"No less a critic than C. S. Lewis has described the ravenous addiction that these magazines inspired; the same phenomenon has led me to call science fiction the only genuine consciousness-expanding drug." Arthur C. Clarke

My Top Five Science Fiction Authors #1: Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov

Cover of Isaac Asimov

If you have read much of my blog, you will be able to tell that this selection was not hard for me at all.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was easily the most prolific science fiction writer of all time, in my opinion.  He was one of the Big Three science fiction writers (with Heinlein and Clarke) and was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction and has lent his name to more things in science fiction than any other author.

At official count, Asimov’s bibliography numbers at more than 500 books and his books have been published in every category of the Dewey Decimal System except for Philosophy (and it could be argued much of his fiction is philosophical).

His most famous works are the Foundation Series, which was combined with his Galactic Empire and Robot series‘ to create one entire fictional universe of nearly all his science fiction stories.  His works have been the basis for two big-budget films, the first being Bicentennial Man, starring Robin Williams, which is based on his story of the same name.  The second is I, Robot, starring Will Smith, which is not based on a story of Asimov’s but incorporates characters and themes from Asimov’s work, including the Three Laws.

As far as science is concerned, Asimov had a Doctorate in Biochemistry from Colombia University, and was on the faculty at Boston University from the mid-1950’s until his death in 1992.  His personal papers are archived at the university, filling up 464 boxes and 71 meters of library shelf space.

Asimov coined the term “robotics” in 1941 in his short story “Liar.”  He thought it was already in use, being a derivative of the word “robot,” but the Oxford Dictionary credits him with it’s creation.

Asimov did not only write science and science fiction: Beginning in the ’60’s he wrote 14 history books, as well as Asimov’s Guide to the Bible in two volumes, Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare, Asimov’s Annotated Paradise Lost, and Asimov’s Annotated Gulliver’s Travels.  He also wrote books on humor (as well as books of jokes), books of limericks, and mystery stories.

Bearing his namesake are various things, including an asteroid, a crater on Mars, a science fiction magazine, a literary award, and an elementary school in Brooklyn.

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