Isaac Asimov

1920-1992. Born in the USSR and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Author of hundreds of books ranging from science fiction through all fields of science through guides to the Bible to collections of limericks. Wrote "TheLastQuestion" -- RjLesch

Famous also for his Foundation series (see AsimovsFoundation), and for introducing the ThreeLawsOfRobotics.

A colleague and I once wrote a paper in which we used "Foundation" to illustrate our thesis of treating human societies using dissipative systems theory. It illustrates the point surprisingly well. We never published the paper, but it was fun to write (mainly because we did the bulk of the writing in our favorite neighborhood bar). -- RjLesch

I really like the Foundation series, especially Foundation and Empire. But I don't think it is the seminal ScienceFiction; I think it is the seminal SpaceOpera. If you like hard SF, Foundation might disappoint you. -- StephanHouben

Good ScienceFiction should be grounded in real science, with reasonable projections.

That's what Asimov was attempting to do, but using economics, history, political science and psychology instead of physics and chemistry. Several of the "Foundation" stories dealt with explorations of Arnold Toynbee's theories of history, for example. One could argue whether economics or political science are really "sciences", of course, and one could argue whether "science fiction" is really the best name for the genre anyway. However, I think "SpaceOpera" is too demeaning a term. "Foundation" does have some powerful things to say about the tension between the individual and society. -- RjLesch


One of my favorite quotes comes from the Foundation Series: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

This statement is popular among those who are themselves incompetent in the use of violence.

Of Asimov, one of his publishers said (paraphrased): Asimov is not a great writer; but he is a great story-teller. You can teach someone to write.

I'll edit if I find the exact quote.

-- AndrewBauserman


He wrote about how he came over from Russia with his family in steerage, after which he served in the Navy, where, he said, first class was steerage.

He wrote his first story in HighSchool. When he read bits of it out of his copybook to a friend, the friend thought he was reading from a library book, and asked to borrow it.


Why did IsaacAsimov always end rhetorical questions with periods.
The Asimov Vault: http://homepage.mac.com/pockyrevolution/asimov/index.htm (photos, sound recordings, biography, essays and links)


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