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I. Asimov


Isaac Asimov

April 27, 2020

Isaac Asimov was one of the 'big three' science fiction writers of the last century, along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein. As one of the most prolific writers of our time, his life is worthy of study. While best known for his science fiction, primarily the Foundation and Robot series, he also wrote widely on a variety of nonfiction subjects - producing books ranging in topic from history to technology, physics to biology, and beyond. No matter the subject, his writing is generally accessible and engaging.

In addition to his books and stories, he wrote science columns for several publications and maintained a copious correspondence, writing an estimated 90,000 letters in his lifetime. All this is documented in I. Asimov - his learning and development, adventures and misadventures, the stories behind his numerous books, and memories of his many colorful associates.

Rather than following a strictly linear time format, the book is presented as a series of short chapters or essays on various topics. These are introduced chronologically, and so the reader still follows the progression of Asimov's life. However, each topic may be read independently, as it is generally rounded out by the inclusion of additional contextual information. This means the book is easy to read in small portions, and can also be used as a handy topical reference.

By contrast, Asimov's earlier autobiographies are written in the usual chronological manner, and are much longer - although at 552 pages and 235,000 words, I. Asimov is certainly no joke. Always prolific, Asimov wrote this book in 125 days.

The book concludes with an epilogue from Janet, Asimov's second wife, and a catalogue of his published books. He produced over 500 books, both fiction and nonfiction, so the list is quite substantial.

As with other Asimov books, this one is a page-turner. It is easy to get immersed in his simple, conversational writing and lose track of time - evidence that Asimov was, in fact, one of our great explainers.

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