Friday, January 2, 2009

Isaac Asimov: 1920-1992

Isaac Asimov was born on Jan. 2, 1920 in Petrovichi, Russia, and died on April 6, 1992. In his 72 years, he wrote or edited over 500 books. In the Wikipedia entry about him, it was stated that his works were included in 9 of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal System, the one exception being the category for Philosophy/Psychology.

I no longer remember the first SF story I ever read, but it most likely was a short story, and very well could have been one by Asimov.

My favorite works are "The Foundation Trilogy" and the Lije Baley/R. Daneel SF detective novels, Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun. I thought the third one, The Robots of Dawn, written twenty-five years later, was considerably weaker than the first two. This was written when Asimov attempted to unify his two major series, the robotless "Foundation" universe and his numerous robot stories.

I doubt if it will surprise anyone familiar with Asimov to find that my favorite Asimov short story is "Nightfall."

Of the many works that he edited, my favorite would have to be Isaac Asimov Presents: the Great SF Stories. This twenty-five volume work, edited by Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, is just one of many anthologies co-edited by them, but the best, in my estimation. The first volume begins with stories published in 1939 and ends with Vol. 25, the stories of 1963. I managed to get the complete set and find it invaluable when searching for SF stories during that quarter century. Asimov and Greenberg may have missed some great stories, but only a few, I suspect.

I think he can justifiably be called one of the Founders of Modern Science Fiction.


  1. I love the "Foundation" trilogy too. Wonderful stuff.

  2. Anon,

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first three and have reread them several times. Those that followed, I thought, weren't quite as strong.

    I also liked his _Caves of Steel_ and _The Naked Sun_.