I, Asimov: A Memoir
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Alas, I am left only to wonder what Isaac Asimov could have accomplished with another 5 years, or 10, or The world lost a great man in April of , but it has lost many more great men, and many more greats will yet be born. So we should not fear death. We should embrace life. Apr 15, Anya rated it really liked it Shelves: I never want to meet anyone I would consider a celebrity. This autobiography has not changed my mind it has rather cemented this sentiment more firmly. This doesn't mean that my admiration for Isaac Asimov has dwindled - not in the least- but I was yet again reminded that idolizing or idealizing someone because of their creative output does a disservice to the complexity and nuanced nature of the human being behind that output.
It is easy to believe one "knows" a celebrity from the things they sa I never want to meet anyone I would consider a celebrity. It is easy to believe one "knows" a celebrity from the things they say, do, create in public. And this image is one of extremes - smart, dumb, mean, sweet - but it is exactly that, an image, not a true representation of the whole human being.
People, famous or not, are never what they seem from only superficial acquaintance. They have strengths and weaknesses. They've been unspeakably kind and incredibly cruel. They've suffered and exalted in good fortune. They've given and taken. They've lived real lives.
I. Asimov : a memoir
This autobiography gives a realistic picture of Isaac Asimov from his youth through to the year before his death. It's written in a nebulously chronological order. There are chapters in this page book. Each chapter is focused on a subject - a person, a major event, a regular activity - which is presented chronologically within each chapter with lots of dates given.
The result is a very good sense of Isaac Asimov's character from his youth to his old age - where and how he changed but at the same time this "subjective" style made it difficult to keep track of the true, entire chronology. However, it was mentioned on more than one occasion that that was not the purpose of this book. Isaac Asimov had previously written a wholly chronological autobiography and this was supposed to be in such a nebulous, "get to know me" style. The major thing I took away from reading this book is the knifes edge between hubris and healthy self-confidence and the question: On which side of the knife did Isaac Asimov fall?
It is obvious to the reader that Isaac himself felt that he was on the "healthy self-confidence" side but I believe that when he is examined through the lens of US societal norms he would be on the "hubris" side. Which of course leads one to question the validity of societal norms. This intense pressure toward modesty and the idea that pride is an evil trait. Why is it bad to be proud of one's own intellect, talent, strength? Oh, it's alright for others to praise but look out if one praises one-self!
Of course too much of a good thing or bad thing always has a detrimental affect on the character. But what about honest self-representation? Is it wrong to be proud of one's own impressive accomplishments? Is it possible to be honest and maintain the socially demanded level of humility? I love these questions. I enjoyed getting to know a more nuanced and realistic Isaac Asimov but in the end it's these questions that this book left me with that made it truly worth reading.
When reading the book, there were several similarities between Isaac and myself. I really enjoyed reading. I heard his voice clearly throughout the entire book. It wasn't rushed or artificial or too wordy. It flowed at the most perfect pace, in the most delicate of tones. I fell like he and I were true friends. Sep 06, Felipe Dias added it. This is a great book to get familiarized with Asimov's life and with the scope of his writings.
It is easy to read this book and think Asimov was self involved and full of himself. He was undeniably self involved, but I think justifiably so and only to a point. In this book, Asimov is fair in his judgment of the things he went through. He acknowledges his successes and they were, indeed, plentiful as well as the failures. Also, it is an autobiography after all, which makes sounding self involv This is a great book to get familiarized with Asimov's life and with the scope of his writings.
Also, it is an autobiography after all, which makes sounding self involved practically inevitable. Asimov's writing is funny and engages the reader even when talking about mundane topics. At points, however, the book felt like little more than a collection of causes and dates of the deaths of Asimov's friends. Granted, he did outlive many of his contemporary fellow writers and other professionals in his industry, but it is very hard not to get the feeling he was somewhat obsessed with the death of his colleagues.
I was also surprised with the lack of comments about his son David. Many times throughout the book he speaks of how he's proud of his daughter Robyn and how he could die in comfort because, among his many accomplishments, he raised an amazing daughter again, Robyn. It makes me wonder what happened with David and Asimov's relationship and why it seems like Asimov almost denies the David's existence. Besides that, as I have mentioned, the book is a great guide to the broad spectrum of topics that Asimov wrote on.
I'd recommend this book for people who are big Asimov fans. Unfortunately, though, it probably won't interest anyone else all that much. By the way, I can't believe this book took me more than a year to finish. Only reading it on my phone during quick 10 minute bus rides certainly contributed to the long read time, but still Mar 24, Arun Divakar rated it liked it. This was also the first time that I had read Asimov and quite enjoyed his uncluttered and simple writing style.
A quick glance through my read list also confirmed the presence of Asimov on through almost every other year that I have been a member of this site. Out of sheer habit or interest Yet to figure out which I do pick up Asimov books every now and then. The autobiography to me was a sneak peek into the mind of Asimov and while I did get that here, there was much more that I had not bargained for.
I finished the book with mixed feelings. A lot of interest I had with the book had to do with the topics and authors that Asimov would possibly cover. They were all members of the same group of writers who were regulars at conventions and in most cases started writing around the same time. While the topics did cover them, Asimov does not go into the details of their work or what he thinks of their books.
What I expected was the kind of in depth thoughts on books and what I got was a personal note of mention. There are mentions of various books and yet these are few and far between. What we get instead are a lot of detail on his family, life as he sees it, a string of jobs and a good deal on the writing process. Asimov writes in depth on the art of writing the various forms: The novel, the short story, the essay, non-fiction and on editing anthologies.
This is the best part of the book for the man was an indefatigable writer and the love he has for writing certainly shines through the words. Recommended for the pieces on writing! Oct 01, James rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This one was better than I expected. I made my way through the pages during a recent overseas trip. I was turned off in the initial chapters because Asimov has such an ego.
However, as the pages and personal anecdotes passed, so to did the megalomania for example, the dire need to see his name in print was just appalling. I even grew closer and closer to Isaac, and I couldn't help but pity the poor guy almost like you would a distant relative or a close childhood friend. You just overlook This one was better than I expected. You just overlook the vanity and appreciate his finer points.
The finer characteristics include a sense of integrity and honesty that mere mortals find hard to come by these days. Then midway through, his ago picks up velocity once again. I'm still amazed by his prolifity. How can anyone find the time to not only read and reference the many topics--fiction and non fiction-- he wrote about, but actually fit pen to paper and produce so many words day in and day out.
It was well worth the investment in time. The personal anecdotes, social commentary, reflections on his interactions with other sci fi luminaries, etc.
Nov 18, Thibault Delavaud rated it really liked it. Asimov was very proud of himself of course but he knew perfectly his strentghs and weaknesses. He talks very openly in this book about his success and failures. He analyses his life with lucidity. Reading this book really helps to understand who was the man behind Foundation and the Robot series and most of all, why Asimov was such a science lover and a beliver in progress.
Aug 07, Tina rated it it was amazing. Asimov's dry, matter of fact way of speaking is perfect. He's the ultimate joker, in that he's not quite sure why you're laughing since he is being sincere. I read this before any of his other work, and it led to finding it incredibly easy to hear his voice in his writing, making it all that much more enjoyable. Remember, kids; it's not vanity if it's true. Jul 02, Dawson rated it it was amazing.
If you like Asimov, it behooves you to read his autobiography. Jan 13, Carina rated it it was amazing Shelves: Asimov himself quotes a critic of his as saying this about him.
I, Asimov: A Memoir eBook: Isaac Asimov: licapedu.tk: Loja Kindle
Honestly it is true, and is going to be the truest thing I can say about this book - Asimov was not a modest man, he refers to himself as a child genius multiple times and repeatedly mentions how prolific he was as a writer, and yet there is something about the way he writes that lets you know he isn't bragging when he says that. He's just being honest and upfront he "The man is very immodest, but he has much to be immodest about". He's just being honest and upfront he was part of Mensa so child genius could be apt after all, and writing or being involved with over books certainly makes you prolific.
So yes, one sentence from a critic pretty much sums up my thoughts of this book. Granted there are layers to this - some parts the addition from Janet on page and her epilogue that made me rather tearful in a way, other parts certainly in the latter stages of the book resulted in more morbid thoughts.
In other areas I was smirking, laughing and rolling my eyes. This isn't the first autobiography I have read, but it is the first that feels like what an autobiography is seen to be. It covers the entirety of Asimov's life the others I have read covered aspects only - such as their time during WW2, or in the ambulance service - the other biographies that cover a greater period were written by people who aren't even middle-aged so didn't have the feel of age and time passing that this book does , and not only does it give us an insight into the author, but it tells us about the times he was living in and how those times changed all with his personal slant.
On a personal note I wish he'd mentioned a bit more about his return to the Foundation and Robot series after his hiatus of 30 years but the bits we do get were fascinating. Despite the book covering his entire life it reads almost as if you'd sat down with Asimov and he was reminiscing with you - at no point does reading this become a slog. It was a pleasure to read barring the teeny font that made reading a bit harder at times So often he says something which was true in the 40's and 50's, true when he wrote it down here in the 80's, and is still true now in - and how many authors can we say are that on the ball and remain on the ball for over 70 years??
For example - taken from page No environmental problem can possibly be solved till the population is stabilized and brought under control. Or from page "There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don't come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, for there will be no humanity.
In my review of that book I said that I had learnt that he was a potential Hodophobe, falsely self-deprecating, funny, dirty-minded and quick-witted. This book rounds out his character and tones down the dirty-mindedness - I suppose though Limericks tend towards that so of course that element would be emphasised in a book containing them and be less obvious in an autobiography.
Some anecdotes are repeated across the books but they were generally the better anecdotes so it was quite pleasant reading them again in a different context. Of the two books though I think this is so much better. I can see me reading this book again, probably after I have re-read some of his series of books again at some point, and I get the feeling I'll likely be rating it jut as highly when I do get round to re-reading it - whenever that will be.
If you are a fan of Asimov's writing I cannot recommend this enough especially as it contains a list of all his works at the back for further reading assistance! Y ese parece un buen resumen de su vida: Jul 06, Mohsen M. Apr 18, Gigs Stoyanova rated it it was amazing. I took my time with this book out of respect for the author.
At the beginning there were some doubts that I might get disappointed in my favorite writer, but the more I read, the more I realised how personal and intimate thoughts he shared and felt that he had trust in his readers. He wrote the book in a difficult time and the pages where he sounded a bit negative and pessimistic were in the end all explained. Overall, I am happy I saw alittle bit of Asimov's universe. Jul 13, Steve rated it really liked it. Having read many Asimov books over the years I found it wonderful to learn about this prolific author and what made him tick.
His writing style made a collection of potentially random anecdotes flow together in a very interesting way. As autobiographies go, this was by far the most transparent account I have read. Asimov has no shortage of opinions, and whether or not I agreed with him did not affect my enjoyment of the book. The sections were he talked about the early days of science fictio Having read many Asimov books over the years I found it wonderful to learn about this prolific author and what made him tick.
The sections were he talked about the early days of science fiction and the various authors were especially interesting. Jun 24, ABC rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is a real bargain if you consider that Isaac Asimov commanded thousands of dollars for a forty minute speech. It ends on a touching note and it made me cry. It is all the more poignant because in addition to his other health problems, he contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion but kept it a secret. You can google for more info.
It is a very long book and I read it over a long period of time. Each chapter is like a little essay, so it doesn't really have to be read at once. It does go This book is a real bargain if you consider that Isaac Asimov commanded thousands of dollars for a forty minute speech. It does go on a little too long about the publishing world and his health problems, but in general it was very good.
My biggest thought from this book: At the beginning he talks lovingly of his daughter Robyn and mentions he has a son. He had his son tested and his IQ is normal. However, his son is such that he can't be employed, but it is okay with Asimov because fortunately he has the money to support his son. It turns out that in the 90's after Asimov's death, I think the son was found to have the largest stash of child pornography in California. So it is a sad story. I wish Asimov would have talked more about his son. It is painfully obvious his daughter is dear to him, but his son is not.
I can't help but wonder: Did Asimov ignore his son because of his son's problems? Or did his son have problems because his father ignored him? Sep 26, Kristy rated it really liked it. Interesting at first, hilarious as he exposes his own arrogance cheerfully while at the same time mentioning every person in his life who has meant something to him, and, finally, boring.
He freely admits his own favorite subject is himself, in great detail, and by the end of the pages, I was tired of the subject. I learned a lot of interest, though, especially about the heyday of the science fiction and fantasy magazines that sprouted when he was beginning his career.
I learned how prolific Interesting at first, hilarious as he exposes his own arrogance cheerfully while at the same time mentioning every person in his life who has meant something to him, and, finally, boring. I learned how prolific he was, and it was incredible. The end becomes poignant as he straightforwardly faces his suffering health. To die at 69 would have been, in his word, "unacceptable," where 70 would cross the line and become a respectable age to die. He looks forward to continuing his activities and work. Then the reader sees on the back cover that he died within two years of that writing at age His wife's epilogue is touching as well.
Nov 18, Geoffrey rated it really liked it Shelves: I thoroughly enjoyed this book about Asimov's life. Since reading this, I have started reading other biographies and autobiographies of science fiction writers. Asimov's books on science and astronomy were among the elements that inspired me to become a scientist, so I owe Asimov a big debt.
Furthermore, I find myself drawn to reread his Foundation series and Robots series on a regular basis. Somethings about his writing annoy me, but I keep coming back because there is a compelling vision there I thoroughly enjoyed this book about Asimov's life. Somethings about his writing annoy me, but I keep coming back because there is a compelling vision there. This book helped me understand more where this all came from Feb 02, Jim Razinha rated it really liked it. Asimov certainly had no lack of self confidence but was quick to point out his own shortcomings.
Asimov is a fitting retrospective of a singular life and career. This is the third volume of formal autobiography from Asimov, as opposed to books with a heavy autobiographical component like Opus or The Early Asimov. Rather, Asimov has come up with topics and written a few pages about each. The net effect is an interesting and involving overview of a remarkable life—not of the story of that life, but of the life itself, seen near its end.
There is a melancholic air about the book, written as it was when Asimov knew death was not far away and unpublished until a year after he died. That melancholia, however, is tempered with a deep sense of happiness and satisfaction with a life well-lived.
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As with the earlier autobiographies, Asimov is frank about his own faults. He writes, however, without recrimination or rancor, accepting them for what they were. The book has some weaknesses. The list of books in the back is complete through May when the original MS was completed but very spotty for anything published after that.
These, however, are minor nits. The book is marvelous and left me with a deepened respect for the man to whose writings I have devoted so much of my own life.