So I’ve done the “Top Ten Science Fiction Books,” but of course, there are so much good science fiction out there that I shouldn’t limit it to just ten. Isaac Asimov is the master of science fiction and most popular for his vision of robots constrained by the Three Laws of Robotics — if they refuse to obey their human masters, something is seriously wrong.
The effort to reshape a galaxy from the ashes of a dying empire starts with one man’s life-changing equations. By daring to share his work at a conference on the capital world of a Galactic Empire, Hari Seldon sets off a series of events that force him to choose between becoming a political pawn of several factions wrestling for power and turning his work on psychohistory into a powerful force of their own.
A detective must learn to work with a very human-like robot to solve a murder that could have dire consequences for interplanetary relations. While dealing with Earth society’s dislike of robots and his own feelings about the nature of his partner, he deals with the dark forces that could lead to an uprising against the more powerful Spacer Worlds if left unchecked.
People who have seen the Will Smith movie will recognize moments from this collection of short stories, with a range of topics like “What will the neighbors think of our robotic nanny?” and “What do you do when a robot begins to develop religion?”
What happens when a robot, though confined by the three laws, dreams of freedom? This is a second collection of Asimov’s short stories that spans from the 1940s to the 1980s and touches on themes such as technophobia and the idea that technology isn’t always a solution to mankind’s problems.
Often hailed as one of Asimov’s best works of fiction, Nemesis follows a familiar theme of one telepathic girl on a rogue colony ship who realizes the threat posed by their destination. Ignored by the other colonists, she is put into the position of having to single-handedly save the ship and all of humanity. People looking for epic space battles will probably be disappointed if you go by some reviews, but it’s pretty good as a stand-alone book that is kept separate from the Robots and Foundation series.
Now famous for their roles in frustrating the galactic schemes of renegade Earthmen and Spacers, Robots Daneel Olivaw and Giskard Reventlov continue the work of making Elijah Baley’s vision a reality two centuries after his death. Enter one of the long-lived Spacers, a madman named Keldon Amadiro who bears a grudge against Baley’s people on Earth for his humiliating defeat. His plotting will force the robots to make a decision that will have wide-sweeping consequences for the people of Earth.
This is Isaac Asimov’s very first novel and the one that introduced the Galactic Empire. A man from the late 1940s is thrust into a dying future Earth and finds that the vast majority of humanity has begun to forget their terrestrial origins. The 62-year-old must find a way to survive on a world where most people die at the age of 60.
An advanced civilization exists just outside space and time and manipulates the “real” world through minute changes designed to improve the lot of humankind. Predictably, one of the Eternals falls in love with a mortal destined to be eliminated in the next change and finds a way to bring her to his home. Naturally, this is forbidden by his society, which frowns on emotional attachments to those who might be affected by their work, and may cause the existence of Eternity to unravel.
Set during the rise of the Trantorian Empire that will eventually become the famed Galactic Empire, the stability of the balance of power depend on Florinia’s production of a substance called kyrt. Enter Rik, a man who must find a way to deliver a message he doesn’t remember to save Florinia and its oppressed natives from certain destruction.
Can you imagine being shrank down to a size smaller than the average red blood cell and injected into a human body? A crew of five people must do this to destroy a blood clot that threatens one man’s mental capacity and possibly save the fate of an entire world. Though the concept might seem a little goofy in the light of modern medicine, this piece of science fiction was far ahead of its time.