When I first read this story, I solely did it upon a recommendation by a friend. I thought to myself that it’d be a quick read – something that’d quickly pass through my mind as another story that I’d read during the summer. Except, I found myself continually entranced by Asimov’s notion of the universe, and the cycle of life. Admittedly, it took me a couple of different occasions to read the story entirely, but when I finished the story in its entirety I was more than reasonably pleased.
Asimov’s story begins with two human employees working in the distant year of 2061. The job of the two administrators were to provide basic care to Multivac – a giant, hyperintelligent computer; their duty was to add minute corrections and input some forms of data to the Multivac. Within the first “phase” of the story, and the first generation of humanity, the humans ask what can be done to decrease the entropy of the universe.
What kept me reading this story was how Asimov, after a set amount of time gave the readers another glimpse into the future, with a new generation of human asking a new iteration of the Multivac how the heat death of the universe could be averted. Asimov not only creates the tension for the readers, as they know that with each generation of humanity, their time is running out. Personally, I loved seeing the advancements of the human race within each generation; they were able to make leaps and bounds technologically, but still had the pressure of their own existence ending upon them.
With each generation, and each turn of events, the readers note of the increasingly advanced forms of life that has gone through the millennia – eventually humans shrug away from the conventional method of living through conventional means and travel through the universe as pure thought. The sense of awe I had when I read this passage is almost undescribable – Asimov had done it again. When I finally read the end of the short story, with its almost Biblical twist, I was amazed. Through the jump in sequence from millennia to millennia Asimov had combined the cultures, hopes, and dreams of countless human experiences within the confines of a short story. Asimov himself once said that ‘The idea seems to drown out everything — and I’m satisfied that it should.’
And I for one, completely agree with Asimov’s statement. The idea that such a higher form of existence and being could be eventually be obtained is a novel one, through deliberation and observation. Asimov’s method of hinting upon the subject of rebirth — even at the end of the universe completely blew my mind, and I found myself craving more of his writing.
All in all, I’m glad I was introduced to The Last Question, and it was an absolute joy reading.
Until next time,