When attempts to explore Mercury remotely by robot fail, a team of unusual brothers strive to find a solution to the problem.
Shades of "Runaround”!
I originally read this story in the May-June 1974 issue of If where it first appeared. It had already been rejected twice and was taken by the new editor of If, one distinctly feels, to add the prestige of an “Asimov” story to one of his magazines. I tend to agree with the first two editors who rejected it, however. The background is a little bizarre for Asimov, the characters uninteresting, the situation complicated and fuzzy, the ending too pat.
One of the problems with the story—although this isn’t anything you can fault Asimov for—has to do with its handling of autism. I think it’s fair to say that autism is still not understood very well, but we do understand it much better than we did in the mid 1970’s, and Asimov’s speculations on the subject tend not to hold up at all well.