March 26, The good doctor himself. The late Dr. Isaac Asimov was nothing if not prolific. By most estimates he turned out more than books on a wide variety of topics in a working lifetime that apparently spanned about a half century. Asimov became a household name with his popular works of science fiction, including the Foundation Series and numerous others.
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His early career, dominated by science fiction, began with short stories in and novels in This lasted until about , all but ending after publication of The Naked Sun He began publishing nonfiction as co-author of a college-level textbook called Biochemistry and Human Metabolism. Following the brief orbit of the first man-made satellite Sputnik I by the USSR in , his production of nonfiction, particularly popular science books, greatly increased, with a consequent drop in his science fiction output.
Over the next quarter century, he wrote only four science fiction novels, while writing over nonfiction books. From then until his death, Asimov published several more sequels and prequels to his existing novels, tying them together in a way he had not originally anticipated, making a unified series.
There are, however, many inconsistencies in this unification, especially in his earlier stories. Asimov coined the term "robotics" without suspecting that it might be an original word; at the time, he believed it was simply the natural analogue of words such as mechanics and hydraulics , but for robots.
The novel was issued in book form later that year as The Stars Like Dust. His father bought Asimov a used typewriter at age In May he first thought of writing professionally, and began writing his first science fiction story, "Cosmic Corkscrew" now lost , that year. Inspired by the visit, he finished the story on June 19, and personally submitted it to Astounding editor John W.
Campbell two days later. Campbell met with Asimov for more than an hour and promised to read the story himself. Two days later he received a rejection letter explaining why in detail. Campbell rejected it on July 22 but—in "the nicest possible letter you could imagine"—encouraged him to continue writing, promising that Asimov might sell his work after another year and a dozen stories of practice.
Palmer , and it appeared in the March issue. In the Science Fiction Writers of America voted "Nightfall" the best science fiction short story ever written. I was suddenly taken seriously and the world of science fiction became aware that I existed. Asimov left science fiction fandom and no longer read new magazines, and might have left the industry had not Heinlein and de Camp been coworkers and previously sold stories continued to appear.
The books recount the fall of a vast interstellar empire and the establishment of its eventual successor. They also feature his fictional science of psychohistory , in which the future course of the history of large populations can be predicted. In they won the Hugo Award for the all-time best series of science fiction and fantasy novels. By the end of the war Asimov was earning as a writer an amount equal to half of his Navy Yard salary, even after a raise, but Asimov still did not believe that writing could support him, his wife, and future children.
They promulgated a set of rules of ethics for robots see Three Laws of Robotics and intelligent machines that greatly influenced other writers and thinkers in their treatment of the subject. Asimov notes in his introduction to the short story collection The Complete Robot that he was largely inspired by the almost relentless tendency of robots up to that time to fall consistently into a Frankenstein plot in which they destroyed their creators.
The robot series has led to film adaptations. The screenplay has never been filmed and was eventually published in book form in At the time, Asimov was preparing his own doctoral dissertation , and for the oral examination to follow that. Fearing a prejudicial reaction from his graduate school evaluation board at Columbia University , Asimov asked his editor that it be released under a pseudonym, yet it appeared under his own name. At the end of the examination, one evaluator turned to him, smiling, and said, "What can you tell us, Mr.
Asimov, about the thermodynamic properties of the compound known as thiotimoline". Laughing hysterically with relief, Asimov had to be led out of the room. After a five-minute wait, he was summoned back into the room and congratulated as "Dr. It became possible for a genre author to write full-time. The book appeared under the Doubleday imprint in January with the title of Pebble in the Sky. More positronic robot stories were republished in book form as The Rest of the Robots.
McCartney had a vague idea for the plot and a small scrap of dialogue; he wished to make a film about a rock band whose members discover they are being impersonated by a group of extraterrestrials.
Intrigued by the idea, although he was not generally a fan of rock music, Asimov quickly produced a "treatment" or brief outline of the story.
The treatment now exists only in the Boston University archives. Popular science[ edit ] Just say I am one of the most versatile writers in the world, and the greatest popularizer of many subjects. He greatly increased his nonfiction production, writing mostly on science topics; the launch of Sputnik in engendered public concern over a "science gap". I was overcome by the ardent desire to write popular science for an America that might be in great danger through its neglect of science, and a number of publishers got an equally ardent desire to publish popular science for the same reason".
The column was ostensibly dedicated to popular science but Asimov had complete editorial freedom, and wrote about contemporary social issues[ citation needed ] in essays such as "Thinking About Thinking"  and "Knock Plastic!
Puzzles of the Black Widowers Banquets of the Black Widowers is a collection of mystery short stories by American writer Isaac Asimov featuring his fictional club of mystery solvers, the Black Widowers. It was first published in hardcover by Doubleday in September , and in paperback by the Fawcett Crest imprint of Ballantine Books in June The first British edition was issued by Grafton in August Nearly every story here is about decoding a riddle , each of which provides a clue based on dying or last words , misunderstood words, forgotten words, or withheld words. A few are based on facts that are, perhaps, not generally known to the public — Asimov was a frequent writer of popular science and his inclination to explain anything and everything for the general public carried over into other fields, such as history and sociology — but all the mysteries play fair with the reader, who is given either enough information to figure out the solution or a satisfying conclusion that is based on previously given facts and personality qualities. When the authorities demand his cooperation, he sulkily gives a clue to the code which protects his work on a shared computer, suspecting that no one could possibly guess or deduce the code. Fortunately for the agencies who need this information, the Black Widowers are able to come up with the code, purely because one member shares a trait with the mathematician.
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His early career, dominated by science fiction, began with short stories in and novels in This lasted until about , all but ending after publication of The Naked Sun He began publishing nonfiction as co-author of a college-level textbook called Biochemistry and Human Metabolism. Following the brief orbit of the first man-made satellite Sputnik I by the USSR in , his production of nonfiction, particularly popular science books, greatly increased, with a consequent drop in his science fiction output. Over the next quarter century, he wrote only four science fiction novels, while writing over nonfiction books. From then until his death, Asimov published several more sequels and prequels to his existing novels, tying them together in a way he had not originally anticipated, making a unified series.