Thursday, September 23, 2010

Addicted to Asimov's Foundation

I remember reading Isaac Asimov's I, Robot at university but I wasn't a fan, no doubt due to his attitudes towards women (positively Neanderthal). I've never accepted the "culture at the time" excuse as there have been enlightened men in every era who were capable of overcoming the standard misogynistic prejudices of their peers, e.g. Pericles of Athens, the Prophet Mohammed, and JS Mill to name but a few. Anyhoo, I stumbled across a copy of Asimov's Foundation in a hostel in Glasgow and since I was dying to read something, I devoured it that evening. Would you believe, there isn't a single female character in the entire book? No wait, there's one - the nagging wife of a minor king. Astonishing to find such a limited mind set in such a great mind. Hilarious, too, all the future space men smoking cigarettes. Ah, the Fifties. Nonetheless, it was compulsive reading and I've been badgering my library since to locate the other books in the series. Someone must have complained about the women at some point as the later books begin to include major female characters, though most of them are still nauseatingly presented. I suspect I would have found the man himself insufferable. Still waiting to read the two prequels and the final Foundation and Earth, but I won't bother with the spin-offs by other sci fi writers. This genre is due a revival, methinks. It's been moribund for some time now.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

I was a big fan of Asimov but honestly did not catch, or maybe it didn't matter to me then, that he was lacking in female characters. I have the Foundation series in boxes in the basement, but I have to say I found it hard to read a the time. It was a bit dry. I may have to pull them out and see if time has been kind to them and do a re-read.