Much like the book that preceded it, The Currents of Space contains the capture, escape, chase elements of the popular pulps of the day. It’s distinguishing difference is Asimov’s continuing focus on the socio-political dynamics of a future Galactic Empire in it’s early stages. Whereas in The Stars like Dust, there was yet to be a unified political center to the galaxy, here Trantor has assumed that role. That being said, it only plays a small part in the story. In the tale itself, Asimov focuses on the lower castes of the developing Empire. At the start, he posits an interesting scientific extrapolation and then has his characters chasing after it for the remainder of the book. Asimov also has great fun playing various political entities off of one another, all building nicely to the final reveal.
While Asimov’s Foundation and his Empire stories are an inflection point between the old school space opera and the style of social commentary and cautionary tales that will emerge, this book still straddles the fault line to a degree. I had purchased this book through my Weekly Reader in Junior High School, and I have to say that, as with the previous books I’ve been re-reading, it held up well to the memories from my personal golden age.