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The Stars Like Dust

posted on March 3, 2021

The Stars Like Dust is not my favorite of Asimov’s empire novels. Apparently, the book was not one of Asimov’s favorites either. Asimov’s problem with it was a conceit that was shoehorned into it over his better judgement. When the book was about to be published, Horace Gold, the editor of the Galaxy Science Fiction pulp, wanted to serialized it in his magazine. Gold’s desire to serialize the book came with a caveat, however. He wanted Asimov to add a suggested element of Gold’s to the book. Asimov agreed to his apparent eternal regret.

My lack of strong enthusiasm for the book stems from the fact it’s Asimov’s closest veer towards the space opera type of writing that he eschewed. The hero is handsome, muscled and viral, the heroine is young, fair and beautiful, and the plot runs along the lines of the typical capture, escape, and chase stories of the day. To be fair, the content does give its due to Asimov’s societal and political thoughts on possible galactic development, but not with the same passion and fascination as I recall in the Foundation books. But, hey, it’s Asimov, so you’re still going to get a worthwhile read, just not one of his very best. The ironic thing for me is that I kind of liked the Gold suggested element that Asimov rued adding to the work.

On to The Currents of Space.