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Publisher's Summary

One moment Joseph Schwartz is a happily retired tailor in Chicago, 1949. The next he's a helpless stranger on Earth during the heyday of the first Galactic Empire. Earth, as he soon learns, is a backwater, just a pebble in the sky, despised by all the other 200 million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it's the original home of man. And Earth is poor, with great areas of radioactivity ruining much of its soil - so poor that everyone is sentenced to death at the age of 60. Joseph Schwartz is 62.

This is Isaac Asimov's first novel, full of wonders and ideas, the book that launched the novels of the Galactic Empire, culminating in the Foundation series.

(P)2009 BBC Audiobooks America

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

Jewel of a book

I don't know why I am always so surprised at how wonderful an Asimov story turns out .. and this was no exception.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A lot of talk

There were a lot of seeds for future novels and stories by future authors in this story. The galaxy is settle by man, a dark age happens and man forgets that Earth started it all. A man is operated on and now he can learn faster then other humans. Everyone must die at a certain age, so others will have more resources and of course the main topic in 1950, the result of atomic warfare. The problem I had was that it read more like a thesis then a story. The whole story took place mostly in a couple of rooms and the main characters talked and talked and talked. At a couple of points we were lead to believe the main character was going to explore the forbidden zone, but it never happened. IA usually has great ideas that are best showcased in short stories, whenever he lengthens them into novels they get to boring or silly.

33 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jonathan
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 10-18-13

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be...

Any additional comments?

Grow old along with me.<br/>The best is yet to be. <br/>The last of life, for which the first was made.<br/><br/>--Robert Browning (Quoted by Joseph Schwartz)<br/><br/>This is a great transitional book to the Foundation series and should be read before starting it with the book "Prelude to Foundation". This is the only book which includes a person from Earth in the present day (1949). It's amusing to have someone experience Earth in the distant future like the reader would have. The main character returns to Chicago after 10,000 years have elapsed and sees a city without the remotest connection to what he was used to except for the waterline. There are some great ideas in this book like every book in the Foundation series. The development of an ability to control other people telepathically is portrayed so well as to seem kind of realistic. The characters represent the final chapter of life on earth and it really puts perspective in understanding the view toward earth in the Foundation books

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • thomas
  • charlotte, NC, United States
  • 04-23-13

Solid Boyhood Sci Fi

Would you consider the audio edition of Pebble in the Sky to be better than the print version?

I would. I think the Asimov series in Audible is very well done. It captures the "old time radio" feel of the stories. This is not heavy literature, and the production is well done and appropriate.

What did you like best about this story?

It is a good story relative to the rest of the Galactic Series which in turn is a fine back story to the classic Foundation Series. The time travel concepts also inter play with The End of Eternity which in my view is Asimov's best stand alone novel.

Have you listened to any of Robert Fass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No but I thought he did a great job.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I think this novel is more contextual within the cannon of Asimov. I am glad I read it because it helped to fill out some data relative to the Galactic Empire.

Any additional comments?

This is a great summer book. Not heavy, interesting plot and very enjoyable. If you only read one Asimov I would recommend End of Eternity, if you only read 3 I would recommend The Foundation Series, but if you like Asimov and want to connect the Robot, GE and Foundation Series this is a must read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Completely disappointed..

I got this as it was highly recommended, not to mention Asimov is a literary legend. I would describe this to myself 1 month ago in the following manner: This is a book version of the type of movie that would be lampooned on MST3K -- and not in the funny haha way, in the "oh my God, I could be doing something much more worthwhile" way. The book uses "radiation is magic!" technology, the love affair between two of the characters is completely lame and unnecessary, the plot was really simplistic and obvious... uh.. just... lame.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Classic Sci-fi from the Golden Age

My first Asimov story for quite some time. An incredibly imaginative application of the science of his time combined with a human drama of an age set in our future among the stars, results in a story that bridges reality and stirs the heart.

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  • Story

beginning of an empire

As with most of Asimov's books, this one throws you into an unfamiliar landscape where you feel as lost as the main character. You learn of things as the character does and you genuinely feel like you are right there in the middle of it all.

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My favorite Sci-fi author

the story line and narration was on point. I thought his escape from the farm could have used a little more build up but a great story none the less.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very good book

This book is an excellent prelude story for Galactic Empire yet completely standalone and enjoyable if you are not familiar with other Asimov's books. Naration is superb. Very good voice acting for every character.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Melita
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • 05-09-15

You can't go wrong with Asimov

A good story with the usual surprise ending! Well read by the narrator. I always find Asimov's ideas intriguing. A nice way to while away the chores!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful