Tuesday, February 6, 2018

TWOsday ~ two by Isaac Asimov

Youth ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1952, science fiction
Red and Slim found the two strange little animals the morning after they heard the thunder sounds.  They knew that they could never show their new pets to their parents.  Tagging along while his astronomer father visits an industrialist at his vast estate, young Slim is lucky enough to make friends with the industrialist’s son, Red, who has recently caught some very strange animals on the property.  The animals seem intelligent enough, and Red recruits Slim to help him train the odd creatures to do circus tricks.  But the boys are about to discover their playthings aren’t exactly animals — and they’ve allowed themselves to be caught for a reason.

The astronomer, meanwhile, tells the industrialist that he has been in contact with space aliens who want to open up their world to interstellar trade.  Their world needs help, the astronomer says; ever since the atomic wars that destroyed their old civilization, the world has been regressing.  Unless something is done, their culture may be facing total collapse.

In the Beginning: Science Faces God in the Book of Genesis ~ by Isaac Asimov, 1981, theology
Creation.  The beginning of time.  The origin of life.  In our Western civilization, there are two influential accounts of beginnings.  One is the Biblical account, compiled more than two thousand years ago by Judean writers who based much of their thinking on the Babylonian astronomical lore of the day.  The other is the account of modern science, which, in the last century, has slowly built up a coherent picture of how it all began.  Both represent the best thinking of their times, and in this line-by-line annotation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, Asimov carefully and even-handedly compares the two accounts, pointing out where they are similar and where they are different.

"There is no version of primeval history, preceding the discoveries of modern science, that is as rational and as inspiriting as that of the Book of Genesis," Asimov says. However, human knowledge does increase, and if the Biblical writers, "had written those early chapters of Genesis knowing what we know today, we can be certain that they would have written it completely differently."
Youth, the one at the top, is short (77 pages in print) and free from Project Gutenberg.  I got both of these books for my Kindle last week, when Youth was available free from Amazon.  It may still be free, but I haven't checked today.  Update:  It's only 99-cents today for the Kindle version of Youth.

1 comment:

Helen's Book Blog said...

I will confess that I have never read anything by Isaac Asimov, but my brother LOVED his books when we were growing up.