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Pebble in the Sky (1950)

by Isaac Asimov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Galactic Empire (3), Asimov's Universe (10), Foundation Expanded Universe (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,705633,376 (3.65)60
Caught up in an experiment gone wrong, Joseph Schwartz is transported forward in time from post-war Chicago to the heyday of the first Galactic Empire. Earth, he soon learns, is a backwater, despised by the other two hundred million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it as the original home of man. And Earth is poor, with great areas of radioactivity ruining much of its soil, so poor that everyone is sentenced to death at the age of sixty. And Joseph Schwartz is sixty-two.… (more)
  1. 10
    Foundation by Isaac Asimov (br77rino)
    br77rino: Pebble in the Sky is the first book Asimov wrote regarding the Galactic Empire, a subject he used in his later masterpiece trilogy, Foundation.
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» See also 60 mentions

English (54)  French (4)  Spanish (1)  Slovak (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Clunky. ( )
  2wonderY | Mar 4, 2024 |
This was the earliest published novel in Asimov's Galactic Empire trilogy, but set after the other two. It is a little under a millennium into the rule of the Galactic Empire centred on the planet Trantor, and Earth is a backward, radiation-soaked planet, its population of only 20 million inhabitants despised and looked down on by the rest of the Galaxy. This is in part because of its audacious and ridiculous claim to be the original planet on which human beings first originated, against the conventional belief that humans arose separately on myriads of parents and then intermarried to become one species. Some extreme forces on Earth have a radical and horrible plan to change this situation and take their revenge on the Galaxy whom they spawned and who have now rejected them. An extra element in the pack is Joseph Schwartz, a man from the 20th century who has somehow been transported forward millennia in time...it was interesting to reflect on the thoughts and reactions of a man from contemporary (1949) Earth against the utterly strange world he finds himself in, though this element was not essential to the main plot. This is a good dramatic novel with much to say about the nature of mutual prejudice between peoples and is my favourite of the Galactic Empire trilogy and for me probably the only one of the trilogy that is comparable in standards and impact to Asimov's better known work. ( )
  john257hopper | Dec 9, 2023 |
Joseph Schwartz is walking down a sidewalk in Chicago on a summer day in 1949. A freak accident in a nuclear research facility creates a rift that sends Schwartz to a far distant time in Earth history and a Chicago, and indeed a planet, that he cannot relate to or understand. It is the era of the Galactic empire and Earth is a backwater - a pebble in the sky. It is awash with radiation and cannot sustain the abundant population that existed in Schwartz's time. It has nothing to offer the empire, except it may be the home planet of the human race - though most of the empire denies that. It takes a man from earth's past to restore its heritage and create a new future. This is Asimov's first novel and it is the book that launches the Galactic Empire series and sets the stage for the Foundation series. Not sure how I haven't read this before now as I devoured the rest of these books as a young person. But now having read the Foundation series, I can see the echoes of its beginnings here. Typical of Asimov it is thought provoking and a good read. lt is timely as well as it should force to reader to consider how we care for our world that sustains us. ( )
  Al-G | Aug 26, 2023 |
“—Para o resto da Galáxia, se é que notam a nossa existência, a Terra é apenas uma pedra no céu. Para nós é o nosso lar, e o único que conhecemos. No entanto, não somos diferentes de vocês dos mundos siderais; somos apenas mais desafortunados. Estamos apinhados em um mundo morto, imersos entre paredes de radiação que nos prendem, cercados por uma imensa Galáxia que nos rejeita. O que podemos fazer contra o sentimento de frustração que nos consome?”

Honestamente, eu não faço ideia do motivo que me fez ler esse livro, ou até mesmo o que me fez chegar até ele. Não sabia sobre o nome-duplo (Era Galática ou A Pedra no Céu), nem que fazia parte de uma série de livros (#3 do Império Galático) ou, o principal, que tinha sido o primeiro livro escrito pelo Asimov. Por isso, talvez essa tenha sido uma das experiências literárias mais puras ― no quesito de não ser influenciado externamente ― que tive nos últimos tempos.

É um livro meio cafona, principalmente por causa do romance e final novelesco, mas que aborda diversos assuntos interessantes e pertinentes, pendendo entre o mediano e o bom ao longo de quase toda sua extensão. Entretanto, não há como negar que é um impressionante livro de estreia para o Asimov, bem escrito e altamente imaginativo, ainda não li as obras vitais do autor, mas imagino que esse seja um vislumbre do gigantesco potencial que ele mostrará nas próximas décadas.

Apesar dos problemas, com certeza não falta entretenimento, até mesmo os acontecimentos mais imaginativos e improváveis são no mínimo divertidos. Há também muito conflito, de todos os tipos, desde o conflito interno quando Joseph, o protagonista, questiona sua própria sanidade repetidamente, até conflitos planetários, pessoais, e sociais. Isso tudo junto com as ótimas pinceladas de construção de mundo feitas pelo Asimov, alancavam a leitura e conseguem manter o livro ainda apreciável mesmo após quase setenta anos desde sua publicação.

Pedra no Céu, no entanto, é curto pro escopo que tenta abarcar, não tem o comprimento necessário para fazer justiça às ideias jogadas no livro, que provavelmente serão expandidas em outros trabalhos do autor.

Por exemplo, temos a questão da radioatividade que influenciou Asimov, permeou o livro e origina o seu título (a terra radioativa desprezada pelo vasto império galático); a teoria (esquecida no período que o livro se passa) de um arqueólogo do Império de que toda a vida se originou na terra; e até questões como discriminação, eutanásia e superpopulação, velhice (estas são as que mais sofrem). Tudo isso é abordado muito por alto, de modo que não chega a ser um grande problema, mas é um tremendo desperdício de potencial.

Por fim, o livro não é uma experiência ruim, a primeira parte possui um tom de mistério que faz bem em prender o leitor, a escrita é bastante boa e divertida, e nem o final irritante e insosso consegue estragar a experiência totalitária do livro (ao menos para mim). No geral, novelesco, mas um bom livro. ( )
  RolandoSMedeiros | Aug 1, 2023 |
[Event "Pebble in the Sky"]
[Site "Chapter Eleven"]
[Date "Galactic Era 827"]
[Round "51"]
[White "Grew"]
[Black "Schwartz"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 {Where am I?} 5. Nc3 {What?} Be7 {Earth} 6. O-O b5 7. Bb3 d6 8.
d3 {What world is this?} O-O 9. {827 GE} Nd5 Na5 10. Nxe7+ Qxe7 11. Ne1 Nxb3 12. axb3 {What's GE?} Nd7 13. f4 f5 {Saturn, you mean?} 14.
exf5 {it was the wrong choice} Rxf5 15. Nf3 Bb7 16. Bd2 {Earth is boss} exf4 17. Nd4 Rg5 18. Nf3 Rg4 19. h3 Rxg2+ 20.
Kxg2 Qg5+ 21. Kh1 Ne5 22. Qe2 Qg3 23. Qg2 Nxf3 24. Bc3 Nd4 25. Qxb7 {Grew resigns because:} Qxh3+
26. Kg1 Ne2+ 27. Kf2 Qe3+ 28. Ke1 Nxc3#
0-1

A plot device transports Joseph Schwartz thousands of years into the future which is handy because that is when the novel is set and he is the hero. There’s an interesting theory on Wikipedia that the Empire is analogous to Rome and Earth to Judea. The events of the novel would be in the run-up to the destruction of the Temple in AD70. I agree with the theory. There are enough clues to establish that Asimov is talking about the Jews in his depiction of the Earth people and the timelines line up well too. It’s Galactic Era 827. If we take the foundation of Rome to be 753BC it would be equivalent to AD74. Close enough for government work.

Really not bad for a first novel. It’s a light, easy read with a good historical analogy. Perhaps tonally a little too light for the subject. Asimov does make one rookie mistake. Why is Schwartz in it at all, and why the whole thing with time travel? His mind powers could easily be given to one of the other characters. Plotwise, his only real function could be to prove Earth as the home planet, but this line appears to be abandoned half way through. Don’t let me ruin it for you. ( )
  Lukerik | May 5, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, IsaacAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Braiter, PaulinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deutsch, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fass, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Füssi-Nagy, GézaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holicki, IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pereira, Aline StortoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rogner, Jürgen F.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trout, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tupan, Maria-AnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volkmer, EykeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ziemkiewicz, PawełTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Two minutes before he disappeared forever from the face of the Earth he knew, Joseph Schwartz strolled along the pleasant streets of suburban Chicago quoting Browning to himself.
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Not exactly... It had been *something* like a touch, but not anywhere on his body. It was in his mind...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Caught up in an experiment gone wrong, Joseph Schwartz is transported forward in time from post-war Chicago to the heyday of the first Galactic Empire. Earth, he soon learns, is a backwater, despised by the other two hundred million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it as the original home of man. And Earth is poor, with great areas of radioactivity ruining much of its soil, so poor that everyone is sentenced to death at the age of sixty. And Joseph Schwartz is sixty-two.

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