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The Currents of Space (1952)

by Isaac Asimov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Galactic Empire (2), Asimov's Universe (9), Foundation Expanded Universe (7)

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3,263554,040 (3.59)43
An oppressed laborer on the planet of Florina, Rik resigns himself to a life of hard work and the poor regard of people who believe him to be mentally impaired before he begins to recover memories of an imminent disaster.
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» See also 43 mentions

English (49)  Spanish (2)  Slovak (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This is the second novel in Asimov's Galactic Empire Trilogy, published in the early 1950s. This is set before the Galactic Empire ruled by Trantor comes into being, though it has expanded rapidly over the previous half millennium and rules half the Galaxy at the time of this novel, with its overall supremacy seeming inevitable to most. The story concerns the Squires of Sark, who rule and exploit the nearby planet of Florina, which is the Galaxy's only source of a valuable and multi-use substance called kyrt. But cosmic disaster is, or may be, about to strike Florina and only one man holds the secret of it, though his mind has been broken and he is a pawn between the factions vying for control on Sark and in the wider galaxy. This trilogy is generally considered to be among the weaker of Asimov's SF works, but I thought this story was stronger as a political thriller than The Stars, Like Dust. ( )
  john257hopper | Oct 29, 2023 |
Very classic, engaging sci-fi reflection on racism, domination and the Cold War. The clearly written during a specific moment in history, it didn't feel dated, perhaps because the underlying social conflicts are sadly still so much in force today. ( )
  lschiff | Sep 24, 2023 |
Hoewel dit niet het beste boek is van Asimov, is dit nog steeds een heel mooi boek om te lezen. Het snijdt thema's aan als slavernij, maar ook kapitalisme en trouw zijn aan je afkomst. Dus, hoewel niet de beste Asimov, toch een aanrader. ( )
  weaver-of-dreams | Aug 1, 2023 |
Abel said, “What is Florina to you?”
Junz hesitated. He said, “I feel a kinship.”
“But you are a Libairian. Or at least that is my impression.”
“I am, but there lies the kinship. We are both extremes in a Galaxy of the average.”
“Extremes? I don’t understand.”
Junz said, “In skin pigmentation. They are unusually pale. We are unusually dark. It means something. It binds us together. It gives us something in common. It seems to me our ancestors must have had long histories of being different, even of being excluded from the social majority. We are unfortunate whites and darks, brothers in being different.”

So some things have changed, but humanity is still up to its usual tricks, including shooting the messenger. The planet Florina is going to be destroyed, but when Rik brings the news he’s reduced to a vegetable by a psychic probe and dumps on the very planet with a time limit. Will he recover his memories in time to save everyone? This might sound a bit silly, but this is actually a very good novel with a serious intent.

It’s about pressions of various kinds: oppression, repression. Florina is a conquered world, run on a feudal system with the natives reduced to serfdom. A situation closely analogous to England after the Norman invasion, though I don’t think Asimov has this particularly in mind. Other references put one in mind of the plantation economy of the southern US states or of political oppression generally.

Either way, the Sarkites are repressing the Florinians in a variety of nasty ways, not least by suppressing education. Ultimately it’s their ignorance that keeps them in check. This is reflected in Rik’s condition. His knowledge has been suppressed. I suppose the point being that ignorance leads to to destruction. This is essentially a political thriller written like a mystery. The reader’s knowledge is also suppressed so your awareness of the plot plays out backwards.

The novel has a number of flaws, but I think most can be winked at because there’s so much here that works. The most glaring is that it’s too short. This is not something I often say, but it could do with an extra hundred pages. I suppose sf was limited to about 200 pages at the time because of printing costs and Asimov does an excellent job of getting the essentials into such a short space. It’s efficient and economical and very well constructed. There are just some things that could do with being fleshed out for artistic reasons. ( )
  Lukerik | May 3, 2023 |
The 7th in what can be seen as the "extended" 15 book Foundation Series. This 1950's book is also the 2nd in the Galactic Empire books. This one shows the empire still strong enough to do great and good things. ( )
  Daniel_M_Oz | Mar 10, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, IsaacAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, Kevin T.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freas, Frank KellyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holicki, IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toivonen, AnjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To David, who took his time coming but, was worth waiting for
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An oppressed laborer on the planet of Florina, Rik resigns himself to a life of hard work and the poor regard of people who believe him to be mentally impaired before he begins to recover memories of an imminent disaster.

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Ormai da secoli il pianeta Florina è dominato, con inaudita ferocia, dai crudeli Signori di Sark, bramosi di accaparrarsi il possesso del Kyrt, una delle sostanze più preziose dell'intera Galassia. Improvvisamente però il potere dei Signori viene messo in pericolo. Uno scienziato terrestre, un analista dello spazio stellare, ha scoperto che un cataclisma di natura planetaria sta per colpire Florina. Terrorizzati dall'idea che la spaventosa minaccia possa interferire nella produzione del Kyrt, i Signori tentano di catturare lo scienziato per privarlo della memoria, ma l'intervento di misteriosi emissari di una potenza straniera farà fallire il loro piano. Unendo il fascino di una straordinaria ipotesi scientifica alla grandiosità dei suoi affreschi spaziali, Asimov ha realizzato, con questo romanzo, uno dei più interessanti capitoli dell'epica saga dell'Impero Galattico.
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