Title: The Winds of Change
Author: Isaac Asimov
Page Count: 336
How exciting, another Isaac Asimov short story collection. Asimov is a great novelist, but I’ve always found that I prefer his shorter fiction, perhaps because he tends to preface all of his stories with little essays about how they came about. These might be a little less interesting when you’re just a reader, but if you’re a writer as well then there’s a lot to love.
I’d actually read one or two of the stories in this collection before, but that was okay because Asimov isn’t one of those authors where I skip the stories when they’re repeated. In fact in many ways, if I could only read books by one author, I’d potentially pick Asimov, just because there’s so much diversity there.
I’m not going to go into detail on all of the individual stories because that would take me forever, but a few of the standouts for me were A Perfect Fit, Belief, Fair Exchange? and The Last Answer. There’s also a cracker of a story called How it Happened, which is just three pages long and which has a super simple premise.
Basically, that story started out as the concept for a novel, where Asimov planned to include a bunch of different scenes from throughout history and to use his stories to explain alternative reasons for why they happened. The problem was that he only had one idea, and so he wrote that up and then turned it into a short story instead.
You could technically call it a gag story because it’s basically just a little bit of setup with a punchline, something that Asimov did with a few of the entries in this collection. In it, someone decides to write down the story of creation, but they quickly realise that they don’t have enough papyrus. In fact, they can only afford enough papyrus to cover six days. Fun times.