Authors: Isaac Asimov

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Last reviewed: June 2017

Russian American author of science fiction and nonfiction.

January 2, 1920

Petrovichi, Soviet Union (now in Russia)

April 6, 1992

New York, New York

Biography

Although often singled out for the great number and wide variety of his books, to the general reader Isaac Asimov (AZ-eh-mof) is best known and most likely to be remembered for his works in science fiction. He was born in Petrovichi, a shtetl (a small, culturally homogeneous Jewish community) about 250 miles southwest of Moscow. Throughout his life Isaac, the first son of Judah and Anna Rachel (Berman) Asimov, celebrated January 2, 1920, as his birthday, although as a result of lost records and faulty memories the actual date is uncertain. At the urging of relatives in the “golden land” of America, the Asimov family, which had recently added a daughter, left the Soviet Union in 1923 and traveled to the United States, settling in Brooklyn, where another son was born. Judah Asimov did odd jobs, accumulated some money, and in 1926 bought a small candy store, in which he and his wife labored for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. Isaac, who learned from his father to respect hard work and careful study, helped his parents after school.

Asimov became an American citizen when he was eight years old. By that time, he was already recognized as an exceptionally bright student in the Brooklyn public school he attended. Even before he began school, he had become a voracious reader, a practice that led him in the summer of 1929 to experience his first science fiction in Amazing Stories. Because Judah Asimov believed that only bums read the pulps, he initially refused to allow his son to read these magazines in his store’s racks, but when Science Wonder Stories appeared, the word “science” convinced him of the new publication’s value. Soon Isaac was an avid fan. These magazines interested him not only in science and fiction but also in writing, and by the age of eleven he was composing stories of his own.

Isaac Asimov

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(Library of Congress)

In 1935, when he was fifteen, Asimov graduated from high school and enrolled in Seth Low Junior College, then a part of Columbia University. Following his father’s recommendation, he started as a premedical student majoring in zoology, but he switched his major to chemistry in his sophomore year. While in college he continued to write stories, and his father bought him a typewriter to facilitate the process. In the summer of 1938, he completed a story called “Cosmic Corkscrew,” whose generating idea was helical time travel. Asimov knew that John W. Campbell edited Astounding Science Fiction in New York City, but he was surprised by his father’s suggestion that he take his story to Campbell in person. Campbell graciously talked with Asimov for more than an hour, and although he turned down the story, he encouraged the young writer to keep trying. Twelve rejections later, Asimov made his first sale, “Marooned off Vesta,” to Amazing Stories in October, 1938.

After receiving his B.S. degree in 1939, and after failing to get into medical school, Asimov continued at Columbia University in pursuit of a graduate degree in chemistry. Despite these moves toward a career in chemistry, he thought of himself more and more as a science-fiction writer, particularly after Campbell and other editors began regularly publishing his stories. He wrote his most famous story, “Nightfall,” in 1941 at the suggestion of Campbell, who, building on an idea of Ralph Waldo Emerson, wondered how human beings would react to the stars if they were visible only once every thousand years.

In the summer of 1941, after obtaining his master’s degree, Asimov married Gertrude Blugerman, a union that eventually produced two children, a boy and a girl. During World War II, he worked as a civilian chemist at the Naval Air Experimental Station in Philadelphia, and starting in 1945, he served in the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of corporal. In 1946, following his discharge, he returned to Columbia, where he studied the rates of biochemical reactions. Having received his Ph.D. in 1948, he began postdoctoral studies on nucleic acids at Columbia, before accepting an invitation in 1949 to teach biochemistry at the Boston University Medical School. He became a tenured professor in 1955.

During his years as an academic, Asimov continued to write science fiction in his spare time. In 1950 he published his first novel, Pebble in the Sky, in which he used the experiences of an old European immigrant from twentieth century Chicago in a future society where Earth is a backward planet in a Galactic Empire to make poignant comments on racial intolerance and militarism. In several other books written in the 1950’s, he introduced many innovative ideas into science fiction. For example, he developed the three basic laws of robotics, which proposed that robots, though they should be self-protective and obedient, have as their chief duty that no human being ever comes to harm. Asimov, who saw these laws as his most likely claim to permanent fame, used them as the basis for more than two dozen short stories and three novels. In one of them, The Caves of Steel, he became the first writer to integrate science fiction with the detective novel, and the characters he introduced, Elijah Baley, a New York detective, and his robot partner, Daneel Olivaw, appeared again in The Naked Sun, in which another murder was solved. Unlike many writers after him, Asimov had a positive attitude toward robots, and he castigated the fear of mechanical intelligence as a “Frankenstein complex.”

Another great achievement, which began in the 1950s, was Asimov’s Foundation series, a group of stories inspired by Edward Gibbon’s eighteenth century work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Although the term “trilogy” is often applied to the original three volumes derived from his original nine stories, it is misleading because Asimov did not plan the stories as three unified novels. This collection won a special Hugo Award for the most outstanding series of all time in 1966. Though the award reflected the exuberant enthusiasm of science-fiction fans, critics also agree that the series was a milestone in the maturation of the genre. The stories deal with such fundamental issues as the success versus the failure of human (and alien) societies, free will versus determinism, and the individual versus history. The Foundation series remains popular decades after its original publication, having sold more than two million copies.

Asimov quit teaching to become a full-time science writer in 1958. From the late 1950s to the middle 1960s, he became known as America’s “great explainer” because of his ability to translate scientific jargon into transparent prose without sacrificing accuracy. His popularizations introduced many lay readers to the mysteries of mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and technology. Although general readers enjoyed these books, scientists and scholars were often critical of them as superficial and unscholarly. Asimov replied that it was sufficient for him to know enough about a field to be able to communicate its basic ideas intelligently and interestingly to novices; he conceded that nothing he wrote could enlighten specialists.

During the decade from 1965 to 1975, Asimov began to write on an even wider variety of subjects than in his science books: popular history, the Bible, William Shakespeare, and mystery stories. In the early 1970’s, his first marriage ended in divorce. He moved from Boston to New York, and on November 30, 1973, he married Janet Opal Jeppson, a psychiatrist and writer. During this troubled period, he began, after a fourteen-year hiatus, to write science fiction again. In 1972, he published The Gods Themselves, which some critics believe is his best novel. Asimov himself called it his favorite, and it garnered for him both a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award. In this story, which hinges on an exchange of energy between two parallel universes, he explores the idea that scientific knowledge can be a form of ignorance when it comes into conflict with true emotion. In 1982, he published Foundation’s Edge, a sequel to the Foundation series. Like the series, this novel investigates the nature of free will and the question of historical determinism, but there are also great differences. For example, in the earlier novels Asimov sees rationality as the only trustworthy human trait, whereas in Foundation’s Edge his characters are mired in complex motivations within motivations, where a failure of imagination can be more important than a computer failure.

In the early 1980s, Asimov continued to write despite serious health problems, and with even greater intensity: It took him nearly twenty years to write his first hundred books, ten years to write his second hundred, five years to write his third, and an even shorter time for his fourth hundred. According to Asimov, the reason for his acceleration of production was his participation in the game of immortality: He wanted to make sure that at least some of his books would live after his death. To this end, Asimov published two more Foundation novels, Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation, both of which helped to complete the Foundation epic, and published, with Robert Silverberg, the novel Nightfall, which went beyond the ending of the original short story of that title. He eventually died of heart and kidney failure at the age of seventy-two, in April, 1992.

Asimov once defined science fiction as the branch of literature concerned with the impact of science on human beings. The genre arose after the Industrial Revolution because historical events were forcing people to adapt to a rapidly changing society. By allowing readers, through their imagination, to try on possible changes for size, science fiction becomes not an escape from reality but an escape into reality. A theme common to most of Asimov’s writings, both fiction and nonfiction, is the power of reason. He was proud of being a secular humanist, and through his stories and popularizations, he tried to show how reason can help humankind solve such problems as overpopulation, prejudice, and war. In his fiction, a reasoned rather than emotional approach usually provides the solution to conflicts. Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, Asimov chose themes with validity in the past, present, and future: the economic, political, and religious forces behind the rise and fall of empires; the effects of technology on society; and the human heart in conflict with its mind. As time dates his scientific writings, his science-fiction corpus looms larger. Indeed, his work in this genre helped it to outgrow its birth in the pulps to become an important part of modern fiction.

Author Works Short Fiction: I, Robot, 1950 The Martian Way, 1955 Earth Is Room Enough, 1957 Nine Tomorrows, 1959 The Rest of the Robots, 1964 Through a Glass, Clearly, 1967 Asimov’s Mysteries, 1968 Nightfall, and Other Stories, 1969 The Best New Thing, 1971 Nightfall Two (1971) The Early Asimov Volume 1, 1972 (also known as Eleven Years of Trying) The Best of Isaac Asimov, 1973 Have You Seen These, 1974 The Early Asimov Volumes 2 and 3 2 vol., 1974 Tales of the Black Widowers, 1974 Buy Jupiter, and Other Stories, 1975 More Tales of the Black Widowers, 1976 Bicentennial Man, and Other Stories, 1976 Good Taste, 1977 (novella) The Key Word, and Other Mysteries, 1977 Prisoners of the Stars, 1978 Casebook of the Black Widowers, 1980 The Complete Robot, 1982 The Winds of Change, and Other Stories, 1983 The Union Club Mysteries, 1983 Computer Crimes and Capers, 1983 Banquets of the Black Widowers, 1984 The Disappearing Man, and Other Mysteries, 1985 The Edge of Tomorrow, 1985 The Disappearing Man, 1985 The Alternative Asimovs, 1986 The Best Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov, 1986 Robot Dreams, 1986 Azazel, 1988 All the Troubles of the World, 1989 The Asimov Chronicles, 1989 Puzzles of the Black Widowers, 1989 Pshrinks Anonymous, 1990 Robot Visions Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories, 1990–1992 (2 volumes) Gold, 1991 Magic, 1996 The Return of the Black Widowers, 2003 Youth, 2010 (novella) Long Fiction: Pebble in the Sky, 1950 Foundation, 1951 The Stars Like Dust, 1951 The Currents of Space, 1952 Foundation and Empire, 1952 Second Foundation, 1953 The Caves of Steel, 1954 The End of Eternity, 1955 The Naked Sun, 1957 The Death-Dealers, 1958 (also known as A Whiff of Death) The Double Planet, 1960 Fantastic Voyage, 1966 The Gods Themselves, 1972 The Heavenly Host, 1975 Murder at the ABA: A Puzzle in Four Days and Sixty Scenes, 1976 (also known as Authorized Murder Foundation’s Edge, 1982 The Robots of Dawn, 1983 Robots and Empire, 1985 Foundation and Earth, 1985 Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain, 1987 Prelude to Foundation, 1988 Nemesis, 1989 Nightfall, 1991 (with Robert Silverberg) Child of Time, 1991 (with Silverberg) The Ugly Little Boy, 1992 (with Silverberg) Forward the Foundation, 1993 The Positronic Man, 1993 (with Silverberg) History of I-Botics, 1997 (with James Chambers) Nonfiction: The Chemicals of Life: Enzymes, Vitamins, Hormones, 1954 Races and People, 1955 (with William C. Boyd) Inside the Atom, 1956 Building Blocks of the Universe, 1957 Only a Trillion, 1957 The World of Carbon, 1958 The World of Nitrogen, 1958 The Clock We Live On, 1959 Words of Science and the History Behind Them, 1959 Realm of Numbers, 1959 Breakthroughs in Science The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science, 1960 (2 volumes) The Kingdom of the Sun, 1960 Realm of Measure, 1960 Satellites in Outer Space, 1960 The Wellsprings of Life, 1960 The Bloodstream, 1961 Realm of Algebra, 1961 Words from the Myths, 1961 Fact and Fancy, 1962 The Genetic Code, 1962 Life and Energy, 1962 The Search for the Elements, 1962 Words in Genesis , 1962 Words on the Map , 1962 The Genetic Code, 1963 The Human Body: Its Structures and Operation, 1963 The Human Brain: Its Capacities and Functions, 1963 The Kite that Won the Revolution, 1963 Words from the Exodus, 1963 Adding a Dimension, 1964 A Short History of Biology, 1964 Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 1964 Planets for Man, 1964 (with Stephen H. Dole) Quick and Easy Mathematics, 1964 View from a Height, 1964 Asimov Laughs Again, 1965 An Easy Introduction to the Slide Rule, 1965 The Greeks: A Great Adventure, 1965 A Short History of Chemistry, 1965 The New Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science, 1965 Of Time and Space and Other Things, 1965 From Earth to Heaven, 1966 The Neutrino: Ghost Particle of the Atom, 1966 The Noble Gases (1966) Photosynthesis (1966) The Roman Republic, 1966 Understanding Physics, 1966 Understanding Physics: Light Magnetism and Electricity (1966) Understanding Physics: Motion Sound and Heat (1966) Understanding Physics: The Electron, Proton, and Neutron (1966) The Genetic Effects of Radiation, 1966 The Universe: From Flat Earth to Quasar, 1966 The Roman Empire, 1967 The Egyptians, 1967 Environments Out There (1967) Is Anyone There? (1967) Isaac Asimov Presents from Harding to Hiroshima (1967) To the Ends of the Universe (1967) Isaac Asimov’s Library of the Universe series, 1967–90 (15 volumes) The Dark Ages, 1968 Galaxies (1968) Great Ideas of Science (1968) The Near East (1968) Stars (1968) Words from History (1968) Science, Numbers, and I, 1968 Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, 1968–1969 (2 volumes) Opus 100 (1969) The Shaping of England, 1969 The Shaping of North America from Earliest Times to 1763, 1969 Twentieth Century Discovery, 1969 Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare, 1970 (2 volumes) Constantinople: The Forgotten Empire, 1970 Light (1970) The Solar System and Back (1970) The Stars in Their Courses (1971) What Makes the Sun Shine? (1971) The Sensuous Dirty Old Man (1971) The Land of Canaan (1971) Asimov’s Guide to Science, 1972 Electricity and Man, 1972 The Shaping of France, 1972 Left Hand of the Electron, 1972 Worlds Within Worlds: The Story of Nuclear Energy, 1972 More Words of Science, 1972 The Story of Ruth, 1972 Isaac Asimov’s Treasury of Humour, 1972, 1979 Asimov’s Annotated series, 1972–88 How Did We Find Out About . . . series, 1972–1991 ( Today, Tomorrow, And . . . , 1973 The Birth of the United States, 1763–1816, 1973 Please Explain, 1973 The Tragedy of the Moon Before the Golden Age, 1974 (autobiography) Towards Tomorrow, 1974 Earth: Our Crowded Spaceship, 1974 Our World in Space, 1974 Asimov on . . . series, 1974–89 Our Federal Union: The United States from 1816 to 1865 American History, 1975 Earth Our Crowded Space Ship, 1975 Eyes on the Universe, 1975 The Ends of the Earth, 1975 Of Matters Great and Small, 1975 The Solar System, 1975 Science Past—Science Future, 1975 Frontiers, 1976 The Planet That Wasn't, 1976 Alpha Centauri, the Nearest Star, 1976 The Collapsing Universe, 1977 The Exploding Suns, 1977 The Tyrannosaurus Prescription, 1977 The Beginning and the End, 1977 The Golden Door: The United States from 1865 to 1918, 1977 How Is Paper Made? (1978) Quasar, Quasar Burning Bright (1978) Life and Time (1978) Animals of the Bible (1978) A Choice of Catastrophes: The Disasters That Threaten Our World, 1979 Extraterrestrial Civilizations, 1979 In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954, 1979 Opus 200 (1979) Saturn and Beyond (1979) Extraterrestrial Civilizations (1979) A Choice of Catastrophes (1979) Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979) Road to Infinity (1979) In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954-1978, 1980 The Subatomic Monster (1981) How Did We Find Out About Solar Power? (1981) In the Beginning (1981) Venus (1981) Change! (1981) The Sun Shines Bright (1981) Visions of the Universe, 1981 Isaac Asimov Presents Superquiz (1982) More, Would You Believe? (1982) Exploring the Earth and the Cosmos: The Growth and Future of Human Knowledge, 1982 Isaac Asimov Presents Superquiz (1982) More, Would You Believe? (1982) The Roving Mind, 1983 Measure of the Universe (1983) X Stands for Unknown (1984) Opus 300 (1984) The History of Physics, 1984 Asimov’s New Guide to Science, 1984 The Edge of Tomorrow, 1985 Robots: Machines in Man’s Image, 1985 (with Karen A. Frenkel) Asimov’s Guide to Halley’s Comet, 1985 Exploding Suns, 1985 Living in the Future, 1985 Futuredays, 1986 The Dangers of Intelligence, and Other Science Essays, 1986 Beginnings: The Story of Origins—of Mankind, Life, the Earth, the Universe, 1987 Isaac Asimov Presents Superquiz 3 (1987) Far As Human Eye Could See (1987) Past, Present, and Future, 1987 How to Enjoy Writing, 1987 (with Janet Asimov) Isaac Asimov's Guide to Earth and Space (1988) Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988) (with Jason A Shulman) The Relativity of Wrong, 1988 Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery, 1989 Asimov’s Galaxy: Reflections on Science Fiction, 1989 The Complete Science Fair Handbook (1989) Isaac Asimov Presents Superquiz 4 (1989) The Birth and Death of Stars (1989) Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery (1989) Isaac Asimov’s New Library of the Universe series, 1989–96 Frontiers, 1990 Piloted Space Flights (1990) The World's Space Programs (1990) Out of the Everywhere (1990) Colonizing the Planets and Stars (1990) Projects in Astronomy (1990) The March of the Millennia (1990) (with Frank White) Astronomy Today (1990) Asimov’s Chronology of the World: The History of the World from the Big Bang to Modern Times, 1991 Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos, 1991 The Secret of the Universe (1991) Asimov's Chronology of the World (1991) Our Angry Earth (1991) (with Frederik Pohl) Think about Space (1991) (with Frank White) Frontiers II (1993) (with Janet Asimov) I, Asimov: A Memoir, 1994 Death from Space, 1994 Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Lifetime of Letters, 1995 (Stanley Asimov, editor) It’s Been a Good Life, 2002 (Janet Jeppson Asimov, editor; condensed version of his 3 volumes of autobiography) Poems: Lecherous Limericks, 1975 More Lecherous Limericks, 1976 Still More Lecherous Limericks, 1977 Limericks: Too Gross, 1978 (with John Ciardi) Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks, 1978 A Grossery of Limericks, 1981 (with Ciardi) Screenplay: I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay, 2006 (with Harlan Ellison) Children’s/Young Adult Literature: David Starr: Space Ranger, 1952 (as Paul French) Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids, 1953 (as Paul French) Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus, 1954 (as Paul French) Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury, 1956 (as Paul French) Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, 1957 (as Paul French)’ Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn, 1958 (as Paul French) ABC’s of series, 1969–71 (3 volumes) Mars, the Red Planet, 1977 Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot, 1983 (with Janet Asimov) Isaac Asimov’s Limericks for Children, 1984 Norby’s Other Secret, 1984 (with Janet Asimov) Norby and the Lost Princess, 1985 (with Janet Asimov) Norby and the Invaders, 1985 (with Janet Asimov) Norby and the Queen’s Necklace, 1986 (with Janet Asimov) Ancient Astronomy, 1986 Norby Finds a Villain, 1987 (with Janet Asimov) Norby: Robot for Hire, 1987 (with Janet Asimov) Norby through Time and Space, 1988 (with Janet Asimov) The Earth's Moon (1988) Uranus: The Sideways Planet (1988) Earth: Our Home Base (1988) The Space Spotter's Guide (1988) Our Solar System (1988) Mars: Our Mysterious Neighbor (1988) Rockets, Probes, and Satellites (1988) Norby Down to Earth, 1989 (with Janet Asimov) Norby and Yobo’s Great Adventure, 1989 (with Janet Asimov) Is There Life On Other Planets? (1989) Jupiter: the Spotted Giant (1989) Mercury: the Quick Planet (1989) Space Garbage (1989) Neptune: the Farthest Giant (1990) Pluto: A Double Planet? (1990) Norby and the Oldest Dragon, 1990 (with Janet Asimov) Norby and the Court Jester, 1991 (with Janet Asimov) Christopher Columbus: Navigator to the New World (1991) Henry Hudson (1991) (with Elizabeth Kaplan) Ferdinand Magellan (1991) What Is a Shooting Star? (1991) What Is an Eclipse? (1991) Why Do Stars Twinkle? (1991) Why Do We Have Different Seasons? (1991) Why Does the Moon Change Shape? (1991) Is Our Planet Warming Up? (1992) What Causes Acid Rain? (1992) Where Does Garbage Go?(1992) Why Are Whales Vanishing? (1992) Why Is the Air Dirty? (1992) What's Happening to the Ozone Layer? (1992) Why Are Animals Endangered? (1992) Why Are Some Beaches Oily? (1992) Why Are the Rain Forests Vanishing? (1992) Why Does Litter Cause Problems? (1992) How Do Aeroplanes Fly? (1992) How Do Big Ships Float? (1992) How Does a TV Work? (1992) Edited Texts The Hugo Winners, 1962 Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales, 1963 (with Groff Conklin) Tomorrow’s Children, 1966 The Hugo Winners 1968–1970, 1971 Where Do We Go from Here?, 1971 Treasury of Humour, 1972 The Hugo Winners 1963–1967, 1973 Mars, We Love You, 1973 Nebula Award Stories 8, 1973 Before the Golden Age Volumes 1–4, 1974–76 The Hugo Winners 1971–1975, 1977 The Hugo Winners Volume 3, Part 2: 1973, 1977 The Hugo Winners Volume 3, Part 3: 1974–1975, 1977 Familiar Poems, Annotated, 1977 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories, 1978 (with Martin H. Greenberg and Joseph Olander) 100 Great Science Fiction Stories, 1978 Asimov's Choice: Extraterrestrials and Eclipses, 1978 Isaac Asimov's Marvels of Science Fiction, Volumes 1 and 2, 2 vols., 1979 Isaac Asimov's Masters of Science Fiction, 1979 (with George Scithers) The Science Fictional Solar System, 1979 (with Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh) Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories series, 25 vols., 1979–92 (with Greenberg) Microcosmic Tales, 1980 (with Greenberg and Joseph Olander) The Future in Question, 1980 (with Greenberg and Olander) Space Mail, 1980 (with Greenberg and Waugh) Who Done It?, 1980 (with Alice Laurance) The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction, 1980 (with Greenberg and Waugh) Future I, 1980 (with Greenberg and Waugh) The Twelve Crimes of Christmas, 1981 100 Malicious Little Mysteries, 1981 (also known as Miniature Mysteries) Space Mail 2, 1982 Tantalizing Locked Room Mysteries, 1982 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) TV: 2000, 1982 Laughing Space, 1982 (with J O Jeppson/Janet Asimov) Speculations, 1982 (with Alice Laurance) Dragon Tales, 1982 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Flying Saucers, 1982 The Last Man on Earth, 1982 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) The Best Horror and Supernatural of the 19th Century, 1983 (with Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) The Golden Years of Science Fiction Second Series, 1983 Golden Years of SF, 1983 Computer Crimes and Capers, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Creations, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and George Zebrowski) The Science Fiction Weight-Loss Book, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and George R R Martin) The Big Apple Mysteries, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and Carol-Lynn Waugh) Caught in the Organ Draft, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg) Hallucination Orbit, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Show Business Is Murder, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and Carol-Lynn Waugh) Starships, 1983 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) 13 Horrors of Halloween, 1983 Those Amazing Electronic Thinking Machines, 1983 Issac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction series, 10 vols., 1983–90 (with Greenberg and Waugh) Isaac Assimov’s Magical Worlds of Fantasy series, 12 vols., 1983–91 (with Greenberg and Waugh) Golden Years of SF 3rd Series, 1984 Golden Years of SF 4th Series, 1984 Science Fiction 18, 1984 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories, 1984 (with Terry Carr and Martin H Greenberg) Murder On the Menu, 1984 (with Martin H Greenberg and Carol-Lynn Waugh) Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space, 1984 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Election Day 2084, 1984 (with Martin H Greenberg) Young series, 6 vols., 1984–87 (with Greenberg and Waugh) The Mammoth Book series, 8 vols., 1984–93, (The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction, 1989, and The Mammoth Book of Modern Science Fiction, 1993, with Greenberg and Waugh Baker's Dozen: 13 Short Science Fiction Novels, 1985 Golden Years of SF 5th Series, 1985 The Hugo Winners, Volume 4, 1985 Great Science Fiction Stories by the World's Great Scientists, 1985 (with Martin H Greenberg) Amazing Stories, 1985 (with Martin H Greenberg) Isaac Asimov's Choice, 1986 Science Fiction Masterpieces, 1986 The Hugo Winners, 1980-1982, 1986 The Twelve Frights of Christmas, 1986 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Golden Years of SF 6th Series, 1988 Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Treasury, 1988 (with Martin H Greenberg and Joseph Olander) Encounters, 1988 Hound Dunnit, 1988 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Extraterrestrials, 1988 (with Martin H Greenberg) The Sport of Crime, 1988 Friends, Robots, Countrymen, 1989 (with Martin H Greenberg) The Best Crime Stories of the Nineteenth Century, 1989 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Purr-fect Crime, 1989 (with Martin H Greenberg and Carol-Lynn Waugh) Tales of the Occult, 1989 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Senior Sleuths, 1989 (with Martin H Greenberg) Visions of Fantasy, 1989 (with Martin H Greenberg) Cosmic Critiques, 1990 (with Martin H Greenberg) Orbit, 1990 Great Tales of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, 1991 (with Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh) Isaac Asimov’s Mars, 1991 (with Gardner Dozois) Isaac Asimov’s Robots, 1991 (with Dozois and Sheila Williams) War With the Robots, 1992 Bibliography Asimov, Isaac. I, Asimov: A Memoir. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Spans his entire life in more introspective and anecdotal form. Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s Galaxy. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1989. Compilation of sixty-six essays presents readers with Asimov’s unique perspective on a genre to which he made many important contributions. Topics addressed include religion and science fiction, women and science fiction, time travel, science-fiction editors, and magazine covers. Particularly interesting are the items in the final section, “Science Fiction and I,” in which Asimov writes frankly about his life and work. Asimov, Isaac. In Memory Yet Green: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954. New York: Doubleday, 1979. Asimov’s autobiographies are the three best sources about the life and times of this author. Covers Asimov’s life through 1954. Asimov, Isaac. In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954-1978. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980. Continues from 1954 to 1974 and provides vignettes of the publishing world and other science-fiction authors. “A Celebration of Isaac Asimov: A Man for the Universe.” Skeptical Inquirer 17 (Fall, 1992): 30-47. Praises Asimov as a master science educator, perhaps the best of all time, given that he was responsible for teaching science to millions of people. Includes tributes from Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, L. Sprague de Camp, Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, Donald Goldsmith, James Randi, and E. C. Krupp. Chambers, Bette. “Isaac Asimov: A One-Man Renaissance.” Humanist 53 (March/April, 1993): 6-8. Discusses Asimov’s stature as a humanist and his presidency of the American Humanist Association. Also addresses Asimov’s support for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and his thoughts on censorship and creationism, pseudoscience, and scientific orthodoxy. Fiedler, Jean, and Jim Mele. Isaac Asimov. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1982. Brief volume serves as a primer on Asimov’s work as a science-fiction writer. Provides descriptions of most of his writings in the genre, including the Foundation trilogy, the Robot series, and the juvenile books. Provides a clear and nonacademic treatment of Asimov’s major works in addition to giving some of his less well-known works long-overdue recognition. Includes notes, bibliography, and index. Freedman, Carl, ed. Conversations with Isaac Asimov. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. Collection of interviews with the author spans the period from 1968 to 1990. Asimov discusses such topics as the state of science-fiction writing and his own opinions about his classic novels. Includes chronology, list of Asimov’s books, and index. Goble, Neil. Asimov Analyzed. Baltimore: Mirage, 1972. This unusual study of Asimov’s work concentrates on his style in his science fiction and nonfiction. The critical analyses are detailed, with the author going so far as to perform word-frequency counts to make some of his points. Gunn, James. Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction. Rev. ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996. Gunn, a professor of English, science-fiction writer, historian and critic of the genre, and longtime friend of Asimov, shows how science fiction shaped Asimov’s life and how he in turn shaped the field. Presents painstaking analyses of Asimov’s entire science-fiction corpus. Includes a chronology, a checklist of works by Asimov, a select list of works about him, and an index. Hassler, Donald M. Isaac Asimov. Mercer Island, Wash.: Starmont House, 1991. Difficult to find since Starmont House was bought by Borgo Press, but Hassler brings some unusual perspectives to the study of Asimov’s work. Hutcheon, Pat Duffy. “The Legacy of Isaac Asimov.” Humanist 53 (March/April, 1993): 3-5. Biographical account discusses Asimov’s efforts to encourage an understanding of science and his desire to make people realize that to study humanity is to study the universe, and vice versa. Asserts that Asimov saw the possibility of an eventual organization of a world government and predicted the end of sexism, racism, and war. Olander, Joseph D., and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. Isaac Asimov. New York: Taplinger, 1977. This collection of essays is part of a series, Writers of the Twenty-first Century. The essays, which reviewers found useful and illuminating, include analyses of Asimov’s social science fiction, his science-fiction mysteries, and his Foundation trilogy. In an afterword, Asimov himself comments, amusingly and enlighteningly, on the essays, asserting that “no purposeful patterns or smooth subtleties can possibly be below the clear surface” of what he has written in his science-fiction stories. The book includes a select bibliography of Asimov’s major science-fiction writings through 1976. Palumbo, Donald. Chaos Theory, Asimov’s Foundations and Robots, and Herbert’s “Dune”: The Fractal Aesthetic of Epic Science Fiction. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. Looks at the history of epic science fiction through its two most outstanding examples. Includes bibliographical references and index. Patrouch, Joseph F., Jr. The Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov. Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1974. Patrouch, a teacher of English literature at the University of Dayton, published science-fiction stories, and many reviewers found his critical survey of Asimov’s writings in science fiction the best book-length study yet to appear. Patrouch discusses Asimov’s style, his narrative skills, and his themes; he also provides detailed analyses of the principal short stories and novels. Touponce, William F. Isaac Asimov. Boston: Twayne, 1991. Offers a good introduction to the life and works of the author. Includes bibliographical references and index. White, Michael. Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1994. First full-length biography of the author provides a detailed look at his life and work. Includes a general bibliography, a bibliography of Asimov’s fiction, a chronological list of his books, and an index.

Categories: Authors