Conversations with Isaac Asimov by Carl Freedman
(Literary Conversations Series)

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Synopsis

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), one of the most popular and influential American authors of the twentieth century, sparked the imagination of generations of writers. His Foundation trilogy paved the way for science fiction that was more speculative and philosophical than had been previously seen in the genre, and his book I, Robot and his story "The Bicentennial Man" have been made into popular movies. First published as a teenager in John W. Campbell's groundbreaking science-fiction magazine Astounding, Asimov published over two hundred books during his lifetime.

While most prolific writers tend to concentrate almost exclusively on a single genre, Asimov was a polymath who wrote widely on a variety of subjects. He authored mysteries, autobiographies, histories, satires, companions to Shakespeare, children's books on science, and collections of bawdy limericks. A lifelong atheist, he nevertheless wrote more than a half dozen books on the Bible.

Asimov's varied interests establish him as a premier public intellectual, one who was frequently called upon to clarify debates in science, in history, and on the effects of technology on the modern age. Conversations with Isaac Asimov collects interviews with a man considered to be-along with Robert Heinlein, A. E. van Vogt, and Arthur C. Clarke-a founder of modern science fiction. Despite this, Asimov is perhaps best known for his many books of popular science writing. Carl Sagan once described Asimov as the greatest explainer of his age, and this talent made Asimov a natural for the interview form. His manner is always crisp and lucid, his tone always engaging, and his comments always enlightening.

Carl Freedman, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is professor of English at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Critical Theory and Science Fiction, The Incomplete Projects: Marxism, Modernity, and the Politics of Culture, and George Orwell: A Study in Ideology and Literary Form.

 

About Carl Freedman

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Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia, on January 2, 1920. His family emigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they owned and operated a candy store. Asimov became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of eight. As a youngster he discovered his talent for writing, producing his first original fiction at the age of eleven. He went on to become one of the world's most prolific writers, publishing nearly 500 books in his lifetime. Asimov was not only a writer; he also was a biochemist and an educator. He studied chemistry at Columbia University, earning a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. In 1951, Asimov accepted a position as an instructor of biochemistry at Boston University's School of Medicine even though he had no practical experience in the field. His exceptional intelligence enabled him to master new systems rapidly, and he soon became a successful and distinguished professor at Columbia and even co-authored a biochemistry textbook within a few years. Asimov won numerous awards and honors for his books and stories, and he is considered to be a leading writer of the Golden Age of science fiction. While he did not invent science fiction, he helped to legitimize it by adding the narrative structure that had been missing from the traditional science fiction books of the period. He also introduced several innovative concepts, including the thematic concern for technological progress and its impact on humanity. Asimov is probably best known for his Foundation series, which includes Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. In 1966, this trilogy won the Hugo award for best all-time science fiction series. In 1983, Asimov wrote an additional Foundation novel, Foundation's Edge, which won the Hugo for best novel of that year. Asimov also wrote a series of robot books that included I, Robot, and eventually he tied the two series together. He won three additional Hugos, including one awarded posthumously for the best non-fiction book of 1995, I. Asimov. "Nightfall" was chosen the best science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America. In 1979, Asimov wrote his autobiography, In Memory Yet Green. He continued writing until just a few years before his death from heart and kidney failure on April 6, 1992. Carl Freedman is the James F. Cassidy Professor of English at Louisiana State University. He is the author of many articles and several books, including "The Age of Nixon", " Incomplete Projects: Marxism, Modernity, and the Politics of Culture", and "Critical Theory and Science Fiction".
 
Published May 10, 2005 by University Press of Mississippi. 170 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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