Pebble in the Sky (The Empire Novels #1)

Pebble in the Sky (The Empire Novels #1)

4.2 45
by Isaac Asimov
     
 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780837604626
Publisher:
Bentley Publishers
Publication date:
08/01/1982
Series:
Empire Novels Series, #1
Pages:
224

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Pebble in the Sky 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Craig369 More than 1 year ago
The man could really tell a great story. And weaved many of his series together, as this story does in a way for the robot series and Foundation even though I believe he wrote it before those two.
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AllycenG More than 1 year ago
What is Science Fiction? In order to truly review Pebble in the Sky, we must first look at what it means to be in the category of science fiction: Science fiction consists of both science- the study of facts, knowledge and truths of the physical, material, and mental ways- and fiction-  something made up.  In most science fiction the ideas made in the science field at the time, be it in chemistry, biology, psychology, geology, etc.  The stories should pose the “What if…?” questions, for example, like: “What if we were to be invaded by aliens?”, “What if there was a way to make people smarter?”, “What if there was time/space travel?”, or “What if I had a robot to do my biddings?”  Then the story should be able to answer the question with a scenario that keeps you guessing and wanting to know what was to come next and end in plausible way, although anything is possible in fiction, keeping with the ways of that society that was created because of that situation. Pebble in the Sky definitely fits into this definition of science fiction.  It poses its first question: “What if a man from the 1940’s was to just suddenly be transported millions of years into the future.” when Joseph Schwartz is transported from the year 1940 A.D. to 827 G.E. in the first chapter. Then the second question comes in with “What if there was a machine that could improve a person’s ability to learn?” The third question comes in “What if people left Earth for the rest of the Galaxy and forgot where they came from so that Earth was only a pebble in the sky?” and another question comes in later “What if there was a way that Earth, a little planet, could destroy and dominate the entire Galactic Empire?”  This book is relevant to our time because Asimov does a really good job at discussing racial problems.  Everyone else in the Galaxy views Earth as dirty and diseased ridden and something to look down upon, almost as if they weren’t humans. I found this comparable to how minority groups were treated before, during, and still sometimes after the civil rights movements.  I find it interesting how the people of Earth were always at continuous war with the rest of the Galaxy even after several tries at peace and at rebellion.  It is stated throughout the book that Earthmen knew that they were the origins of humanity but they didn’t really seem to want the rest of the Galaxy to know that because they were always treated like dirt. Asimov does a very good job on the question of “What if people left Earth for the rest of the galaxy and forgot where they come from so that Earth was only a pebble in the sky?” by answering with that the rest of the Galactic Empire doesn’t even really consider Earth an actual planet and all that live on it on scum.  He does a great job at how Earth would respond: as fighters.  The people of Earth return the hate from the rest of the galaxy with more hate.  The mutual hatred, it seems is built into to either side from the time of childhood as was seen in the beginning of chapter 7 “Arvrdan was from the Sirian Sector, notoriously the sector above all others in the galaxy where anti-Terrestrian prejudice was strong. Yet he always liked to think he had not succumbed to that prejudice himself… Of course he had grown into the habit of thinking of Earthmen in a certain set of caricature types, and even now the word “Earthman” seemed an ugly on to him…” and again in chapter nine after Arvardan reveals himself as an “Outsider” to Pola and suddenly she becomes super formal and takes on and inferior disposition toward him causing him to become angry with her; and again in chapter 15 when Arvardan and Shekt are talking about oranges and Shekt says grimly “The Ancients, are not fond of trading with the Outside. Nor are our neighbors in space fond of trading with us.  It is but an aspect of our difficulties here.”.   This is seen a lot throughout the book and I found this comparable to how minority groups were treated before, during, and still sometimes after the civil rights movements.  I find it interesting how it is so simply stated that the people of Earth were always at continuous war with the rest of the Galaxy even after several tries at peace.  It is also stated throughout the book that Earthmen knew that they were the origins of humanity but they didn’t really seem to want the rest of the Galaxy to know that because they were always treated like dirt making it even more comparable to how Africans were treated by the Europeans.   Although Asimov does a fairly good job at answering these questions, the story is not long enough for him to give complete and thorough answers.  Maybe it’s because the book is instead subject to a Romeo and Juliet love  story between one of the main characters and an Earth girl.  I felt like the love story was completely irrelevant  The ending of the book felt very hasty, like Asimov got bored with the story and was already signed for this book so he threw on a happy ending where everything was resolved but it never actually felt resolved. Overall, while this book had several plot holes and unresolved issues, Pebble in the Sky is a great book.  It has many interesting ideas and addresses a major social problem.  I would recommend it anyone who was interested in early Asimov or was just looking for a quick introduction to science fiction.
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I personally loved this book! It's spectacularly well written (as is the case with almost all Asimov). It is MOST DEFINITELY worth the $8! --Local Book Reviewer
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One of the master's greats. Read it.
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Wanders around nervously.
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