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About Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov. Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Professor Asimov is generally considered one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than books and an estimated 90, letters and postcards. He has works published in nine o Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.
He has works published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System lacking only an entry in the s category of Philosophy. Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A.
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Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor.
He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction.
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Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French. Most of Asimov's popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms.
Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as "brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs" He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Books by Isaac Asimov. In his time he was the great popularizer of science, second only to Carl Sagan though certainly first in volume. Not to mention, almost every other field of human endeavour he covered in his popular fashion: history, humour, literature, sex, ecology Some might qualify this by saying he's the best of the hard- science writers from SF's Golden Age—rational, technical types who wrote plainly with scientific accuracy, compared to the more artistic, imaginative writers who emerged since the s.
But this patronizing characterization ignores the fact that Asimov's classic early stories and the best of his novels are not only standard reading in the field but continue to sell in great quantities and to generate film and television treatments. His ideas are still vital, while untold numbers of new-wave writers have come and gone.
Asimov never wrote for the Star Trek TV shows or movies, but it is hard to imagine that series of series existing without his humanistic approach to science fiction having blazed the way. As a small recognition of this debt, Star Trek's character of Data is modelled on the robots of Asimov's fiction, including having a "positronic" brain—a scientific-sounding term he made up. Asimov was an early and fast learner. Born in Russia, emigrating to the United States when he was three, he grew up in Brooklyn and started writing at age eleven.
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His first story was published at nineteen. He soon became a star writer for the legendary John W. Campbell, editor of the science fiction pulp magazine Astounding Science Fiction. His best early story was the acclaimed "Nightfall" , written when he was barely out of his teens, about panic on a world of six suns when a rare conjunction of bodies threatens to bring the first night the people have ever seen.
Asimov trained as a chemist at Columbia University and became a teacher and professor, but the commercial success of his writing led him to become a full-time author. He ended up publishing over books of science fiction, detective mysteries, science popularization, literary criticism, Biblical analysis, humour and on many other topics—plus hundreds of columns and articles.
Some of his most intriguing works of fiction concerned "robotics", another term he invented. With Campbell he devised the Laws of Robotics to guide the behaviour of his fictional androids. His first collection of nine robot stories, I, Robot , explored the interaction of humans and their creations through a series of puzzles arising from anomalous robot behaviour.
They've been very loosely adapted into a motion picture starring Will Smith. The impact of these clever stories on both science fiction and science fact was enormous and they were followed by more collections, such as The Rest of the Robots , as well as longer works involving synthetic life.
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Daneel Olivaw, in this case to solve a murder on a crowded world, and it may be Asimov's most psychologically interesting work. Taking the opposite tack, The Naked Sun brings the duo back with a mystery on a world of wide open spaces. The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire are later entries in the series, uniting Asimov's robots with the universe he created in his other great series, the Foundation books more on those shortly.
The most comprehensive collections of Asimov's short robot stories can, as of this writing, be found in The Complete Robot , Robot Dreams and Robot Visions Asimov's millennia-spanning stories and novels of his famous Foundation series start with a collapsing galactic empire and an attempt to preserve knowledge during the coming dark ages by establishing a society of leading scientists and scholars at the edge of the galaxy. When this new civilization is threatened, it goes looking for help from a second foundation, revealed in posthumous messages from the foundation's founder. It's a cosmic mystery with each book in the original trilogy— Foundation , Foundation and Empire , and Second Foundation —reaching a new solution.
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The series was voted science fiction's greatest of all time. Decades later Asimov continued the Foundation books with sequels Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth , which ultimately connected the series with Asimov's robot novels, as well as with his popular Galactic Empire series of novels—sort of a unified field theory of fiction.
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Finally he rounded out the Foundation series with the prequels Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation , the latter posthumously published. Other notable SF writing includes the the novella The Martian Way , offering an interplanetary solution to the problem of water depletion; the novel The End of Eternity , a complicated time-travel story that some critics consider his best; and the silly, but entertaining, Fantastic Voyage , in which scientists are shrunk to microscopic size to journey through a man's body—the basis for the movie and a short-lived TV show of the same name.
A new film adaptation has been in development for some years now. However, Asimov more or less retired from serious science fiction from the late s to the early s to concentrate on factual works popularizing science.