Isaac Asimov – The Stars, Like Dust
Not the most graceful fiction, nor are the characters well developed. But the story gets better if one knows a little backstory first. This is the first novel of a three-part series written early in Asimov’s career. It was something of a prequel to his Foundation series, Asimov’s best-known fiction. The story of The Stars, Like Dust is loosely based on the history of the Golden Horde, a Mongol faction led by Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan; the larger Foundation series is loosely modeled on the Roman Empire’s decline. It is filled with infighting and intrigue. That said, the surprise plot twist in the end firmly establishes this book as a product of mid-20th century America. This book is better as a slice of mid-20th-century American culture than as a serious work of science fiction. Perhaps not coincidentally, Asimov called this book his least favorite novel.