Randomness Each Day Keeps the Sanity Away

"The Currents of Space" —Isaac Asimov

Of the two million inhabited worlds, maybe one person on every thousand has heard rumours of an artificially radiated world. A tenth of those have heard rumours that it’s the birthplace of mankind. Fewer still know the planet’s name: Earth. Earth is a sparsely populated, all-but-forgotten planet located in a just as sparsely populated sector of the Trantorian Empire. The Trantorian Empire includes a million different planets, half the populated worlds and it seeks to continue its expansion. The only thing stopping it is Sark. Sark is the wealthiest independent planet out there and it alone controls the lucrative kyrt, which can be produced only on Florina. Should Trantor invade, it would disrupt the kyrt trade and the million or so independent planets would go to war with the Empire.

But one man has discovered that Florina is in the path of destruction. He tries to do his duty, to warn the authorities to evacuate Florina, but the person he tells has reasons for this information to be kept secret. The man is ‘psyco-probed’ and reduced to a giant infant who has to be retaught how to walk, feed himself and talk. Slowly, his memories start to return, he even remembers that everyone on Florina is in danger, but can he remember the details in time to save millions of lives or is assassinated by those in power who wish to take advantage of the situation?

I read this book something like 15 years ago and couldn’t have told you anything about the story but the whole time I was reading it, I was like “Oh yeah! I remember that!” Thankfully, I couldn’t remember the very end so it was still a mystery. When I originally finished reading the book, I gave it away because it felt the middle part of something bigger and I didn’t know the other books in the series. 

Written in 1952 “The Currents of Space” was the third and last book that Asimov wrote for the Empire series, but is the second one chronologically speaking. It’s considered by critics to be one of Asimov’s lesser stories but still better than the average (at the time or presently). I personally thought it much better than the last novel “The Stars, Like Dust” and while fun, it wasn’t nearly as campy. At only 217 pages (my own story is longer) it’s a good suspense story that touches on potent sociological issues like class-by-birth, forced indenturement, and patriotism from different points of view. 

Next up: “The Pebble in the Sky”