In order to make my way through this gauntlet of dilemmas, I had to rely on the same method I used to design this challenge. That is to say, I submitted to whimsy and rapidly decided whatever the stink I felt like doing. Of course, the most important of those questions was answered for me when I realized there are some winners like Mirror Dance which are quite deep in their series (it’s book 14 of the Vorkosigan Saga) and I would never be able to go through and read every book from every series (despite the very real anguish this causes me). Although it makes sense, it could still present some very serious problems. When the awards were voted on, readers presumably had the benefit of reading all the books leading up to that year’s winner. Without that benefit, will I think less of a book without having met the characters before? I really struggled with this problem so I think I very probably will. So, consider this your warning that there might be some pretty heavy caveat-ing of some of my future posts.
In any case, this should be an exciting book as Asimov represents one of the “Big Three” of science fiction along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. If we’ve learned anything from the amount of big three’s that have come and gone in the NBA, we should always be cautious about what seems to be the easy favorites. In particular, Asimov was extremely prolific, having written over 100 books, so the likelihood that even a goodly portion will be home runs seems dubious to me. I have also never read anything by Asimov before so all in all, I think the stakes are pretty damn high this week (which is a great way to start).
In order to make sure I have time to get books from various sources, I’ll be rolling the die a week in advance so here you go. Next week’s book will be the 1958 (non-retro) winner, The Big Time by Fritz Leiber.