Nightfall by Issac Asimov

​”If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!”

Lagash is a fictional Earth like planet, with a double Trisolaris situation – system of six suns, that keeps the planet perpetually lit. Lagash-ians have never experienced any darkness during their recorded history of civilization and the system of six suns is pretty much their accepted universe in its entirety. So imagine, how darkness and appearance of millions of stars in sky would affect the people, during the occurrence of an event like night. 
Asimov’s novelette explores the social behaviour and existential crisis during such an event. I found the parallels he kept with Earth fascinating, the cult and legend, the religious extremists and the general panic during a change that people can’t comprehend. I am inclined to believe that Asimov subtley paid a little tribute to Galelio and Bruno, in his narrative as well. The structural similarities between the planets deserves some mention, but I can’t find a way to do that without spoiling anything.
One can be an unkill and ask all sort of scientific enquiries like How multiple gravitational force affect Lagash, Would they have seasons, Won’t eclipses pose heat and quake threats, How does blind people cope with darkness, Or normal people during power failure in an internal office? 
Or just enjoy the story. 

Robert Silverberg later developed the story into a full fledged novel and Asimov himself has committed it to be very much what he intended. I would still advice the novelette first, as none of my fellow readers found the novel largely appealing.


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