I continued my read of Isaac Asimov’s Galactic Empire series with the second novel, The stars, like dust. Compared to Pebble in the sky, this second novel is even more soapy and cinema-oriented. Would probably make a good script for a teenage action movie. In short, my disappointment grown a little bit with this episode.
We have a young student, who develops from a carefree young man to a mature and married man in a couple of weeks, again we have a galaxy wide plot that is revealed, a lot of basic characters that have their fate chosen, but this time, we have a bit more twists and plot changes.
Biron Farrill is our main character, who is manipulated by one of his acquaintances to go to a different planet, to get dragged into a plot against the rulers of the system, the Tyranni. He is being chased by one of their leaders, during which time he falls for the daughter of the head of a planetary system, and for sure, as in soap operas, she falls for him as well. Apparent good characters are eventually revealed to have also evil intentions, but, the straight line of the characters is very well defined from the start. We have a simple girl who refuses an arranged marriage, a crazy science addicted uncle, a soldier, and a father who proves to be much more than what he appeared to be.
The world constructed by Asimov is not as complicated and as evolved as in the first novel, but this time he focuses much more on the twists of the plot. Also, he lefts out character development a lot, and only emphasizes on Biron, who gets all the evolution from zero to a full intelligent grown man able to discover the darkest secrets hidden for years. The one thing which I enjoyed was the reference to the United States Constitution, which again, brings back the motif of involution in the future, which Asimov has been playing in all his novels. Somehow makes us feel a little proud and accomplished in our century, and gives hope for a brighter future, that our current constitutions and liberal concepts can be looked at from a distant future with a bit of awe.
Very theatrical, recommendable for young teenagers, The stars, like dust, is a good train read, but nothing more. Maybe in the 50s was a great success, but today, is a bit obsoleted.