Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy birthday, Isaac Asimov.

Science fiction legend Isaac Asimov was born today in Russia in 1920. He died in 1992.

One does not need to look far for evidence of Asimov's work, which numbers approximately 500 books; Will Smith recently appeared in a film version of Asimov's I, Robot. But Asimov also has made some notable contributions to the mystery field. I am a particular fan of his entertaining Black Widowers tales, in which a perplexing mystery is solved after dinner not by any of the distinguished guests present but by the unassuming waiter Henry. Not long ago, Carroll & Graf published the collection The Return of the Black Widowers (introd. Harlan Ellison), and mystery fans often recall with affection Asimov's Murder at the ABA (not the American Bar Association, but the American Booksellers Association).
. . .in the 21st century, if we survive, we can imagine that our technological society will advance even further. There will be even more computerization and automation. The dull work of the world will be done by machines. Men and women themselves will be able to do the kind of work they want to do. Undoubtedly, some of them will want to be research scientists, or symphony conductors, or they will want to be great artists, or writers. . . . There will be enough people who will want to be that, and there will be people who will want to learn how to bowl perfectly, or how to collect leaves, or how to build battleships out of toothpicks. What's the difference? Whatever it is you do that makes you happy, and adds to the joyousness of the world, is justified.—Isaac Asimov, 1974.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Isaac Asimov was a huge name to me when I was a kid. I've always been happy that I got to meet him at an Edgar dinner about 20 years ago and tell him how much I'd enjoyed his work.