Saturday, June 29, 2019

Review of "Azazel Fantasy Stories," by Isaac Asimov

Review of

Azazel Fantasy Stories, by Isaac Asimov ISBN 0553283391

Three out of five stars

 While I am a big fan of Isaac Asimov and can accurately claim to have read a majority of his hundreds of books, the Azazel stories do not thrill me in any way. The plot device is that Azazel is a small red “demon” with magical powers and can be called up via an incantation uttered by George Bitternut. Bitternut is a notorious deadbeat that is always sponging off of others, yet his victims never seem to mind, even though they know what he is.

 The openings of the stories varies a bit, yet not by much. Therefore, after a few stories, the reader will tend to skim the first few paragraphs. After the context is established regarding the difficulties a specific person is having, George will call up Azazel and have him cast a spell to “correct” the problem. The end result is one of unintended consequences that are meant to amuse.

 In many cases, the results of George and Azazel’s meddling is predictable, for Asimov restricts himself to human situations and consequences that involve no violence or other hostile acts. The commentary is very sexist, in the sense that there are many references to the curvy female form and other mild sexual acts. This is a book that I could not read late at night, for it tended to put me to sleep.

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