Nemesis

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{{#if: Nemesis |
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{{#if: Isaac Asimov |
Author }}

{{#if: 0-553-28628-5 |

ISBN }}

{{#if: 1989 |

Published }}

{{#if: 386 |

Pages }}

{{#if: 2006.12.15 |

Date read }}

{{#if: 10 |

Rating /10|}}|}}


This is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf unread for ages. (I probably have three copies of it, between storage and book sales.) It is a book I have wanted to read, but I just had other books taking priority.

Synopses

(Asimov explicitly states that this is not part of the Foundation universe.)

The space Settlement, Rotor, discovers hyper-assisted space travel and leaves the solar system after discovering a red dwarf star closer than Alpha Centauri. Once there, the newly cristened Nemesis lives up to its name when the Rotorians realize Nemesis is heading straight towards the Solar System, threatening to destroy life on Earth in 5000 years.

Marlene, born and raised on Rotor, has a special knack for reading body language. However, she is drawn to the moon below them for unknown reasons.

Will all life on earth be destroyed? Will Marlene's Earth-based father ever see her again? Will the Cubs win the World Series? Will I stop asking questions?

Review

Who would be able to make sense out if a Galaxy, when no one had ever made sense out of a single world? Who would learn to read the trends and forsee the future in a whole Galaxy teeming with humanity?
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While Asimov stated that this is not a part of the Foundation universe, he still left internal hints linking it to the Foundation universe so he could bring it into that timline without a major retcon. The quote to the right should resonate with anyone who has read the original Foundation trilogy.

That said, I like Asimov's universe. I like that he does hint at his other works here :) He approaches his stories like a scientist. Particularly, I love how he has a grasp of galactic time so his stories are not limited to human lifespans. The destruction of Earth in 5000 years could only be a "crisis" in an Asimov novel. Other authors, such as Lem have dealt with the other topics in this book, but I think Asimov does it best.

One thing I like about this book is that it is a story about "missing links". Rarely in science fiction do you see these missing links. Often stories will have an overview of the process Y to get to X, but rarely is the story about Y itself. For example, one may often see a universe in which telepathy is accepted as real and it will briefly tell about how telepathy came about, but one rarely sees stories purely about the in-between stages such as in Nemesis. (Marlene does not read "thoughts", but reads body language.) Also, the gap between relativistic travel and hyperspace is dealt with in a satisfying manner by Asimov. (Albeit with a bit of hand-waving.)

There is one gap left unfilled in the story, but without revealing a plot point, I will not go into that here. However, a possible resolution could be that everyone is essentially completely contaminated with eukaryotes from the moment they leave their protective suits.

Lastly, the ending was satisfying. It was not abrupt, it did not use a deus ex machina, the plot led naturally to that conclusion, I liked it. (Caveat, the actually discovery of the solution used a bit of a deus ex machina, but someone would have discovered it eventually without that. In fact, the physicist in me postulated that solution midway though the book when a certain crisis was resolved, although I disreguarded it because I was thinking on a human timescale instead of Asimov's infamous galactic timescale.)

(Of course the rating on this review is probably heavily skewed by the scathing review I gave to the last books I read.)

I will just leave off with this comment about Asimov. --Tometheus 14:02, 16 December 2006 (CST)

Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 9,000 letters and postcards, and has works in every major category of the Dewey Decimal System except Philosophy.
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