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The Gods Themselves [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Isaac Asimov
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 27 1987
Only a few know the terrifying truth--an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun.  They know the truth--but who will listen?  They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy--but who will believe?  These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival.

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Winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Only a few know the terrifying truth--an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun. They know the truth--but who will listen? They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy--but who will believe? These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth's survival. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better as 3 Stories Feb. 15 2004
Asimov presents very convincing character development, pulling the reader in and presenting many interesting twists. Sometimes the physics was a big overwhelming, and I had to reread certain passages a number of times, and remember back to Atomic Mass theory. I was particularly intrigued with the emerging environmental consciousness presented: ideas of future renewable, free energy sources, in a metaphor for our current unquestionable unquenchable pursuit of nonrenewable resources, within the ever-present myth of a free lunch.
Asimov explores many possibilities in the human and alien psyche, considering how our negative impulses can push us on to greatness- great glory, or great tragedy. He investigates how the perceptions of who we are will change with time- the perceptions of others, and our self-perception. I was engrossed- I wanted to know what was going to happen next to these characters that I cared about. And what happened next, especially at the end of the units, was usually not what I expected. It is a well written novel. And therein lies the flaw.
Perhaps if the characters weren't so well portrayed, it wouldn't matter that we never get to find out what happens to them. This is written more as three separate stories, around a common theme, rather than a novel. And the three stories themselves are more slice-of-life than the traditional Western novella genre. So we begin to care a great deal about character, only to see him disappear at the end of the first unit, and only be tangentially mentioned in the third unit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of Asimov's Sci-Fi, one of his best novels Dec 27 2003
The good doctor was not the best of writers when it came to character development. Many of his books have excellent plots, but weak, cartoonish characters that could be found in any pulp novel. But "The Gods Themselves" really breaks out of Asimov's usual mold. It's bold; alien characters with three sexes (and a description of how they do it) and an exciting parallel story that merges in surprising ways. While not my favorite of Asimov's books, I respect this novel for its creative delights. A good tale, interesting concepts, some of the best sci-fi Asimov wrote.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Science and Sex Do Mix Dec 12 2003
The good doctor, over his lifetime, wrote more books than many people read in their lifetimes. Many were excellent explanations of various aspects of science written in language that a layman could understand. Some were good analyses of literature, such as Shakespeare and the Bible. But it is his science fiction works, from his vision of a Foundation to Robots imbued with Three Laws, that guarantee him a place in the hearts of fans of the genre, and a fame that spreads well beyond its boundaries.
This book was something of a departure for him, not being related to any of his other SF works, but still shows his sure hand at plotting and his deft melding of real science with a literally out-of-this-world idea. The story is told in three completely different segments, related only by the commonality of the scientific idea that drives this book, the Electron Pump, a device that can, apparently, deliver infinite free energy by trading material with a universe that operates on slightly different physical laws than our own.
The first segment is a beautiful glimpse into the sometimes not-so-nice world of the academic researcher, into who gets credit (not necessarily the deserving one) for an idea, how animosities begin and are nurtured, about the crassness of public policy being determined by those who do not and cannot understand the basics of the science that delivers the technological goodies.
The second segment is the part that makes this book deserving of its Hugo Award. Shifting from our universe to the para-universe that initiated the transfer that began the Electron Pump, Asimov invents a truly alien race that is at once believable and violently different from our own. Here we meet Odeen, Tritt, and Dua, who each form one part of tri-sexed whole.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wildly uneven, but sometimes brilliant Aug. 23 2003
Mankind discovers a method of energy transfer with the aliens of another universe that promises unlimited energy. Unfortunately, it also promises ultimate destruction. Only a few scientists are capable of seeing beyond their own self-interest and hubris to recognize this fact, but can they make others believe? Asimov has constructed an admirable allegory for the environment quandry that we face here on earth, although he fails to show how limitless power would transform our lives.
The novel is constructed in three parts. The first and third sections involve human beings and rely too much on telling and not enough on showing--lots of long, didactic conversations and far too little incident. The third section is particularly weak; it is dull and bloodless with a take on human sexuality which is supposed to be advanced but, from today's standpoint, seems firmly mired in a seventies mentality.
The triumph of this novel is the masterful middle section. Asimov depicts an alien society that is truly unlike mankind, yet he manages to depict distinct individuals. This is quite surprising coming from a writer who is known neither for characterization or alien-building. It's just a shame that the rest of the novel could not maintain this quality and had to end on such a tragically dull note.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars three stories, tied together
As you can read from the jacket of The Gods Themselves, something bad is going to happen to Earth and only three "people" know about it--an Earth scientist, an alien, and... Read more
Published on May 7 2004 by Cully Larson
5.0 out of 5 stars The other readers are missing the point.
AGAINST STUPIDITY THE GODS THEMSELVES CONTEND IN VAIN. The book is about stupidity, stupidity, stupidity. Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by Jim-bob Furlbottom
4.0 out of 5 stars Gods Indeed
To any reader of science fiction, Isaac Asimov is an old familiar. Not only did he create the three laws of robotics and 'Foundation', his name also presides over countless... Read more
Published on June 10 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The all time grandmaster speaks
Asimov was the all time master of the American sf of his era. Like all good teenage boys I really enjoyed the puzzling Foundation books. Read more
Published on May 31 2003 by "yogsothoth666"
4.0 out of 5 stars Three thematically distinct tales linked by a clever premise
'The Gods Themselves' can most accurately be described as three distinct novellas that are linked by a ingenious premise (the transfer of matter and energy between parallel... Read more
Published on May 15 2003 by D. Cloyce Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthwile
The book is based on the electron-pump as an unlimited source of energy, possibly the most creative idea I've ever seen in a science fiction book. Read more
Published on May 10 2003 by Fernando
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know about this one...
(there may be spoilers in my review... so don't read on if you wanna figure things out for yourself. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 and 1/2 - Unique and captivating
This book, like Asimov's Foundation series itself, took form in the author's mind from the germ of a very small and seemingly insignificant seed (see "An Introduction At Some... Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2002 by Bill R. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks like I'll never get tired of Asimov.
Asimov is great because he combines science and stories in a perfect mix. His characters are memorable and human. His science, right. Read more
Published on July 26 2002 by Armando L. Franco Carrillo
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