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    An Analysis of the Stories The Last Question, Nightfall, and Evidence by Isaac Asimov

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    Isaac Asimov is known for his scientific stories that can really make one wonder. His works can be classified as either: hard, soft, or social science fiction. In the short story, “The Last Question,” there is deep intellectual thinking about the last question that cannot be answered. This story displays hard science fiction. “Nightfall” describes a planet with the lack of night ex- cept once every 2,049 years. This displays soft science fiction. “Evidence,” tells of a political election where one is accused of being a robot, and the accuser tries to prove his accusation using Asimov’s three laws of robotics. This displays social science fiction.

    “The Last Question” without a doubt is the most strange story out of the bunch. Asimov fills the story with very scientific and technical terms to build the plot. The characters do not have normal names. They consist of Zee Prime, VJ-23X, and much more. The plot behind the story revolves around the concept of entropy. They are concerned about running out of energy. Asimov uses this giant computer called the Multivac to have a base for the story.

    The Multivac is said to “had helped design the ships and plot the trajectories that enabled man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but past that, Earth’s poor resources could not support the ships.” (Asimov 1). The Multivac is obviously a super computer. Plotting trajectories that enable man to reach Mars and Venus, is something that is far more advanced than what is in present time. Asimov uses these concepts throughout the story to build on the hard science fiction.

    “Nightfall” provides Asimov’s science fiction but from a softer standpoint. It not as tech- nically but still uses concepts that are not true and exaggerated. The concern is the upcoming darkness that will cover all. The people on this planet rarely ever experience night. Asimov uses concepts like stars in the sky, and turns them into something deeper, “Lagash was in the center of a giant cluster.

    Thirty thousand mighty suns shone down in a soul-searing splendor that was more “Evidence” displays social science fiction by describing the events of a political election. Social science deals less with the technology and more with human qualities and behaviors. Quinn is trying to prove that Stephen Byerley is a robot. Asimov’s laws of robotics are used as the basis of the plot. Although the story is focused on robots, one can view this from a moral standpoint.

    Quinn is trying ways to prove Stephen is a robot but these ways can also prove that he is just a really good person. There cannot be any real evidence to prove a robot for that rea- son. “To put it simply, if Byerley follows all the Rules of Robotics, he may be a robot, and may simply be a very good man.” (121). This is what makes the story social science fiction. It’s more about the social and human interactions than of space. This story differs almost completely from the other stories for this reason.

    In conclusion, Asimov writes in different scientific fiction: hard, soft, and social. “The Last Question” is hard science fiction, “Nightfall” is soft science fiction, and “Evidence” is so- cial science fiction, Asimov uses many technological and intellectual points to build his plots in his hard and soft stories. He uses human behavior and interaction to build his social science fic- tion. It differs almost completely from “The Last Question” and “Nightfall.” Isaac Asimov is able to create a great story using any of the science fiction categories.

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