cover image The Secret of the Universe

The Secret of the Universe

Isaac Asimov. Doubleday Books, $21 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-385-41693-1

In his 40th collection of essays, Asimov gathers 17 columns written during 1989-1990 for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that introduce, in his clear and amiable style, current thinking on cosmology, physics, astronomy and biological science topics. Fans of his novels, such as the Foundation and Empire series, will detect a few seeds of fiction themes in these considerations of the atmosphere on Venus, fusion, logical paradox, fractals, iodine and society. The title essay is more metaphor than substance, but Asmimov fans will delight in the display of the range and power of their wizard. (Mar.)