Friday, June 26, 2020

Review of "Youth," by Isaac Asimov

Review of

Youth, by Isaac Asimov ISBN 9781606644683

Five out of five stars

 This short science fiction story is based on the premise of two young creatures (Slim and Red) finding strange little animals after hearing thunder sounds. It is quickly clear that the two animals are in fact space travelers (Explorer and Merchant) and their ship crashed on the home world of Slim and Red. Their fathers are (Astronomer and Industrialist) and the narrative passes back and forth between each of the three groups.

 The interaction between the two in each of the three pairs is the most entertaining aspect of the story. The Astronomer and Industrialist talk about how their world once was, and how it has steadily declined over the generations. There is a smooth road that was built so far back that no one knows how it was done. There is mention of the use of atomic weapons, but even that is rather vague. The Explorer and Merchant are the only two survivors of the crash and they both think almost exclusively along the lines of what their names imply. While Slim and Red put Explorer and Merchant in a cage, they do nothing cruel and do what they can for them.

 There is a somewhat unexpected twist at the end, which explains why there are no descriptions of the normal actions of sentient creatures as they go about their daily lives. That makes this story a solid example of how short science fiction stories can pack a great deal of symbolism into a small amount of well chosen words.

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