Nightfall

Nightfall❰Reading❯ ➿ Nightfall Author Isaac Asimov – Oaklandjobs.co.uk O universo não é exactamente como julgaste ue fosseO melhor será alterar auilo em ue acreditaisPorue o universo esse certamente não o podereis alterarVem aí o Anoitecer AcreditaiKalgash é um mun O universo não é exactamente como julgaste ue fosseO melhor será alterar auilo em ue acreditaisPorue o universo esse certamente não o podereis alterarVem aí o Anoitecer AcreditaiKalgash é um mundo à beira do caos divivido entre a loucura do fanatismo religioso e o racionalismo intransigente dos cientistas E espreitando por detrás de tudo isso está o medo instintivo e universal Da escuridão Kalgash apenas conhece a permanente luz do dia; para os seus habitantes o adensar do crepúsculo pressagia horrores indescritíveisE apenas um punhado de pessoas à face do planeta estão preparados para enfrentar a verdade – os seus seis sóis vão atravessar a linha do horizonte ao mesmo tempo pela primeira vez em mais de dois mil anos assinalando o fim da civilização ue explode perante o esplendor assombroso do anoitecer. Fifteen Minutes in the DarkThe best science fiction looks backwards into the past as well as speculating forward into the future linking things we think or thought we’re sure of with things that don’t exist Comparing the two can be sobering as well as enlightening Asimov writes just this kind of inter temporal story in Nightfall On the one hand it anticipates things like the debates about climate change and dark matter that wouldn’t emerge articulately for decades On the other it contains historical echoes of philosophical and theological issues from Pascale’s Wager to Galileo’s condemnation by the Church to the impact of Kantian categories of perception The story then mixes the anticipatory and the completed into a sort of a theory of Mind and explores the delicate dependency of Mind upon expectations as well as memory specifically the dependency on light among a species unfamiliar with darkness As one of Asimov’s characters says “Your brain wasn’t built for the conception of total darkness any than it was built for the conception of infinity or of eternity You can only talk about it A fraction of the reality upsets you and when the real thing comes your brain is going to be presented with the phenomenon outside its limits of comprehension” A very interesting premise What then? “My god it's full of stars”This famous phrase from 2001 A Space Odyssey is also applicable to Nightfall but with an entirely opposite connotation Nightfall was originally a short story by Isaac Asimov first published in 1941 It is considered a classic sci fi short story and often cited as one of the all time greats example “best” list The book being reviewed here is an expansion of this short story in collaboration of the great Robert Silverberg a legend among veteran sci fi readers When this novelized version of Nightfall came out in 1990 I was not interested in reading it as I thought the original story is perfect as it is and I could not imagine how expanding or padding it out can improve on it In a way I was right this Nightfall novel is not an improvement of the story but I was wrong to assume that it would not be worth reading The novel in and of itself is a very good readA view of Nightfall solar eclipse on KalgashThe main original storyline is uite straightforward; set on a planet called Kalgash which has six suns with normally up to four appearing in the sky at any one time five rarely all six never With this setup it is always daytime on this planet some hours are dimmer than others as the suns are of different sizes or distances from the planet The inhabitants of this planet have no experience of night and have never seen stars in the sky They even believe that the universe has only six stars and is uite limited in size Unfortunately for them exactly every two thousand and forty nine years the stars align with the planet’s moon in such a way that only one sun appears in the sky and it is blotted out for hours by the shadow of the planet's moon causing a lengthy total solar eclipse the planet is then plunged into night and the stars are visible This does not seem like much for us Earthlings but the Kalgash people cannot cope with such extreme “weirdness” it is too terrifying and cracks their brains permanently in many casesThe original story is only concerned with the impending night and the immediate impact on the people when night and the stars appear With this novel Robert Silverberg have added on “bolted on” the detractors say a section leading up to the Nightfall called “Twilight” and another section which follows after the Nightfall event called “Daybreak” So it is a novel of three parts1 TwilightThis is basically the preuel to the original short story it takes place about one month prior to the Nightfall event “Twilight” is interesting enough with some good characterization I like that a psychologist is investigating mental illness caused by 15 minutes exposure to darkness in a theme park ride It adds to the believability of the main premise The tension slowly builds toward the cataclysmic Nightfall; I was however impatient to get to the main event myself 2 Nightfall The main event the cataclysmic “Nightfall” solar eclipse This is basically the original classic short story with some minor alterations to make it consistent with the other two parts but the story remains intact Not surprisingly this middle part of the book is the most powerful it really is absolutely riveting3 DaybreakClearly the seuel to Nightfall This final part is basically a post apocalyptic story or “post eclipse barbarism” as one of the characters puts it In some respect it reminds me a little of the movie “28 Days Later” with zombies homicidal maniacs running around attacking people It lacks the raw power of the classic “Nightfall” part but is exciting than the “Twilight” part I feel the post apocalyptic framework is too commonplace for Silverberg His best solo books tend to have much outré plots There is only so much you can do with this kind of post apocalyptic setting I think Still “Daybreak” is a compelling read because Silverberg is a great storyteller; it also has a nice little twist that I did not expectI suppose you could call the additions a prologue and an epilogue but they are really too long for that; of a preuel and a seuel to the original story I disagree with the detractors that “Twilight” and “Daybreak” are clunky bolted on things The book viewed as a whole is uite cohesive and very readable I tend to mention Silverberg than Asimov in this review because the former did all of the writing of the additional parts Asimov wrote the original version of the middle “Nightfall” part but Silverberg made some minor alterations to ensure consistency with the other two parts Asimov had the final say in the content of the whole book anything Silverberg wrote which he did not like was excised†The prose style is mostly that of Silverberg's which means it can be uite elouent and even fanciful That said he seems to be channeling Asimov’s clear cut minimalist style at times also The central characters are well developed but they are dwarfed by the setting and the plot and they are basically there to move the storyline forward Nightfall is definitely not about the characters The two authors seem to have worked very well together and I look forward to reading the other two collaborations from them namely The Ugly Little Boy and The Positronic ManIf you have not read the original “Nightfall” story I urge you to hunt it down and read it post haste it is an unforgettable experience This novel is also well worth reading for its own sakeuotes “We’ve evolved under conditions of perpetual sunlight every hour of the day all year round If Onos isn’t in the sky Tano and Sitha and Dovim are or Patru and Trey and so forth Our minds even the physiologies of our bodies are accustomed to constant brightness We don’t like even a brief moment without it”“There’s a psychological term for mankind’s instinctive fear of the absence of light We call it ‘claustrophobia’ because the lack of light is always tied up with enclosed places so that the fear of one is fear of the other”“Millions of years of evolution shaping us to be what we are Darkness is the most unnatural thing in the world”“Imagine if you can a world that has only one sun As that world rotates on its axis each hemisphere will receive light for half the day and will be entirely dark for the other half”“They hammered at the roots of his being They beat like flails against his brain Their icy monstrous light was like a million great gongs going off at once”Notes There's an audiobook of the short story on Youtube† Degree of collaboration between Asimov and Silverberg on Nightfall More to follow tomorrow I'm still wondering if this should be downgraded to 3 starsNow I really enjoy Asimov books in fact he's probably my favourite author even if he didn't write my favourite book all of which is besides the point really as unfortunately I did not find this the best of Asimov's booksThe short story he wrote on which this is based is a masterpiece this not so much so Parts of the book are true Asimov the characters the settings and a lot of the story driven conversations which to me he is famous for But there are also parts of the story that aren't Asimov view spoilerwhat happened to Sifeera on reaching Sanctuary after the cataclysmic events was certainly not Asimov hide spoiler Real Rating 45 of fiveI absolutely adore this story It's my favorite Asimov story or book I was delighted to learn that the ancient radio drama X Minus One recorded a half hour dramatization of it I just can't express the degree to which I love the Asimovian take on relativism's simultaneous necessity and vicissitudes are played out in a hugely amusing mannerA planet inhabited by intelligent technological species that's lit by five stars is about to experience for the first time in 2500 years a total absence of sunlight All the suns will be in eclipse at the same time And uite naturally a super daffy religion has sprung up sometime in the past 2500 years that interval is not accidental to predict The End of Days when this utter total eclipse occurs Then the psychologists start explaining what's going on; then there is the eclipseLet There Be LightJust marvelous And as of the COVID 19 plague of 2020 eerily timely If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewSextuple star system Nightfall by Isaac Asimov Robert SilverbergIf the stars should appear one night in a thousand years how would men believe and adore and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shownIn Nightfall by Isaac Asimov Robert SilverbergThe story of course being about how it doesn't uite work out like thatWhen I think about “Nightfall” Byron’s “Darkness” comes to mind alwaysI had a dream which was not all a dreamThe bright sun was extinguish’d and the starsDid wander darkling in the eternal spaceRayless and pathless; and the icy earthSwung blind and blackening in the moonless airMorn came and went—and came and brought no dayAnd men forgot their passions in the dreadOf this their desolation and all heartsWere chill’d into a selfish prayer for lightAnd they did live by watchfires—and the thronesThe palaces of crowned kings—the hutsThe habitations of all things which dwellWere burnt for beacons; cities were consumedAnd men were gathered round their blazing homesTo look once into each other’s faceMore stuff on the other side of the fence The original short story Nightfall is brilliant and deserves five stars This novel based on that short story only gets 2 stars It was bloated and forgettable Don't bother with it unless you're an Asimov completist If you've never read the short story you need to go find it It's in a lot of SF collections and should be readily available To start with I thought the original 1941 novelette was absolutely fascinating People experiencing a world wide event that had never occurred before in their entire history trying to prepare for it and being horrified as it actually occurs The end is an absolutely masterful span of writing ever increasing suspense and dark madness as a mob descends cut off so abruptly it's almost certainly the reason the story is so popularAnd then Silverberg brings us to the new world and spends a hundred pages detailing the hopelessness of the post apocalyptic world and the self pity the protagonists wallow in It's very unfortunate that he decided to expand the novel because his verbose meandering is so jarring compared to Asimov's succinct prose The original short story is included almost whole as the middle third with a few obvious and unnecessary interjections by Silverberg providing a uniue contrast on the power of a short versus a novelThe characters are what drive this story much than in the original The pacing is slow and drawn out letting them discover ponder agonize reflect and discuss Much of the mundane could have been left out included either to hammer home the idea that these people are identical to us or just that Silverberg didn't have the skill to create an approachable alien and the writing desperately needed an editor's judicious efforts Still the only truly jarring parts were the long flashbacks stitched into the beginning of the shortAlthough the plot has a definite fluff feel the masterful writing and ideas of Asimov keep it from becoming stale Silverberg manages to paint a very convincing picture of a fresh post apocalyptic world full of fire and distrust and petty warlords and above all ever increasing despair and loss By the end the heros' failure is absolute and even the twist but not so surprising ending can't eliminate the sense that the survivors are doomed That kind of emotional downer is rare in science fictionI kind of liked it I don't think it's nearly as rereadable as the short story when nearly all of the forward motion hinges on the original but the character interaction and explorations of an old culture clashing and morphing into new provide a passtime for an afternoon Nightfall isn't that bad The plot advances at a nice pace It all breaks down in the end though At points I was close to giving Nightfall three stars The bad delivery of the ending and the overall pulpiness of the story are what drop the ratingThe story is fun but has a full time job holding itself together just on the surface level This leaves no room for any depthThe final resolution of the story is not that bad in itself but the way it is told is anti climactic Some people say there is not enough here for a novel that Asimov should've kept it a short story but I disgree If anything the book should have been longer to let the ending play out in a dramatic fashion been a long time essei see you central park east secondary school library reading nook circa 1991i see you An amazing short story rewritten as a novel by popular demand Or maybe just Asimov's determination to keep 'improving' perfectly good work Sadly this is exactly the same short story as the original Nightfall just with words to slow it down a bit and the 'assistance' of another author who isn't Asimov anyway