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On reading: The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

May 21, 2014 5 comments

A while back, I was talking with my son, Jonathan, who lives in Wisconsin. He happened to mention one of Isaac Asimov’s short stories and said I absolutely had to read it (I’ll confess now that, despite being a sci-fi fan, I’d never read any of his work before … yes, that’s lame, I admit it). Given his glowing recommendation, I decided I should read the story. So I did. My thoughts? Well, I’m going to keep them to myself until after I hear from a few people. I don’t want my opinion of the story to influence what others might have to say.

To those who have read the story, what did you think about it? For those who’ve never read it before and are now curious enough to read it, let me encourage you to read the piece all in one sitting. It’s not that hard to do since it’s a short story, and it does, as my son suggested, make the story all that much more powerful.

To encourage you to read the story, here are a few introductory words penned by the author himself:

This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.

After all, I undertook to tell several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story and I leave it to you as to how well I succeeded. I also undertook another task, but I won’t tell you what that was lest l spoil the story for you.

It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author, except for the vague thought it might be me. But, of course, they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything — and I’m satisfied that it should.

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

–dp

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