9 February 2010
Isaac Asimov: The Father of Science-Fiction
Isaac Asimov is well known for his Foundation series but wrote a total of over 500 books. These books were commonly science-fiction, but he also wrote mysteries and other genres of literature, including a memoir. Although these works differ in genre, they each contain Isaac Asimov’s desire to help the world and educate people in any way he could. Isaac Asimov used his work to reflect upon the world and address its problems by helping the reader identify the problems so that he or she can overcome them.
Isaac Asimov’s experiences in his earlier life helped form his perception of the world. Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia in 1920. Asimov moved with his parents to Brooklyn, New York before he turned three (Goldman). His father set up a candy shop, and Isaac taught himself how to read, enjoying the magazines his father sold in the shop. He worked there most of his adolescent years, helping his family make money during the difficult years of the Great Depression. Having Jewish Parents in a primarily Christian country gave Asimov an outsider’s view of religion, which shaped his religious beliefs and his writing about religion (“Isaac Asimov Biography”).
As Asimov grew into adulthood, he encountered new experiences, continuing to change his outlook on the world. He served in the military during World War II although he never saw combat (“Asimov, Isaac.”). He grew to dislike war and the concept of violence solving problems, which he demonstrated in his writing. He also spent time on a naval base, which gave him ideas for his Foundation series (Badertscher). He married Gertrude Blugerman in 1942. Once out of the military Asimov pursued his writing career, writing 32 short stories between 1941 and 1949 (“Isaac Asimov Biography”). These stories, originally separate, came to be a part of the Foundation series. He also strove to educate himself, receiving his doctorate in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1948 and teaching until 1958 when he chose to focus on his writing career (Badertscher). He wrote his first novel in 1950, A Pebble in the Sky, the first entry in the Foundation series. His later life held more contributions to his controversial side. He completed his Foundation series and began writing a wider variety of works. He actively urged the teaching of evolution in schools, which he considered to be a long standing principle that should have been accepted long ago (“Asimov, Isaac (1920-1992)”). In A Pebble in the Sky he wrote about evolution as common sense and made it a key part of understanding the plot and theme. After his divorce with Gertrude in 1973, he remarried to Janet Jepperson, a fellow science fiction writer (“Isaac Asimov Biography”). Asimov died in 1992 of AIDS complications, which he had contracted earlier during a transfusion needed for heart surgery (“Isaac Asimov, (1920-1992)”). He wrote his own biography, split into three parts: In Memory Yet Green, In Joy Still Felt, and I. Asimov. Through it he related his experiences to the readers and tried to teach them about his life and his observations. His life gave him the experience to write about the world and see its faults for what they were. The time period Asimov lived in changed who he was and what he saw in the world. The scientific atmosphere at the time made a significant impact on Asimov, and his legacy. Known for his literature about robots and sentient machines, he believed the future lay in advanced robots becoming more and more common, potentially household appliances. He wrote his books with misunderstood robotic characters that were not human but possessed morals and compassion. Goldman was so moved he wrote, “Obviously, if robots have no soul, they possess something else that functions as one” (19). Isaac Asimov believed computers would only be used to give robots decision-making abilities or store memory....