Isaac Asimov


Foundation

Isaac Asimov was a well known author of science fiction books. Born in 1920 in Petrovichi, Russia, he and his family immigrated to the USA three years later, where they resided in Brooklyn, New York.

Although Asimov is most famous as a prolific writer of science fiction, he was also a highly esteemed academic; he worked at Boston University as a professor of biochemistry for many years, and is said to have drawn much of his inspiration for his fiction work from his scientific background.

Asimov is thought to have been one of the masters of science fiction during the 20th century, along with writers such as Arthur Clarke and Robert Heinlein. Although during his lifetime he wrote and edited more than five hundred books, his most well known work today is the 'Foundation' Series, along with the 'Robot' and 'Galactic Empire' series. When Asimov was not writing, he was a frequent attendee of science fiction conventions, where he was known to give speeches and sign autographs.

In addition to science fiction, Asimov also wrote in the genres of fantasy, mystery and non-fiction. His non-fiction work was mostly scientific in nature, however he did write a total of three autobiographies, including 'In Memory Yet Green', 'In Joy Still Felt' and 'Asimov; A Memoir', which was published posthumously in 1994.

Asimov was the recipient of many awards, both for his fiction work and his humanitarian endeavours. In 1964 his short story, entitled, 'Nightfall' was named as the 'best science fiction short story' by the Science Fiction Writers of America. For his humanitarian efforts, he also won the 'Humanist of the Year' award from the American Humanist Association. He was an ardent defender of Women's Rights and also had strong points of view regarding environmental issues such as the damage to the Ozone layer and global warming. The last non-fiction book which Asimov co-wrote with an author called Frederik Pohl, entitled 'Our Angry Earth' addresses the topic in great detail.

Asimov was married to a woman named Gertrude Blugerman from 1942, until their divorce in 1973. He fathered two children named Robyn and David with his first wife. After the divorce, he was remarried to Janet Jeppson.

Asimov considered himself to be an atheist and a humanist. Whilst his parents were Orthodox Jews, they did not insist on Asimov observing the traditions of this religion and as such, he grew up without any particular religious inclination. As an adult, he often spoke out against those who claimed that the Torah was more than mere mythology. He was also known to make slightly controversial jokes about biblical stories, as seen in his book, 'Treasury of Humour', believing a joke to be an excellent way to provoke an interesting religious discussion.

Asimov passed away in April of 1992, at the age of 72, having previously suffered from a heart attack which required triple bypass surgery. He was said to have been infected with the HIV virus during a transfusion for the surgery and the resulting kidney and heart problems are what are thought to have lead to his eventual death.

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Essay © 1982 David Brin. All rights reserved.