– Was watching a Youtube video on Isaac Asimov when I came to know that this book was his first published novel. So got curious to find out how it was!
– It has a pretty interesting plot
One moment Joseph Schwartz is a happily retired tailor in 1949 Chicago. The next he’s a helpless stranger on Earth during the heyday of the first Galactic Empire. Earth, he soon learns, is a backwater, just a pebble in the sky, despised by all the other 200 million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it’s 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.
– But, having read several other short stories of Isaac Asimov, I could sense that this was from his earlier times. The writing did feel amateurish at places. The characters were pretty much one-dimensional.
– The female lead in this novel (daughter of a scientist who invents an awesome device! Yes, that same stereotype!) is a typical 40s or 50s woman. Falling easily for the brave and courageous hero! And the hero too! Wanting nothing else in the world than to hold her tight and kiss her. Couldn’t believe that this was the Asimov who wrote stuff like The Gods Themselves!
– The one portion where Asimov’s talent shines through is the portion in which Joseph Schwartz, a simple tailor from the 1960s, who gets teleported to the distant future, begins to realize his mind’s powers (after being treated by the Synapsifier) and how he learns the ways of the new world. These portions are kickass! Asimov’s descriptions of Schwartz’s Mind Touch power, using which he’s able to sense the minds of people around him, how he begins to use and understand them are gripping and very well written. Especially when he learns about the new world through conversations with a disabled old man while playing chess. How he concludes that his mind-reading ability must be unique, since people of this new worls are still playing chess!
– And I noticed whenever he introduces a new character, he has the tendency to give some background about what the motivations for that character are in life. And in what state of mind that character was at the time he/she is introduced.