Isaac Asimov’s “The Hazing”

“The Hazing” by Isaac Asimov blends comedy and philosophy in a story of three sophomores at Archturus University, each from a different planet.  One of the sophomores is green.

These three college boys capture ten Earth freshmen and take them to another planet (via spaceship, of course) and leave them to fend for themselves among the sub-Humanoid savages native to the planet.  The sophomores look down their noses at the Earth freshmen not just because they are freshmen but also because they are from Earth.

The Earth freshmen show some ingenuity and cause the hazing to backfire on the sophomores.  They con the natives (that have prehensile tails) into thinking they are supernatural.  The natives capture the sophomores, but then they call the freshmen’s bluff and everything backfires on everyone.

The Earth freshmen seem to not be as civilized as others think they should be and seem to be proud of that fact.  I’m not sure whether Asimov portrays them this way as a compliment or a criticism to humanity.  Maybe I’m biased, but I enjoyed the Earth freshmen so I’ll take it as a compliment.

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4 responses to “Isaac Asimov’s “The Hazing”

  1. Hi Jay, I found “The Early Asimov: Book Two” at Half-Price Books a while ago. Most of the stories were written in the 40’s. With each story, Asimov writes a small commentary about the history of the story.

    • Thanks. I will look for that. I like it when the author lets you look behind the curtain like that. (just a peek, though, I don’t want to know “everything”)
      -Jay

      • With “The Hazing”, he said that it’s the only story that he couldn’t remember anything about. If he read it without knowing it was his, he wasn’t sure he would recognize it as his own story.

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