First a few interesting details about Isaac Asimov and The Gods Themselves.
Asimov attributed the lack of romance and sex in his fiction to the “early imprinting” from starting his writing career when he had never been on a date and “didn’t know anything about girls”. He was sometimes criticized for the general absence of sex (and of extraterrestrial life) in his science fiction. He claimed he wrote The Gods Themselves to respond to these criticisms, which often came from New Wave science fiction (and often British) writers. The second part (of three) of the novel is set on an alien world with three sexes, and the sexual behavior of these creatures is extensively depicted.
Read https://www.publicbooks.org/asimovs-empire-asimovs-wall/ for more on Asimov and women.
Galaxy (mar/apr, 1972), Worlds of If (mar/apr, 1972), Galaxy (may/jun, 1972).
Before we talk about the book: My fandom? So much to mention.
- When I was maybe 7, maybe 10, I watched Raumschiff Enterprise on German television. I also watched some Dr. Who. I have a sneaking suspicion, my father was some sort of fan.
- In school we had some good books and a good librarian. I read Tolkien, Le Guin, Clarke etc. We read Lord of the Flies in the curriculum.
- I started using the real library. When I ran out of horse books, I found the sf shelves. I primarily read short stories, a lot of classics, including I, Robot.
- While in high school, my boyfriend lobbied Foundation. Instant hit. And my breakthrough into novels.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation coincided nicely with my studies at university, ’87-’94.
- I started reading books in English, primarily Discworld. I started buying my own books. Asimov was the first “it would be nice to have everything” author. I love his anecdotes.
- And then it’s just grown. Reading a lot more. Being a member of trekkies.dk. Being a member of Science Fiction Cirklen. Writing about sf. Writing sf. Attending and organizing cons. Attending 3 worldcons so far. Voting for the Hugos a few times.
- I’m co-hosting the Danish podcast Robotter på loftet. (Loosely translated: Robots in the Belfry.)
Count of read Hugo winners. Big dot = read, 35. Dot = tried reading it, 3. Details at the end of the post.
Spoiler free summary/themes:
So. This story has a few ingredients. Such as tungsten impossibly, spontaneously being replaced with plutonium-186, an impossible isotope. And this plutonium driving a pump, producing so called free energy. All this implies the existence of the para-men, in the para-universe, the source of all this impossibleness.
The process of turning tungsten into plutonium is also the process of the net loss of 20 electrons for each atom. So far this has had consequences like our magnetosphere growing. The consensus is, that the future will deal with that problem.
Professor Hallam is universally accepted as the inventor of the pump. He’s very touchy when people question this. Peter Lamont is writing a history of the pump, and he happens to question what everybody knows, and hey, arch enemy created. Myron Bronowski is trying to decode a message from the para-men. Lamont and Bronowski have reason to believe, that “the future will deal with that problem” isn’t good enough.
- Chemistry/physics – thiotimolin
- Scientists fighting – Foundation
- Communication with aliens – Arrival, Contact
- No women
Meanwhile, Dua, an emotional, ponders her life and behaves in a strange way. She’s in a relationship with Odeen, a rational, and Tritt, a parental. (1, 2, 3.)
- Aliens! – so much sf; these are truly alien
- What’s going on??? – so much sf
Spoilers after the picture.
- Left, right, mid (gender), melting, triad. People are gas? Arranged “marriage”, eugenics. Sex! And sex makes you smarter.
- Melted = disappeared? Hard ones keep a secret from soft ones. MYSTERY! Having to figure it out yourself (nobody let anything slip?)
- The hard ones. New hard one, Estwald (MYSTERY), the pump, Dua good, Estwald bad, meaning?
- Dua (rational + emotional): but we can’t do that!
- That’s abuse, Tritt.
- Communication with aliens (us), hm, mumbo jumbo.
- Sun = food. Less sun, need new kind of food. These people are simply running out of energy.
- Partners fighting, bringing children up, the right way to do things.
- Selene Lindstrom (young, with breasts!), Barron Neville, mysterious earthling = Ben Denison (not so young).
- On the Moon.
- People on the Moon are super different. They’re a mix of races.
- Use instruments on the Moon to investigate the pump situation. Hey, they have good instruments. And intuition.
- Universe 3. 2 pumps.
- Sex on the Moon is dangerous???
- (Earth had a big crisis, a lot of people died. Now they are careful.)
Oh yeah. And the Danish translation has some, ah, issues. This one I can’t even really explain.
And this translation is…weird. Selv = self. Ene = alone. No, it doesn’t really work in Danish either.
Hugo winners list: