Asimov’s Birthday

Isaac Asimov would have been 93 today had he lived. Foundation’s author passed away April 6, 1992 – the first of science fiction’s ABCs (Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke) to go.

Fortunately, his memory is yet green. He was featured on Science Channel’s Prophets of Science Fiction series in 2012.

Also, in 2012 Jamie Todd Rubin made some intriguing guesses about what Asimov would have done had he lived another 20 years.

And especially worth reading today is Michael A. Burstein’s superlative memoir ”Asimov and Me”, written for Mimosa, which is framed around their several meetings.

I also remember one other thing I told him at the book fair, and this is what ties into the above discussion of my diary. I mentioned how much I was enjoying his two volume autobiography, In Memory Yet Green and In Joy Still Felt. I had been reading them all summer, and I finished them in November. Now, perhaps Dracula had started my journal, but it was Asimov’s autobiography that kept it going. I read about how he started a diary when he turned 18 years old, and because of his diary he was able to write his autobiography in such detail. I decided that my diary might one day be just as valuable a resource to me, and I resolved to keep it with more regularity. Since late 1984, I have managed to keep my diary religiously. In fact, it is because of this diary, inspired by Asimov, that I am able to relate my interactions with him so accurately.

If you’re feeling sufficiently nostalgic you may view online the 1940 phone book listing for Asimov Candy Store, where he once worked for his father Judah Asimov. Or drill down to the family info in the 1940 Census –Ed Seiler says you’ll find them listed in Election District 14-1387, King’s County, Track 169, Block I, on sheet 4A.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the reminder.]

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5 thoughts on “Asimov’s Birthday

  1. I have a horrible feeling that what Asimov would have mainly done if he had lived another 20 years is publish another 200 really awful Black Widower stories… Some of the late SF stories weren’t bad, though… He would probably have tried his darnedest to reach Opus 1,000 — and might have written an even longer, third autobiography, in which he describes every meal he ever ate and the full details of every publication check he ever cashed. Still … it would have been better than the reality.

  2. I wonder if Asimov would have blogged. He felt strongly that his words were his livelihood, and anything he wrote that wasn’t for money would have to be brief, even though he tried to acknowledge all his letters. Consequently if he couldn’t be paid for blogging, he would be unlikely to do it. However, if one of his publishers had set one up for him, the way Tor now has its authors blog on their website, and paid him for his wordage, it would probably have been impossible to stop him.

  3. @David: I thought, of course he’d blog, until you threw in the datum about how he valued getting paid. Then I remembered hearing Asimov speak at the 1989 Worldcon, where one of his stories was a comeback to Arthur C. Clarke’s paper-mailing 700 copies of an article quoting an airline crashlanding survivor who said he’d been reading a Clarke novel when the plane went down. Asimov’s punchline was — “So if he died, it would be a blessed relief!” I’m pretty sure that kind of ego/competitive fire would have found the lure of the internet irresistable.

  4. –My recollections will not allow crystal clarity here: Somewhere within LOCUS’s files was a mention of a third Asimov autobiographical title, which was about 800 pages long and detailed a single day. It might have been in an Aprl issue.

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