operating systems, and GEM was the dazzling GUI that allowed me to do all sorts of things I didn't know how to do. All I wanted to do, with my trusty dot matrix printer, was go into business with my copy-typist partner to type out students' theses. It seemed an unsinkable ship! Three weeks later - and two weeks over deadline - I delivered said MS to the happy student - a happy student builds in contingency - and my partner and I slept for 3 days solid, recovering. But boy, did I love that Amstrad PC1640. I could even go into my dBase database and amend a bug in the record count via Hex! I may not have been able to start a proper business with it, but I could debug proprietary databases via the back door. I only wish the damned thing had learned how to copy type - I would have been a billionaire (since a millionaire is peanuts, today). · Kid Brother [1990] - 6 Macabre humour, but a fragment off Bicentennial Man [1976], without the affection. · Gold [1991] - 7.8 By far the best of the stories in this collection, Asimov introduces his cast and technological theme with Shakespeare's Lear. He then goes on to portray the visualisation - with sublimation - of the triple-characters of one of his best novels, The Gods Themselves [1972]. Not only is this all brilliantly interwoven, but we regain for half an hour the affection we held for Dua when we first read that novel. I must re-read it, soon. Excellent. + Part Two - On Science Fiction Many of the pieces in the section 'On Science Fiction' are taken from introductions to the various anthologies that Asimov penned his name to or compiled. · The Longest Voyage [1983] - 6.27 Brief survey of ways to get to the stars. · Inventing A Universe [1982] - 6.6 The universe referred to was a template for a series of new stories by new sf authors, created by Asimov with 6 different intelligent civilisations of various physical makeup occupying various appropriate habitable planets about the Milky Way. What is interesting is not the template universe - though it gives pause for thought: consider Banks's different intelligent civs - but the background to 'The Big Three' (Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke) in the sf publishing community at large. · Invasion [1995] - 6.97 Another introduction to an anthology, Asimov seeds the introduction with Earth's own internal invaders - the Mongols, colonising Europe - to interesting effect. · The Robot Chronicles [1990] - 7.4 This introduction to Robot Dreams [1986], a summary of the most significant robot short stories and novels, and Asimov's overview of the history of 'robotics', a phrase credited to him in the OED. Having read most of his robot output - only a handful of short stories and essays to go - I have a vested interest in his subject, and an affection, too, for Elijah Bayley and R. Daneel Olivaw. I do not, however, agree that any of his robot stories compete with his Foundation trilogy, as he does. · The All-Human Galaxy [1983] - 6 How the pan-human galactic empire of the Foundation series came about. Where were all the alien civs? · Psychohistory [1988] - 7 The origin of the concept of psychohistory and its parallel of v.l.s. behavioural probability to gas/fluid dynamics is the heart of Hari Seldon's new science. It should have been called 'psychosociology', but a couple less syllables is predictably much better, given innate human laziness. · Science Fiction Series [1986] - 7.27 I didn't know that E.E. ('Doc') Smith was the first to produce a science fiction series with his 3 Skylark and then 5 Lensman novels of 1928 to 1947. Well, I did, from an earlier essay, but Asimov drops it in here in a survey of sf sequels, prequels, trilogies and series. · Survivors [1987] - 7.3 Asimov lists 9 prolific sf writers still on the go as of 1987. Burn-out in the genre, a reduction of ideas and interests in other genres and modes (mainstream/fiction/non-fiction) and extinction must account for most of the rest. I have rad but 4 of them. · Nowhere! [1983] - 7.57 One of the most interesting and thought-provoking essays, Nowhere!, is about utopian and dystopian fiction and the balance of the forces of good and evil in fiction based on either or both of these 'good' and 'bad' states. Asimov mentions some examples of each, and roundly damns Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four [1948] as 'abominably poor' (p.270). While disagreeing with him, absolutely, it did throw up a preoccupation of mine: the envy of certain authors who have defined a universe, 'world' or system that will never be bettered, but very often imitated. The most obvious example is Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings [1954-55], the tale of elves and orcs, hobbits and medieval men, generic species of billions of subsequent fantasy stories (though the hobbits remain unique). Another is Asimov's own Foundation trilogy, of around the same time [1951-53], and his pan-human empire of 23 million habitable planets and psychohistory. Again, there's Frank Herbert's first Dune trilogy [1965-76] and his creditable sociological capitalist-religious 'empire' based (initially) around the CHOAM interstellar corporation (and later upon Muad'Dib). Next, most obvious to me, comes Banks's Culture series, with his smart ships, orbitals and drones, and his sexy Contact and Special Circumstances - not to mention the naming of ships by their Minds. These are the trailblazers, for me. It seems to me that these people have created worlds with such strongly rooted and widely integral concepts founded each on sound sociological bases that they are inimitable, and are concepts that we may borrow from, but to reuse (or 'reinvent') in some wholesale way would merely be plagiarism, rather than the respected reuse of parts of the canon. But the littoral zone between what may be borrowed from the canon and what would be seen as mere plagiarism is an interesting one. Think of the dozens of concepts borrowable: orcs, elves, the ansible, neutrino message packets, smart minds, hyperspace, FTL. Think of those which could not: hobbits, psychohistory, spice (that spice), Minds, SC... And think of those that wouldn't work: SC intervening on a planet of wayward hobbits. Yet call them some other humanoid term and it's perfectly passable - just outright plagiarism. This issue plagues me recurrently. But it is really about the envy of what those few invented that could only forever be copied, not manipulated or borrowed as though canon. · Outsiders, Insiders [1986] - 7.23 A call to arms of the 'band of brothers' (and sisters) that were the privileged group of the Golden Age of sf, who published largely through the magazines, graduated to novels, and only hoped for pieces appearing in the quality press, the bestseller lists and, hope against hope, had films made of their works. They earned their kudos. They didn't just come from medical school and write bestsellers that were made into films... · Women And Science Fiction [1983] - 4 Not really an exploration; part apology; part introduction. Cherryh, LeGuin, Leckie, are my favourites. LeGuin gets a mention in this. But if any exploration of 'Women and Science Fiction' is to be comprehensive - even in 6 pages - it should surely be devoted more to women sf writers than just editors. · Time-Travel [1984] - 7.27 In defence of time travel, some basic maths (but significant thought). + Part Three - On Writing Science Fiction · Plotting [1989] - 7.23 Asimov's plots are highly detailed, very balanced and have a solution I can never see. His characters are fairly two-dimensional, usually male, and often, nearly all but one are what-you-see-is-what-you-get. In his best stories, this formula works; in his not so good, what is missing? I think his best stories have good characterisation as well: take Hari Seldon, or Dua, Tritt and Odeen... · Metaphor [1989] - 7.1 Three metaphors to illustrate a reader's complaint about an inaccurate cover. · Ideas [1990] - 7.6 In response to the usually awful question to an author, 'Where do you get your ideas from?', Asimov delineates the process of developing ideas and a novel, in this case Nemesis [1989], his latest at the time of writing, to fascinating effect. 'I have a natural aptitude for this sort of thing, and, also, that I have been doing it for over half a century now...' (p.328) · The Name Of Our Field [1978] - 7.43 An interesting tale of the evolution of the term 'science fiction', with a saucy end to the tale. · Hints [1979] - 7.17 Sound advice from a writer who made it over 17 years. · Writing For Young People [1986] - 4.07 One of the few pieces in this collection of 'chats' where I went blank several times, and re-read the same passage several times. It did, however, spin the question about just when 'YA' entered the field technically and universally as a sub-category of literature. Apparently, YA became a sub-category (it is not a genre, it contains many genres, like 'fiction' does) with J.K. Rowling in the late '90s. All I know is that it became a category of dedicated shelves within the last 15-20 years, though I cannot set a precise date. All of this was more interesting than Asimov's piece, though, once again, he is thought-provoking. · Originality [1986] - 7.2 The origins of the Nightfall short story [1941]. A good yarn. · Revisions [1982] - 7.4 Instructive and interesting - one of his best. Listen. · Irony [1984] - 7.7 I've always been useless at irony. My university lecturer - whom I admire, who has an amazing breadth (of subject) - admires it. Asimov proves he's as widely read and can dissimulate between satire and irony. A minor crash course, but an important one. · Plagiarism [1985] - 7.27 Coincidences do occur, down to similar names of characters. There is only one solution: he who published first has priority, the later one withdraws or radically amends. But borrowing from the canon? In the end, the reader will out. · Symbolism [1985] - 7.67 A defence of criticism of a published short story in a magazine (most of this section are editorials), Asimov's point of real interest is in his interpretation of the symbolism in The Lord Of The Rings [1954-5]: what does the Ring symbolise? · Prediction [1989] - 6.93 Not one for blowing his own trumpet, Asimov blows God's.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    This collection really impressed me. I didn't know really what to expect from this book. I haven't read a lot of Asimov, but I count him among my favorite authors because whenever I read his work I'm always impressed; so I was excited for this. And it delivered. The collection starts off with a group of Asimov's short stories. No surprises here; they all were worth reading. My favorite story has to be "Cal", the first story in the collection. It's about a robot named Cal who works for a writer. H This collection really impressed me. I didn't know really what to expect from this book. I haven't read a lot of Asimov, but I count him among my favorite authors because whenever I read his work I'm always impressed; so I was excited for this. And it delivered. The collection starts off with a group of Asimov's short stories. No surprises here; they all were worth reading. My favorite story has to be "Cal", the first story in the collection. It's about a robot named Cal who works for a writer. He discovers inside himself an urge to write, but when he uses his master's writer all he can turn out is gibberish! So his master decides to put a larger vocabulary in Cal and the knowledge of how to use the writer. Now Cal can write stories and the story follows him as he develops further skills (by having them programmed into him) and what the resulting stories that Cal writes are. This whole story was really cool to me and it got me thinking. I love robots and robot stories and there's no doubt that Asimov was the master at this. "Kid Brother" is the next story that I especially liked. It was another one of those thinking stories, and it also had a robot in it. If I had to pick a least favorite story it would be "Gold", the title story. It was good, but it just didn't live up to the rest, in my opinion. I didn't really get it. But I did enjoy reading it. Next there's a bunch of essays by Asimov. Some of them are from the beginnings of anthologies he edited. These were amazing. I loved reading his views on different subgenres of science fiction, for example there is an essay on space travel, on alien invasion, on dystopias and utopias, and of course on robots. The essay "Robot Chronicles" was my favorite of this section. It was fantastic. Asimov outlined which of his robot stories he viewed as contributing the most to the idea of robots. I loved this list and it gave me an idea of what Asimov viewed as his best robot stories. Another favorite essay from this section was "Nowhere!" which was the one about dystopias and utopias. The last part is a group of essays about the art of writing science fiction, so there's one about dialogue and one about plot, etc. These were nothing special but I did appreciate the look inside Asimov's work and ideas. I don't have a favorite of this section, I liked all of them. I definitely recommend this collection to a fan of Asimov. Even if you've only read a few books by him, if you enjoyed those reads you'll like this one!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Great, but not quite what I was expecting...: This is the first book by Isaac Asimov that I have ever read. I suppose it was a bit stupid to start with the last one. I think it's really good, although the writing is 'simpler' than I expected it to be. I thought it would be more complicated, but I think the fact that it is written in a simple way is good, as it does not detract from the actual stories, and makes it lighter reading. I will definitely be looking out for other books. i had heard his Great, but not quite what I was expecting...: This is the first book by Isaac Asimov that I have ever read. I suppose it was a bit stupid to start with the last one. I think it's really good, although the writing is 'simpler' than I expected it to be. I thought it would be more complicated, but I think the fact that it is written in a simple way is good, as it does not detract from the actual stories, and makes it lighter reading. I will definitely be looking out for other books. i had heard his name so many times, but didn't actually realise he was a writer, or what he had written. the one about Cal is interesting, in that if you think about it enough, it starts to get confusing. where did his intelligence come from? this is a good book and I would recommend it to anyone. I am not very far through it, but i feel like I have already read a whole book, although there is loads more to read, and i can't possibly think how much more he could write. When I found a list of his books....it must be at leat 100!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Re-reading to see if I want to keep my copy. Conclusion: Nope. So far the fiction was not that good, and the non-fiction essays are either introductions to other anthologies which talk a lot about those anthologies or editorials from Asimov's magazine. Lot's of platitudes and references to stuff in the books/magazines they were published in. Not really worthy of collecting and publishing again. It felt like a collection to cash in on some left over pieces.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Basically a collection of leftover unpublished stories and editorial introductions to magazines. The introductions have some interesting insight into Asimov's style, and some of the stories are interesting. But on the whole, not what I would call "best of" material.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neven

    Asimov is a treasure, god bless him, but his fiction is often little more than a competently written one-liner. I attempted re-reading this whole collection and I got about half way through before remembering that it's so slight, there's a reason I only remember a bit of it now.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carina

    This is one impressive collection, filled with short stories and collections of writings on various aspects of... well, writing, I think that this has to be my favourite book of the year so far (barring the manga I've read because that's just in another category all by itself). My father is a large Asimov fan and I recall him reading and re-reading the Foundation trilogy books - his copies are rather worn away and 'old' looking, they're clearly well read. In recent years my Mother and I had the r This is one impressive collection, filled with short stories and collections of writings on various aspects of... well, writing, I think that this has to be my favourite book of the year so far (barring the manga I've read because that's just in another category all by itself). My father is a large Asimov fan and I recall him reading and re-reading the Foundation trilogy books - his copies are rather worn away and 'old' looking, they're clearly well read. In recent years my Mother and I had the rather smart idea (smart as it means I get to read the books too!) to buy first the remainder of the Foundation series, then the Robot series, the Galactic Empire trilogy and then this. I had veered away from the compilations of Asimov (with the exception being I, Robot) as I wasn't sure how well they would go down - but this book is just genius. I was aware that the vast majority of Asimov books we had bought for my father were rather old (in terms of they were written before I was born and are therefore old by deafult) - I wasn't aware though that the first Foundation book was written during WW2, and given how many ... ideas he put forward that are now becoming or have become reality that is rather outstanding to me. Nor was I aware that Asimov was quite as prolific as he is. Asimov mentions how many things he has written a few times in this book, but I can't spot them as I skim through now - so, according to Wikipedia he wrote or edited 500 books... that's just incredible to me (although when I now look at the Wikipedia entry for prolific writers, although he is included there are others who have, apparently, written thousands!) But, enough about the author and my families reading habits, and onto the book. This starts off with a number of previously uncollected short stories. The titualar one - Gold - appears last in this section and was certainly interesting but I wouldn't call it gripping. I found Hallucination, Kid Brother, Fault Intolerant and Cal to be rather interesting, thought provoking stories, whilst Battle Hymn and Feghoot and the Courts first made me aware that Asimov was quite a droll character (something backed up in the latter parts of the book where he says that if one can't be a writer they could always take up a lesser profession such as surgery (amongst other equally difficult jobs)). The commentaries that take up the latter two-thirds of the book are also really absorbing. Split into comments on Science Fiction in general, and then writing it, you get to see how much work Asimov puts into his craft, and how his through process seems to differ from what I have always heard being the "done thing". As I was reading this book mostly on trains and at lunch I wasn't really able to make notes on the parts I wanted to comment so - so relied on sticking train tickets near interesting parts... the first of these is the commentary on "Science Fiction Series" where Asimov discusses the trend towards the ongoing story as opposed to the standalone novel. I am a fan of series, as I do think that it gives greater time to build the plot and character and often, therefore, has a greater pay-off but I do hate it when the first book clearly requires you to buy a second to know how things finish - some loose ends are acceptable but, for me, there is a fine line between tempting you to read on and forcing you. Reading why authors are apt to do this, from the perspective of an author, was therefore really interesting to me. The second, and last, comment I marked with a train ticket (last only because I had two old tickets and didn't think to rip them in half or anything...) is a commentary on what makes Science Fiction, and what makes Sci-Fi. In fact I will be (either after this review is out, or later today) be altering the name of my Sci-Fi shelf to Science Fiction as I don't think Asimov would appreciate being classed as Sci-Fi. To quote from the book directly "We can define "sci-fi" as trashy material sometimes confused, by ignorant people, with SF. Thus, Star Trek is SF whilst Godzilla meets Mothra is sci-fi". I *think* the books I shelve(d) as sci-fi all meet the SF requirement, so one bulk bookshelf change should be in order! The comments on both Plagiarism and Originality also stand out to me as worth commenting on - the latter especially given the vast amount of books now available to us. They provide another perspective on the topics - something I found interesting given I think the first Wheel of Time book is a poor mans version of Lord of the Rings. Would I read this book again - certainly. Would I read other Asimov books? - of course. This is the year where I want to re-read the entire Foundation, Robot and Galactic Empire series in order so, reading more Asimov is a given. But thanks to this I do want to try and search out some of his other books, and see if I can get any of the compilations that he helped to curate.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Randall Smith

    Rating is 4 for some stories and 3 for others. I decided to round up to 4. This review is of the fiction only, which is pretty much the sole reason I got the book. I enjoyed many of the stories on some level. Even the simple ones that were more fun jokes than stories. Even though these weren't quite what I would cal good stories (as they're barely stories at all), I still can't quite say I didn't like them either. More a mild enjoyment. So they get three stars. A rating that covers perhaps more Rating is 4 for some stories and 3 for others. I decided to round up to 4. This review is of the fiction only, which is pretty much the sole reason I got the book. I enjoyed many of the stories on some level. Even the simple ones that were more fun jokes than stories. Even though these weren't quite what I would cal good stories (as they're barely stories at all), I still can't quite say I didn't like them either. More a mild enjoyment. So they get three stars. A rating that covers perhaps more ground for me than any other, which makes sense given that three stars is average, and therefore would be the most common. The weakest stories in my opinion are "Left to Right" and "Feghoot and the Courts". Which as I've said, it isn't really fair in my mind to judge these as stories so much as jokes. The best stories more than made up for the weaker ones and raised my overal rating of the book to a four. These included a few stories that I considered particularly great. Cal, Fault-Intolerant, Hallucination, and Gold (the title story), were all fantastic and made one consider their implications in a future that may present us with such stories in real life. I think most science fiction fans would enjoy these stories the most. It was no coincidence of course that these were the longest stories in the collection, as Asimov took more time to flesh out the characters, ideas, and the implications of those ideas. Stories that may not be considered as stand out that I personally enjoyed were "The Instability", "Good-bye to Earth", and "The Smile of the Chipper". And to a lesser extent "Battle Hymn", "Kid Brother", and "The Nations in Space". For some reason in this last story, Asimov, chose to spell out the moral explicitly for the reader. It's a weird choice, and he makes comparable ones in a few other stories. I haven't read enough of his work to know if this was usual for him or not. In any case I still enjoyed the story. Anyone who has read Asimov won't be surprised to find alot of robot stories here. In the oresent day these stories might seem cliche, but that's because we are used to the stories which Asimov's work inspired. In many cases the original works are done better than the modern variations that focus on the humans fighting machines that have turned against them. Asimov has more unique tales, like a robot who wants to be a writer. Or (SPOILER) a computer that dislikes its users imperfections and decides to do what the user can do for them but better (END SPOILER). Overall, I recommend this book to science fiction fans, especially fans of hard science fiction and golden age science fiction.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stanley George

    Part 1 is a set of 15 short stories. The introduction says they've never been published in a book format before. I believe this means that they were published in a science-fiction magazine before. This is a eclectic collection of short-stories. They range from letters to earth from mars, politics, bionic humans and, of course, robots. Reading "Cal" made me understand what satire was. His short-story "Feghoot And The Courts" is one page. Around 500 words. But it shows so much wit and humor. Same w Part 1 is a set of 15 short stories. The introduction says they've never been published in a book format before. I believe this means that they were published in a science-fiction magazine before. This is a eclectic collection of short-stories. They range from letters to earth from mars, politics, bionic humans and, of course, robots. Reading "Cal" made me understand what satire was. His short-story "Feghoot And The Courts" is one page. Around 500 words. But it shows so much wit and humor. Same with "Left to Right" which is two pages long. "Gold" is the longest of the stories. It presents challenges to a futuristic movie/play production company. The story goes into creative challenges for the director and a casting director. I say casting director since I do not know what to call the profession of the character Cathcart. Part 2 seems like his preface to anthologies that he presented. The anthologies are collection of stories by other authors. He publishes these anthologies as presented by him. This helps the books sell and hence help the authors. This is a very noble effort. The author claims that this is to get rid of the guilt. The guilt of being among the Big Three science-fiction writers. In his mind, this perception somewhat thwarts works by newer authors. I don't buy it. He was a good person. He did it since he empathized with the newcomers and lesser known veterans. Don't be fooled thinking of this as mere prefaces or skip this part. Asimov gives his thoughts on alien invasion in the context of human history. He does this with flying saucers, travelling at the speed of light etc. They all make for excellent reads. Part 3 is his advice to science-fiction writers. This is an amazing collection of his thoughts on suspence, irony, satire and how to use them in stories. Reading this will make you want to write something. It may as well be a good introductory course on science-fiction writing for. Were he alive today, Isaac Asmiov could lead a massive open online course on this subject. He uses his own work as examples to explain these concepts. Part three gives you a better appreciation of science-fiction writing. Even if you don't write anything.

  16. 4 out of 5

    izawoodsman

    In one of the essays contained in this book, 'The Robot Chronicles' written in 1990, Asimov writes "Were the stories of your golden age really golden? Have you reread them lately? I have reread the stories of my own golden age and found the results spotty indeed. Some of the stories I slavered over as a teenager turned out to be impenetrable and embarrassing when I tackled them again." I am finding this to be true for myself. In my search for good science fiction, I am often disappointed. After b In one of the essays contained in this book, 'The Robot Chronicles' written in 1990, Asimov writes "Were the stories of your golden age really golden? Have you reread them lately? I have reread the stories of my own golden age and found the results spotty indeed. Some of the stories I slavered over as a teenager turned out to be impenetrable and embarrassing when I tackled them again." I am finding this to be true for myself. In my search for good science fiction, I am often disappointed. After being disappointed many times, I will return to my favorite books of the past and then often find them not as striking as when I first read them as well. The faults loom large. The writing, at times, very poor. Characters that I only care about because of my history with them. This book in interesting from the view of someone who loves the Author's Notes as much the novel in most cases. I like to peek into the head of the creator. This book will not make you love Asimov. If you have read nothing else of his, I highly recommend you do NOT read this first. A good thing for me is that Asimov explains, quite well, why his books no longer give me the thrill they did from my 10th through my 20th birthdays.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex Passey

    You've got to hand it to Asimov. Beyond being one of the pioneers of science fiction, and maintaining his relevance all the way through his prolific life, I have never before seen anyone write an entire story all for the sake of a single pun. And it was an absolute groaner too. That kind of cheeky humour is as much an integral part of his writing as is his masterful prose and keen insights into humanity's relationship with technology, and it is what makes him unique even amongst the other master You've got to hand it to Asimov. Beyond being one of the pioneers of science fiction, and maintaining his relevance all the way through his prolific life, I have never before seen anyone write an entire story all for the sake of a single pun. And it was an absolute groaner too. That kind of cheeky humour is as much an integral part of his writing as is his masterful prose and keen insights into humanity's relationship with technology, and it is what makes him unique even amongst the other masters like Bradbury and Clark. Though, I wouldn't recommend this book as the jumping off point into Asimov's work. The short stories are all mostly top quality. Cal was probably my favourite of the bunch, and while the title piece "Gold" did not quite live up to the hype, it was still an engaging read. But the stories only account for a less than half of the book's content. The rest is all essays on a variety of subjects, and they vary widely in relevance and quality. If a person isn't an aspiring writer or an Asimov fan keen on getting to know him more personally, I don't think there is much value to be gleaned from the essays.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tahmidul Islam

    The stories were definitely good. But, I think the 2nd and 3rd part are the best. A friend of mine said that it was Asimov thinking on paper, and that's great. I learnt a lot from the two parts and I'm sure it will help anyone who reads SF and wants to write. Not only wannabe SF writers, I think any writer can learn a thing or two from Asimov. The first story, Cal, was kinda shocking. It makes me sad that such a great writer as ... (Bangladeshi) copied from Asimov. I'm soothing my mind by trying The stories were definitely good. But, I think the 2nd and 3rd part are the best. A friend of mine said that it was Asimov thinking on paper, and that's great. I learnt a lot from the two parts and I'm sure it will help anyone who reads SF and wants to write. Not only wannabe SF writers, I think any writer can learn a thing or two from Asimov. The first story, Cal, was kinda shocking. It makes me sad that such a great writer as ... (Bangladeshi) copied from Asimov. I'm soothing my mind by trying to believe that he did it unconsciously. From what I've read in Part 3 of this book, it's not uncommon. Even Asimov himself found himself plagiarising sometimes. The story that gives the book its title, Gold, was a great story. It's one of those stories you read which makes you use your imagination. The written words directly translate into images in your head. Made me see Hamlet like never before, a thrilling experience. There's even a moral to the story. So, Gold was a great book. But, I can't vouch for it 'cuz I'm biased. I just love everything Asimov writes, so far.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeffy Joseph

    This book is divided into three parts - short stories, essays on SF and finally essays on writing in general. It was the non fiction part that attracted me to this collection. And it didn't disappoint me at all. Although I loved all the essays, I will list a few of them that I found to be absolutely significant. 1. Writing for young people There are people who argue that YA writers are inferior to the so called literary ones. This essay could be considered as an answer to that argument. 2. Predict This book is divided into three parts - short stories, essays on SF and finally essays on writing in general. It was the non fiction part that attracted me to this collection. And it didn't disappoint me at all. Although I loved all the essays, I will list a few of them that I found to be absolutely significant. 1. Writing for young people There are people who argue that YA writers are inferior to the so called literary ones. This essay could be considered as an answer to that argument. 2. Prediction Often we stumble upon articles that list the predictions made by the different SF writers like 'X predicted wi-fi in 67'. Asimov expresses his genuine bafflement by his so-called predictions. He admits that he never intended to do so. 3. Essays on plotting, revisions and originality. Among the short stories, the one that I loved was 'Alexander the God'. In this era of big data and data analytics, this short story is super-relevant.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Clare Diston

    Gold is divided into three sections: the first is dedicated to his short stories that have not previously appeared in book form elsewhere, the second is a collection of his essays on science fiction (including how he discovered it and how he created elements of his own work), and the third is a collection of his essays about the art of writing science fiction. I really can’t fault this excellent collection. Asimov’s stories both shocked and amused me (and occasionally made me roll my eyes – not Gold is divided into three sections: the first is dedicated to his short stories that have not previously appeared in book form elsewhere, the second is a collection of his essays on science fiction (including how he discovered it and how he created elements of his own work), and the third is a collection of his essays about the art of writing science fiction. I really can’t fault this excellent collection. Asimov’s stories both shocked and amused me (and occasionally made me roll my eyes – not just a master of sci-fi; he seems to be a master of the dad joke too), and his essays painted a picture of a funny, intelligent man looking back on an astonishingly successful career and feeling really rather pleased about it all. Good for him. Read my full review on my blog: http://www.50ayear.com/2017/03/24/12-...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    This posthumous book collects several previously unpublished Asimov stories, along with essays on writing and on the science fiction genre from Asimov. The stories are of mixed quality, often short, and touching on themes that Asimov has handled better in other places. The best of the lot is probably "Cal," a tale about a robot who wants to become a writer. It's a bit self-referential and meta, but it has an entertaining payoff. I enjoyed the essays more than the stories, as they give us some insi This posthumous book collects several previously unpublished Asimov stories, along with essays on writing and on the science fiction genre from Asimov. The stories are of mixed quality, often short, and touching on themes that Asimov has handled better in other places. The best of the lot is probably "Cal," a tale about a robot who wants to become a writer. It's a bit self-referential and meta, but it has an entertaining payoff. I enjoyed the essays more than the stories, as they give us some insight into the mind of the man who gave us the Foundation novels and the Three Laws of Robotics. He also gives some reasonable advice to aspiring writers. But even these are ultimately forgettable. This is not essential Asimov and, once again, it's probably for crazy completists only.

  22. 5 out of 5

    G Vivek

    This book has three parts. First part is anthology of SciFi short stories from early times. Which is funny considering we are living in their distant future and we have surpassed their imagination. Thoroughly enjoyable. Second part is any the real-time evolution of science fiction stories from personal accounts of the author and his colleagues. This is pretty insightful, it was almost like a biography, for this aspect of author's life. The third part of GOLD is about the writing aspect of the scie This book has three parts. First part is anthology of SciFi short stories from early times. Which is funny considering we are living in their distant future and we have surpassed their imagination. Thoroughly enjoyable. Second part is any the real-time evolution of science fiction stories from personal accounts of the author and his colleagues. This is pretty insightful, it was almost like a biography, for this aspect of author's life. The third part of GOLD is about the writing aspect of the science fiction stories. Which would be interesting for a budding writer and put new ideas in their heads. If not for the third part of "Gold" I'd have given it another star.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jody

    This book is something of a hodgepodge (an organized one) of science fiction short stories and essays about science fiction writing and publishing. The essays would benefit from introductions, and many were clearly written as introductory material for collections of science fiction stories in books or magazines, and it would make more sense if the editors indicated which collections and the dates. If found a few of the stories mildly entertaining and some were rather lame, and enjoyed some of th This book is something of a hodgepodge (an organized one) of science fiction short stories and essays about science fiction writing and publishing. The essays would benefit from introductions, and many were clearly written as introductory material for collections of science fiction stories in books or magazines, and it would make more sense if the editors indicated which collections and the dates. If found a few of the stories mildly entertaining and some were rather lame, and enjoyed some of the essays. I had challenged myself to try something from an aisle in my local public library where I don't usually venture, and I think this was a fairly good choice.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I haven't read a lot of science fiction lately, but this collection of stories shows the still bright genius of Isaac Asimov. I have been trying to reread some of the old science fiction that I read back in the 60's and 70's but I find that being no longer the teen or 20 something has changed the way I see these books. Some books are better to be remembered than read again. This book is different. Isaac's writing is still as brilliant as the day when I read his robot books in high school. Love it I haven't read a lot of science fiction lately, but this collection of stories shows the still bright genius of Isaac Asimov. I have been trying to reread some of the old science fiction that I read back in the 60's and 70's but I find that being no longer the teen or 20 something has changed the way I see these books. Some books are better to be remembered than read again. This book is different. Isaac's writing is still as brilliant as the day when I read his robot books in high school. Love it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Billed as the author's last collection of stories and essays, it is sad that this is definitely not Asimov's best. Or even second-best. In fact, if I could give two-and-a-half stars, I would. There are three sections: fiction, commentary on the status of the science fiction genre, and thoughts about writing science fiction. The stories mostly feel dated and half-hearted. The essays are mostly from introductions to anthologies or columns from his magazine. There are occasional sparks, but it most Billed as the author's last collection of stories and essays, it is sad that this is definitely not Asimov's best. Or even second-best. In fact, if I could give two-and-a-half stars, I would. There are three sections: fiction, commentary on the status of the science fiction genre, and thoughts about writing science fiction. The stories mostly feel dated and half-hearted. The essays are mostly from introductions to anthologies or columns from his magazine. There are occasional sparks, but it mostly feels like a publisher's attempt to grab a few more dollars from the Asimov name.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Skyler Peterson

    I have been reading several of Asimov's short story anthologies lately, leading up to reading the robot, galactic empire, and foundation series. Cal, Alexander the God, Kid Brother, and The Nations in Space are my personal favorites in Gold. I actually think the compilation of Asimov's writings about science fiction and writing science fiction were a surprising addition. This provided some insight to the mind of Asimov which I appreciated after reading so much of his works.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Keith Bell

    How often do you get to discover a collection of writing's you didn't know existed by a beloved author 25 yrs after his death. This is a great collection of short fiction along with essays on science fiction and writing. Asimov was an undisputed genius and as much as I like his fiction I LOVE his essays and non-fiction. Great stuff and a fitting final collection.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Moutasem

    “Time-perception depends on the structure of the Universe. When the Universe is expanding, we experience time as going forward; when it is contracting, we experience it going backward. If we could somehow force the Universe to be in stasis, neither expanding nor contracting, time would stand still.” ~ Isaac Asimov

  29. 4 out of 5

    Winnie Yeung

    Love every bit of it. Half of it are short SF stories. The other half is the anthology of author sharing his thoughts about writing SF including how to create the world, the pains of revision, how to create ideas, plagiarism, names, irony and so on. Felt like got to see the toolbox of the magician. As well as history of SF. Highly recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mavra Rafi

    I really enjoyed this book. It seemed like I was having real life discussions with Asimov. As if he was speaking to me directly. I really enjoy how he thinks so it was really interesting for me to read his thoughts one essay at a time. This one took me forever to end and the it's mainly because I just didn't want to end the acquaintance.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.