The Roving Mind
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Isaac Asimov wrote over books, and was one of the most prolific authors of all time. While he is best known for his science fiction and popular science books, his writings cover an extremely wide range of subjects. This book of short essays is a great sampling of his writings--just take a look at the bookshelf tags I've assigned to this book; astronomy, computers, essays, memoirs, politics, religion, science and technology.
This amazing collection of essays was written in the late 's and Isaac Asimov wrote over books, and was one of the most prolific authors of all time.
This amazing collection of essays was written in the late 's and early 's. Many of the essays are speculations about the future, so many seem rather "quaint" now.
The Roving Mind
Nevertheless, it's fascinating to read Asimov's speculations, and to see that many of them have turned out to be true. For example, Asimov is responsible for coining the word "robotics". He foresaw that Pluto did not deserve to be called a planet. He foresaw the possibility of quantum computers. On the other hand, some of his speculations have turned out to be really on the wrong track; for example, he worried about global cooling.
He also was very very worried that the human race would destroy itself before the year After all, he wrote these essays during the height of the cold war. He also worried about over-population, famine, and the over-use of natural resources. Many of his essays start with something like: paraphrasing " This book contains essays about the future of transportation, communication, computers, space colonization, even of hotels and collecting--yes, collecting!
He was given a Radio Shack TRS computer, and wrote a humorous essay about it, making himself sound like a real Luddite! View 1 comment. Articoli di scienza e religione di un grande scrittore e scienziato e divulgatore. Argomenti vari, approcci vari, ma sempre interessanti. A brilliant visionary. I have read all the foundation and robot series and they were remarkable.
The articles in the The Roving Mind shows how his thought process works and how he has written his novels. Although some of the information is outdated this was published in this is still a worthwhile book to read not only to learn some basics in science and pseudo-science but also how to write non-fiction.
Asimov had an incredible gift for explaining hard-to-grasp concepts. I think he was a better non-fiction writer than fiction writer ducks and runs for cover. An enjoyable collection of essays on many subjects, showcasing Asimov's breadth of knowledge, his abundance of opinion, and the ease with which he could explain the science. Particularly beautiful is his discussion of how total solar eclipses on Earth are unique in the solar system. Only our moon's apparent diameter matches that of the sun as seen planetside. Therefore, only Earthlings experience Baily's beads.
Asimov had some prescient thoughts, natch, but these essays show how he sometimes got An enjoyable collection of essays on many subjects, showcasing Asimov's breadth of knowledge, his abundance of opinion, and the ease with which he could explain the science. Asimov had some prescient thoughts, natch, but these essays show how he sometimes got it dead wrong. For example, he entirely missed the internet, predicting instead a global laser-based communications network where each person has a unique laser frequency on which to receive and send targeted, personalized media and messages.
These essays also demonstrate how much of the religio-politico-scientific divides that we experience today were in fact in full swing during the Reagan years. Oct 26, Anthony Faber rated it liked it. Essays, most worth reading. May 18, Lance Johnson rated it really liked it. I always love reading Asimov. This is no exception. Dec 13, Harvo Jones rated it really liked it Shelves: read-by-harvo.
The Roving Mind was a fun collection of essays to read. They must have spanned many decades, going over Asimov's thoughts on dozens of topics. Providing the dates each essay was published would have provided some perspective for the reader. This is the third publication of Asimov's I've read. Foundation bored me to death. It seemed devoid of character development and emotion - it almost turned me off of space operas.
I've also read The Last Question. The vision of that story is grand, and it's The Roving Mind was a fun collection of essays to read. The vision of that story is grand, and it's one of the best short stories I know - I've read it to my kids twice. The 62 essays of The Roving Mind take the reader on a tour of Asimov's views on dozens of topics. It was a lot of fun to read his arguments against the social or scientific injustices of his day, and to reflect on the progress or lack thereof mankind has made since then. Asimov calls for protecting our planet and staving off overpopulation. He thinks it's crazy to allow the human population to grow unchecked, what with the increased pressure this places on the environment and on society.
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He hates discrimination against women, and their unequal treatment in the workforce. He also spends lots of time on science and space travel and the future. Asimov is open to the various potential outcomes of mankind's progress: from dire results, self destruction or natural disaster, to glorious results, interplanetary human habitats and interstellar long-travel.
He has a few spot-on predictions, such as one day computing devices being shrunk down to a mobile size and carried around in people's pockets, and everyone having their own electromagnetic frequency on which to transmit their own data to anyone in the world who wishes to watch : And of course many predictions that have borne no fruit.
Our spacefaring days seem dead at the moment, and no-one is flying around in a rocket chair. His views on education have altered the way I treat my own children. Asimov argues against education being relegated to a person dictating to children in a classroom, and instead for children to explore and to follow their curiosity, and for parents to encourage that curiosity. This includes his ideas of children of the future being provided their own computing device that they can ask questions to and learn from.
And today, whenever my three kids have a curiosity they turn to searching on their mobile devices, or they speak up and ask "Alexa, what does this mean? The information opened up to these kids and their ability to ingest it is great. But my favorite essay in the book was the last, on Asimov's father. I felt I got a sense of what tragedies could have occurred in easter Europe, what was avoided, and a father's lifelong sacrifice for his family.
I teared up a bit. That's the kind of emotion I long for in a story. Glad to get it in a collection of essays. May 16, Kevin rated it it was amazing. The book is a collection of articles published over a 15 year span and covering a wide range of topics including Religion, Science, Population, the Future and some personal stories. Clarke and Robert Heinlein.
The Roving Mind
But of these, Clarke and Asimov wrote about both fiction and science fact. I personally feel the comparison ends there. Asimov wrote over books in his lifetime!! Many were fiction science fiction , but he also wrote about history, philosophy, and basic sciences math, chemistry and physics. But, stop for a minute and think about that — books!
Anyway, I digress — as usual. For me, his writing is so clean and his reasoning and explanations so clear, it is hard for me to imagine there being anything in science or philosophy which Asimov could not turn into a popularized title for the general public. If you want to see where the country is headed and how the current path was predictable as early as , this section is worth the price of the book itself.
I grew up reading Asimov. I was amazed back then that anyone could write books.
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Forty odd years later, Asimov continues to amaze me and make me think. Asimov passed away in and we may never see his like again… Highly recommended!! Enjoyed the read.
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I would expect no less from a writer of Asimov's caliber. I know it would have rocked my socks off had I read it 25 years ago. His analysis of what we faced then was accurate. His extrapolations into the future credible. If his voice had been listened to back in the 's we would probably be in a better condition than we are.
He couldn't be expected to have foreseen the detail but he nailed most of the driving forces that have cumulated in the ecological crisis we face. It's Enjoyed the read. It's value now is in the clear exposition he had advancing an understanding of science and its vital importance to the rest of us. As a collection of essays, nothing could be in depth but I would still happily give this to someone with little knowledge of science despite it being "technically" out of date.