My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I listened to this book as an audiobook, and that may contribute some confusion as to what happened. But that also explains why I stopped “reading”–the CD was rather scratched–and yet I don’t care much because getting to the ending isn’t worth it.
“The Stars, Like Dust” is rather pulpy and action-oriented for Asimov, reading a lot more like “Dune” with maybe a dash of “The Hunger Games.” I honestly think, with a little dusting up, it might make a popular modern young adult novel. The gender norms are stiff and restrictive and stick out painfully, there’s a large splash of deus ex machina, and you’ve got to be willing to wait two chapters to answer the basic question, “where should we take this spaceship?” but it’s not totally without joy. I liked the details the most–holding a dress seam together with a miniature force field, or a spray abrasive to gently shave off a nascent beard. It’s charming, and a lovely dream of what space travel could be, but still rather clunky.