Reading, Writing & Other Addictions

Facing Reality Through Fiction

January 2, Isaac Asimov’s Birthday

on 01/02/2015

isaac-asimovIsaac Asimov, one of the most prolific writers on the twentieth century, was born this day in 1920.  Though Asimov is best known for his science-fiction writing, this trivia hound is more familiar with his book Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts, which by the way, has an interesting fact about Isaac Asimov.  Did you know that Isaac Asimov wrote six popular books of science fiction for high school students under the pseudonym Paul French?  Neither did I until I read his book.

Isaac Asimov was born in Russia on January 2, 1920.  His family immigrated to New York when he was three years old.  He taught himself to read when he was five, and fell in love with science fiction.  He was first published at 18, and just a few years later wrote and had published “Nightfall,” a short story that the Science-Fiction Writers of America voted to be the best science-fiction short story ever written.

Asimov wrote more than 500 volumes and an estimated 90,000 letters on postcards and has works in all the major Dewey Decimal categories, except for Philosophy.  (I think James Patterson must be trying to see if he can write more.  I think he has a book coming out every other month in 2015.) However, The Gods Themselves is the only book by Asimov where readers will find aliens and sex in the story.  Why no more aliens?  Well, he once wrote a story with aliens that was rejected because he portrayed the aliens as superior to humans.  So, Asimov decided he’s forego the whole mess and never wrote about aliens again, until his readers asked, “Why don’t you ever write about aliens or sex?”  The Gods Themselves has not only aliens and sex, but also alien sex, so everyone is covered.

Isaac Asimov died in 1983, a mere 63 years old, from AIDS related complications.  He contracted the disease after receiving infected blood in a transfusion during his heart bypass surgery.  His widow, Janet, kept the true cause of Asimov’s death a secret for more than a decade after death.

To close, here are a few more interesting facts about Isaac Asimov I found while reading and surfing the net:

  1. Isaac Asimov was afraid of flying.
  2. He got his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Columbia, and became a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. (Could you imagine walking into class and realizing your teacher was one of the most famous science fiction writers ever?)
  3. He was a claustrophile, which is the opposite of a claustrophobe. He enjoyed being in small, enclosed spaces.
  4. Isaac Asimov showed up on the Ghostbusters movie set one day.  It seems that his daily commute was disrupted by filming, and he was upset.  He ended up yelling at Dan Akroyd, who was crushed because he admired Asimov’s writing.
  5. Asimov coined the word “robotic.”
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