What is life?

Journeying across time, through the past, present, and our enthralling future, one of the world’s most prolific and widely read authors traces the roots of life in the universe. From the first protein molecule to the real possibility that we will eventually create computers that can simulate “life,” Isaac Asimov explains how life evolved and comes up with an unusual definition of this phenomenon that even allows for alien life forms.

LIFE AND TIME takes the reader an an adventure of the mind, a journey as exciting and imaginative as the mind of Isaac Asimov himself. Here is Asimov at his inimitable best, covering a fascinating range of topics with characteristic wit and insight: how the first “memory molecule”—a major breakthrough in brain research—was discovered; how science fiction preceded scientific theory with the idea of hyperspace; the legal aspects of space colonization; twenty catastrophes that could end the world (including the one we have to fear most); and, in “An Open Letter to the President,” Asimov’s own special solution to the energy crisis.

As with most of Asimov’s other non-F&SF essay collections, this is not a book I have anything particular against that bars my enjoyment of it—but neither is there anything in it that makes it stand out in my mind. We have the familiar range of styles, the familiar range of topics, and little of note.

Actually, there is one item of note: There’s an essay here, “A Choice of Catastrophes,” which was later expanded into a full book (A Choice of Catastrophes) and became the jumping off point for a “theme” anthology with Martin Greenberg, Catastrophes!. Nothing else, however, particular stands out in any way.

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