Review of 'Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories (Volume 2)'

Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories (Volume 2) by Isaac Asimov
2nd book in the 'The Complete Stories' series

isaac_asimov_complete_stories_vol2.jpg In the second, and final, volume of Isaac Asimov's “The Complete Stories” 23 previously published short stories from between 1941 and 1976 are collected including his award winning 1976 “Bicentennial Man” novelette (scooping both the Hugo and Nebula awards for the year) in 635 pages. A short introduction by Asimov to the collection indicates his intention to continue publishing all of his vast array of work in this series but sadly this was not to be with his death in the same year of publication.

Most of the stories are quite formulaic with a mystery of some-sort that is solved in a dramatic fashion which for me makes it a bit tedious to read. Several of the stories feature his famous characters “Robopsychologist” Susan Calvin and the “extra-terrologist” Professor Wendell Urth. Most of the book focuses on either robots (expounding on aspects of Asimov's famous “three laws of robotics”) or the near-future rather than taking in any of his “Foundation” series. Most come in at around the 10-20 page mark but some, such as “Bicentennial Man” are closer to 50 making the book quite easy to pick up and put back down. With these lengths it is very difficult to get into the stories and characters before it ends and the next story awaits so it is best to read this book in pieces, a story or two every night to avoid mind fatigue.

This book demonstrates Asimov's talent as an SF author but includes stories that are so similar in nature that it hardly shows his depth. There a few amusing and intriguing surprises though with tales that have managed to stay surprisingly relevant after all of these years. A must read for fans of his work but otherwise not one of his best collections, perhaps better to seek out his novels instead…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-09-27

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 1992

Other reviewed books by Harlan Ellison, and Isaac Asimov:

Other reviewed books by Isaac Asimov: