In his 40th collection of essays, Asimov gathers 17 columns written during 1989-1990 for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that introduce, in his clear and amiable style, current thinking on cosmology, physics, astronomy and biological science topics. Fans of his novels, such as the Foundation and Empire series, will detect a few seeds of fiction themes in these considerations of the atmosphere on Venus, fusion, logical paradox, fractals, iodine and society. The title essay is more metaphor than substance, but Asmimov fans will delight in the display of the range and power of their wizard. (Mar.)
If anyone is qualified to write a book with a title as presumptuous as The Secret of the Universe , it is Asimov, who has published some 400 books on a variety of subjects. An anthology of essays from his column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction , this book's prevailing subject is the history of cosmology and discoveries in our solar system. As always, Asimov's expository style--clear and purposeful--is right on target for a popular audience. Still, this subject has been covered before; Timothy Ferris's Coming of Age in the Milky Way (Morrow, 1988) is a more complete and unified treatment for general readers. Also, the introductory anecdotes to each essay frequently have no obvious connection to the substantive material, and sometimes come off as self-glorifying. For Asimov fans. See above for a review of Asimov's Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos .--Ed; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/90.-- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Lib., Bozeman
Isaac Asimov authored over 400 books in a career that lasted nearly 50 years. As a leading scientific writer, historian, and futurist, he covered a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics to humor, and won numerous awards for his work.