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Nerdy Bookclub - Nightfall by Isaac Asimov

The Image above is of the 1990 Novel that was written based on the story we'll be reading/listening to.  "Nightfall" is a 1941 science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov about the coming of darkness to the people of a planet ordinarily illuminated at all times on all sides.  The short story has been included in 48 anthologies, and has appeared in six collections of Asimov's stories. In 1968, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted Nightfall the best science fiction short story written prior to the 1965 establishment of the Nebula Awards, and included it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One,[masked]

The short story was published in the September 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine under editor John W. Campbell. It was the 32nd story by Asimov, written while he was working in his father's candy store and studying at Columbia University. According to Asimov's autobiography, Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing with him a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!"  Campbell's opinion to the contrary was: "I think men would go mad."

You can listen to it here:

http://escapepod.org/2007/04/05/ep100-nightfall/

You can read it here:

http://www.astro.sunysb.edu/fwalter/AST389/TEXTS/Nightfall.htm

http://www.uni.edu/morgans/astro/course/nightfall.pdf

I would like as many of you as possible to listen to the story because I want to discuss the difference between reading a book and listening to it.  Feel free to do both since it is so short.  

Also, feel free to explore more short stories in fantasy and science fiction that you think the rest of the group should read.

Happy Listening!  See you soon.

P.S. - Remember to dress appropriately.  This is a covered outdoor area and it may be chilly this time of year.

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  • Adnan

    Thought this might interest some people. Asimov's predictions of what 2014 would be like. http://www.openculture.com/2014/01/isaac-asimov-predicts-what-the-world-will-look-in-2014.html

    1 · January 1, 2014

  • Jonathan

    ...Because I like to know about these things, here's a Wikipedia link to the solar flare event that Mike brought up in the discussion today. To get at Jim's point of destruction of society:

    "In June 2013, a joint venture from researchers at Lloyd's of London and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in the United States used data from the Carrington Event to estimate the current cost of a similar event to the world economy at $2.6 trillion (£1.67tr)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

    December 29, 2013

  • Lani

    I couldn't find parking and gave up. :(

    December 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It's bumper to bumper out here

    December 29, 2013

    • Jim M.

      No traffic near sports museum.

      December 29, 2013

  • Jim M.

    Parking is very busy today. I recommend you park next to the Sports Museum and walk over. See y'all soon.

    December 29, 2013

  • John

    Sorry...something came up.

    December 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have some things I need to do today, I'll do my best to make it!

    December 29, 2013

  • Jim M.

    Topics for our Discussion of Nightfall by Isaac Asimov:

    1. Did you feel satisfied by the end of this short tale? Was it appropriate to have to story turned into a full book? Have any of you read it? Short story vs. novel? Discuss.

    2. What did you think of the audio? How many of you prefer audio books? Have you read a book and heard the audio? Are there any audio books that you recommend? Do any of you have trouble listening to audio books?

    3. Is our media's power over our society greater than that described in the story? Could our media convince us to avoid implosion if it were imminent in a way that Lagash could not?

    December 28, 2013

    • Jim M.

      6. I know we have had a lot of apocalyptic conversations in this group before, so I tried to think of a different way to approach this one; What do y'all think could actually bring our current society to an end? Do you think there is anything that could ever set our current society back to the stone age? If every person on Earth was led to believe that the world would end in twenty-four hours, even if that were not actually true, but everyone believed this were true, what do you think people would do; how would they act?
      7. What if one night, all of the stars in Earth’s sky seemed to vanish? How do you think the people of Earth would react if all the distant stars we are all so used to seeing all simply winked out of existence, without visible supernovae, and without warning or explanation? Think of how people react right now when there are blackouts and they are without electricity for even two or three days, particularly in cities.

      December 28, 2013

    • Jim M.

      8. The people of Lagash could not comprehend the existence of a universe. Do you think there are limits to human kind's comprehension?

      December 28, 2013

  • Timothy O.

    Another short story by Asimov, in case you liked the first one: http://filer.case.edu/dts8/thelastq.htm

    1 · December 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    FYI, library program pass that gets you 10% off at the Sculpture Cafe, and free museum entry for two weeks: You can now check out passes to the San Diego Museum of Art, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and The New Children's Museum at your Library. These circulating passes allow two weeks of free admission for two adults and four children under 18. With the pass, you also receive 10 percent off at the Museum Store and the Sculpture Court Café. Two of the circulating passes are available at each branch library and ten at the Central Library. Visit http://www.sandiego.gov/public-library/services/specialresources/index.shtml to check out museum passes.

    December 3, 2013

  • Niklaus P.

    for those of us with Ebook readers or an Ebook reader app on our phones, you can download Youth by Asimov in Epub format for free from the Project Gutenberg website...

    1 · December 3, 2013

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