by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg
First Publication Date: 1990
Kindle Edition: Spectra (November 9, 2011)
Print Length: 339 pages
Read from September 01 to 14, 2013
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
These two renowned writers have invented a world not unlike our own–a world on the edge of chaos, torn between the madness of religious fanaticism and the stubborn denial of scientists. Only a handful of people on the planet Lagash are prepared to face the truth–that their six suns are setting all at once for the first time in 2,000 years, signaling the end of civilization!
Imagine a parallel universe, in which we lived in a planet that had six suns instead of one. A planet where at least one sun is always visible in the sky, a place where it never gets dark. A planet without night. What would happen if all of a sudden, an eclipse occurs and for the first time in thousands of years the whole planet is unexpectedly dark? Moreover, what if we didn’t know that the sky is filled with stars at night?
Would we be surprised at the day of the eclipse, enjoy the dark sky filled with stars and think how wonderful it is or would we become terrified and loose our sanity?
“Nightfall” is a wonderful “What if…?” kind of story, in which the worse scenario is told, leaving us wondering about the consequences of a total unpredicted change in our scientific beliefs regarding our solar system. In addition, discussing how a powerful religion organization could benefit from this situation, and how it could influence and control people’s beliefs.
The book starts telling us about an archeologist, a scientist, a psychologist and a newspaperman. Slowly, their stories and discoveries connect with each other, converging to the main plot. The imminent threat of total darkness in the planet!
It was a very delightful read, I loved the characters and the ideas explored in the story. The ending was okay, leaving me thinking that humanity always takes the same paths, and the history tends to repeat itself from time to time, no matter what we do. Yes, that was the message of the book for me. Deep inside, I was hoping for something more extraordinary, but I think I understood the point of the authors.
It’s a nice light science fiction discussing science, social breakdown/organization and religion in one package. I gave it 4 stars just because the ending didn’t reach to my expectations, but that just me.
Note: Nightfall is a 1941 short story by Isaac Asimov that was adapted into a novel with Robert Silverberg in 1990.