I came across an interesting tidbit a while ago, while reading something about Robert Heinlein: he served as a researcher during World War II, alongside fellow SF authors Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp. At the NAES, they all worked on various experimental projects, working in the high-tech, cutting edge of R&D that’s so often portrayed in the genre at the time. It’s a neat story, one that tells quite a bit about each of the authors.
Read all about it over on Kirkus Reviews: Asimov, de Camp and Heinlein at the Naval Air Experimental Station.
This early ’80s Bill Boggs interview with Isaac Asimov has poor video, but the audio quality is fine and you can listen to Asimov address the topic of extraterrestrials, Star Trek, Star Wars and more…
Of all the works of his career, Isaac Asimov’s Robot stories are perhaps some of his best known works. Spanning short stories, novellas, centuries and even genres, his fiction helped change the perceptions of robots in science fiction.
Go read Isaac Asimov and the 3 Laws of Robotics over on Kirkus Reviews.
Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Isaac Asimov’s I Robot: To Obey by Mickey Zucker Reichert.
Here’s the synopsis:
It is 2036 and robotic technology has evolved into the realm of self aware sentient mechanical entities. Even as humanity contends with the consequences of its most brilliant creation, there are those who have their own plans for the robots: enslavement or annihilation. Susan Calvin is about to enter her second year as a psych resident at the Manhattan Hasbro teaching hospital when she hears her father has been murdered. His death sets her on a trail of discovery which will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her father and herself.
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Roc (4 April 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0451464826
- ISBN-13: 978-0451464828
One of my earliest science fiction reading experiences was with Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, which essentially boils down to a science fictional retelling of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. But I whipped through these books like maniac, even going as far as to read all of Asimov’s Foundation, Robot novels (which Asimov loosely tied into the Foundation universe after-the-fact), and all related novels.
But the Foundation trilogy includes the books that started it all. Here is an old BBC radio adaptation of that trilogy, very loosely based on Asimov’s classic books.
A meme going around recently in the genre blogosphere is to name the five most influential books in your life, and how they changed your life.
I can never resist a chance to talk about books, and so here are mine:
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Carrie Cuinn is a writer, editor, book historian, small press publisher, computer geek, & raconteur. In her spare time she reads, makes things, takes other things apart, and sometimes gets a new tattoo. Learn more at carriecuinn.com.
Some of the most read, and most loved, early science fiction novels are set in places where only the hero of the tale has a chance at a enviable life. Golden Age SF especially, with its focus on adventure stories and cold-war era morality plays, often describes bleak home worlds from which the main character has to escape to survive, or dystopian worlds from which escape is impossible. Though usually presented as the highest form of man, even the heroes have lives absorbed by trying to break free from an oppressive or rigidly controlled society. If the landscape doesn’t kill you, the locals probably will.
Here are five examples of terrible vacation spots:
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REVIEW SUMMARY: Continuing from the guilty pleasure of the voyueristic look at the pulp author heros of my childhood in The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, Malmont follows Heinlein, Asimov and other science fiction giants as fact meets fiction again in a race to create super-weapons and super defences against the Axis in World War II.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: John Campbell assembles a team of science fiction writers to work with the Government during World War II. Led by Robert Heinlein and joined by Isaac Asimov and others, the team works to make science fiction a reality to help the war effort. Lost manuscripts and testing notes from Nikola Tesla lead the team on a merry chase for a super-weapon that could end the war.
PROS: As with The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, hard to tell where fact ends and fiction begins; great tie-ins with the previous novel; believable characterizations of our heroes, Heinlein and Asimov.
CONS: My mama always told me that voyeurism was bad, but in this case I’ll make an exception. (Sorry, Mom!)
BOTTOM LINE: Picks up where the first book left off; with strong characterizations of Heinlein and Asimov, and return appearances by Gibson, Dent and Hubbard, an enjoyable blend of historical fact with adventure fiction.
Filmmaker Eric Solstein has uploaded the first two parts of a larger tribute to Science Fiction’s Grand Masters presented at the 2000 SFWA Nebula banquet at the installation of Brian Aldiss. There’s wonderful footage of so many SF legends, including Jack Williamson, Frederik Pohl, Isaac Asimov, James Gunn, William Tenn, Clifford D. Simak, Joe Haldeman, Philip Jos@eacute; Farmer, Norman Spinrad, Damon Knight (for whom the Grand Master Award is now named), Julie Schwartz, Gene Wolfe, Hal Clement, Poul Anderson, Samuel R. Delany, Barry Malzberg and Brian Aldiss.
There’s a longer follow-up video after the break…