Saturday, November 2, 2013


Book: Youth
Author: Isaac Asimov
Edition: Gutenberg eBook
Read: June 2013
56 pages
Rated: 3 1/2 out of 5


Two aliens have landed on a planet where this teenager has picked them. Aliens had an arrangement to meetup with two of the adults on the planet, but the boy and his friend have ideas of using these aliens to runaway and join the circus. The story takes centuries, if not more, after an atomic war has taken place.

what would you do if two aliens landed on our planet?  As an adult, we might, if we are good, hand them over to authorities to talk with the or scientists to learn about them. An euntraporneir might look at how to exploit these beings. Instead of adults finding them, what would two young kids do? Figure out this is their way of joining the circus. Obviously, the exploitive side of things.

Of course, are these aliens intelligent? What consists of intelligence? If they cannot communicate with you, how do you judge that question.

The adults who are looking forward to the visit of these aliens are having a discussion on if change is good. One's position is that without change, we head towards stagnation and eventual  ruin as things progress to a final conclusion-think the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. But the flip side is that change brings about tension and war, things to avoid. Which is better-oblivian through destruction or through stagnation?

And then there is the question about how we should treat alien species when we find them. There will be a certain amount of fear. But Asimov's solution is to treat them how we would want to be treated. Also treat the young well is part of his answer.

 A short story which reveals how we look at those who are different. It is a good, quick read, well worth the hour or so of time read it. While not providing any new thoughts or questions, you do get to look at questions from a different perspective. As one reviewer noted, Asimov likes to give you a surprise twist to a story. But it is also noted that some of the story gets contrived while trying to accomplish this.  Youth provides the same type of twist which Asimov is known for.

Good Quotes:
  • First Line:  “Red and Slim found the two strange little animals the morning after they heard the thunder sounds.”
  • Last Line:  “His red tentacles, which gave him his nickname, quivered their regret at lost opportunity to the very last, and the eyes at their tips filled with drifting yellowish crystals that were the equivalent of Earthly tears.”
  • “It is only in old age that change is unwelcome,... and races can be old as well as individuals.”   Page 13
  • “An old man sleeps in the sun and his days are peaceful and unchanging, but each day finds him nearer death all the same”.  Page 13


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