Anything can happen and probably will right here on Earth

You don’t have to rent a spaceship or sign up for a singles cruise to Saturn or spend your weekends star-hopping along the Milky Way because

Earth is Room Enough.

Earth is where the action is and each tomorrow unleashes new discoveries.

Here are brilliant, witty, frightening, and fascinating stories of the future by the greatest science fiction master of them all. Just hitch your mind to these weird and wonderful tales for a spin around the world of tomorrow that will take you right to the center of your wildest dreams.

This is my second-favorite of all of Asimov’s short story collections.

I freely admit my prejudice here: this is "golden age" syndrome in full bloom. I purchased my copy in my early teens—probably in 1973 or 1974—at a grocery store a couple of blocks south of my junior high school, and have read it a half-a-dozen times in the twenty years since.

On the other hand, this is a collection of stories taken from the 1950’s, when Asimov’s fiction writing was at its peak, and not selected on the basis of they-haven’t-been-anthologized yet. The net result is that, although the collection contains some decidedly weak stories (e.g., “The Message” and “Hell-Fire”), and some decidedly medium stories (e.g., “Gimmicks Three”, “Someday”), it also contains some of Asimov’s best stories (“Dreaming is a Private Thing”, “The Fun They Had”, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”, and, above all, “The Dead Past”). Plus, of course, we have two delightful pieces of comic verses that seem to parodies of something somebody else may have written, although I certainly have no idea who that could be.

(Another personal note: When first I read this collection, I always groaned when I started. “The Dead Past”, after all, was over 50 pages long! And “Someday” was by far my favorite story in the collection. Somehow, my views regarding these two stories have changed over the last twenty years. “The Dead Past” is among my very favorites of all of Asimov’s shorter works, and “Someday” is decidedly an also-ran.)

This collection was put together by Asimov to answer one of several consistent criticisms he faced during the 1950’s: that he couldn’t write sex, that he couldn’t write aliens, and that he couldn’t keep any of his stories on the Earth.

The result is delightful. We have here an excellent robot story, some strangely wistful stories, some of the earliest (and best) Multivac stories, and, of course, “The Dead Past”.

Definitely a must-have for the Asimov fan, the full contents of this collection now make up the first third of The Complete Stories, volume 1.

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