Isaac Asimov

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(ca. 1920 – April 6, 1992)

Isaac Asimov (sometimes called Ike) was born in Russia, and emigrated to New York as a young child. He got a PhD in Biochemistry and became a professor at Boston University.

Beginning as a reader of the pulps -- his father gave him the first issue of Science Wonder Stories at age 9 -- he was soon letterhacking. Isaac Asenion, a misspelling of his name in the prozine letter columns when he was an unknown fan with a strange name might count as a penname. Paul French was an actual pseudonym Asimov used for the Lucky Starr series of YA novels.

He was introduced to fandom by Jack Robins and became a member of the Futurians, but was a bit too young to take part in their ferocious politics. He attended the First Worldcon, but was not active enough in the Futurians to be excluded. (See Exclusion Act.)

While living in Boston, he was a member of NESFA. (He was fannish enough to figure in the story of a certain fan-turned-pro's visit to a NESFA meeting where IM, the clubzine, was being collated. The neopro, asked to help collate, loftily replied that as a pro he no longer did such things. Just then, Ben Bova came out from another room and said, "Do you have any more page 6? Isaac and I are out.")

The start of Asimov's writing career was part of the Golden Age of Astounding inaugurated by John W. Campbell and during the 1940s, Asimov wrote some of his most famous short fiction, including the original Foundation and Robot stories, including publishing the Three Laws of Robotics. In the ’50s, he turned to novels and then mostly to non-fiction. He was a long-time science columnist in F&SF.

During his lifetime, he wrote over 500 books and many tens of thousands of letters and postcards. He also spoke fluent limerick and was easily able to extemporize.

He was afraid of flying, which greatly limited his travel.

He was a member of the Trap Door Spiders, and the discoverer of Thiotimoline. He gave his name to Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and helped to guide its early years.

Asimov wrote three autobiographies: In Memory Yet Green, In Joy Still Felt -- The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954–1978, and I. Asimov. The first two are detailed accounts of his life, while the latter is an engaging series of small essays on people and things that mattered to him.

Under the not very secret pseudonym "Dr. A.," Asimov wrote The Sensuous Dirty Old Man, it was meant as a joke, but many femmefen could attest to Asimov's wandering hands and blatant propositions. His lifelong friend Fred Pohl recalled:

On meeting an attractive woman — one who was not obviously the Most Significant Other of some male friend — he was inclined to touch her … not immediately on any Off Limits part of her anatomy but in a fairly fondling way. (When I called him on it once, he said, "It's like the old saying. You get slapped a lot, but you get laid a lot, too.")

More information:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

He was Worldcon GoH at the Clevention, and toastmaster at Pittcon, Detention, Tricon, Discon, and Philcon II.

He won six Hugos: the 1966 Best All Time Series Hugo, the 1973 Best Novel Hugo, the 1977 Best Novelette Hugo, the 1983 Best Novel Hugo, 1992 Best Novelette Hugo, the 1995 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo, as well as the 1946 Best Novel Retro Hugo in 1996, the 1941 Best Short Story Retro Hugo in 2016 and the 1943 Best Novelette Retro Hugo in 2018.

He was nominated for many more: the 1956 Best Novel Hugo, 1975 Best Novelette Hugo, the 1980 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo, the 1981 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo, the 1984 Best Novel Hugo, the 1987 Best Short Story Hugo, the 1996 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo, the 1946 Best Novella Retro Hugo in 1996, the 1951 Best Novella Retro Hugo and the 1951 Best Novel Retro Hugo in 2001, and the 1954 Best Novel Retro Hugo in 2004.



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