Recommended - Hugo Winner - Nebula Winner

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Asimov, Isaac
book-date: 1972
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Barclay Shaw

Book= near-Fine
Dustjacket= VG+ or better

DJ is mostly very nice, with no tears or much wear - back cover has a 3" crease at lower left corner/bottom.

The Gods Themselves - the Hugo and Nebula award winning novel by Isaac Asimov. Since I read this years ago, I am relying on a review by P. Schuyler Miller from Analog November 1972 for a coherent plot summary - here is a condensed version:

"... The complete quotation from Schiller is 'Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.' All three sets of characters have stupidity to contend with, but Isaac Asimov is no pessimist - he ends his citation with a question mark."

"The book has had one of the oddest serializations on record. Part I appeared in Galaxy earlier this year. [March 1972] Part II was in IF. [April 1972] Part III was back in Galaxy. [May 1972] ... Read whichever edition you can get your hands on."

The book begins like an Asimovian mystery when a lump of tungsten in a sealed bottle turns into the incredible Plutonium 186. One Dr. Frederick Hallam, the stupidity symbol of the first third of the book, stumbles into the discovery that 'people' in a parallel para-universe with different physical laws are somehow shoving the plutonium through the wall between the contiua. The result is an 'Electron Pump' that provides us with a seemingly endless supply of negative electricity and provides the para-people with positrons.
A few doubters reach the conclusion that the curvature of space-time is being homogenized in the 2 universes by this pumping process. At some time - and they think it will be soon - our laws will have changed enough so that the sun will become unstable and blow up. This part of the book describes their struggle against Hallam's stubbornness and stupidity - a devastating picture of academic in-fighting in Big Science and Big Education, which may draw upon some of Dr. A's personal knowledge of such things."

"The anti-Hallam faction has had messages from the para-universe, confirming their conclusion that the Electron Pump is dangerous. In Part II we see who sent them - one of the most fascinating lots of aliens we have seen in SF. They are trisexual - "male" individuals epitomizing rationality and the parental functions, physically and psychologically united by the "female" emotional. (What the 'Libs' will do to Dr. A. at his next convention I shudder to think!) The personalities of the 3 components of one triad, and the physical details of their society are beautifully worked out. The struggle of the Emotional Dua - a female who doesn't accept 'her place' - against the inborn stupidity of her Parental, Tritt, parallels the Lamont-versus-Hallam struggle of the first part, with some important differences."

"Among other things, it appears that the scientists of the para-universe are villains, not blunderers. They want to blow up our sun, and supply their fading world with illimitable energy for all time to come. In Part III, a human team on the moon dedicates itself to saving the universe - both universes - all the universes. Another of the anti-Hallam physicists, self-exiled on the Moon, is drawn into the gambit of a lunar independence underground, which includes a girl Intuitive... one of those rare human gestalt synthesizers who can comprehend and 'see' relationships that logical reasoners can't... This should almost be sure of a Hugo in Toronto next year. It might even get past the in-field of the Science Fiction Writers of America and win a Nebula." [- P. Schuyler Miller] (and he was right on both counts regarding "best novel" awards...)

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