So… I was talking with a friend two weeks ago about my feeble (and mostly failed) attempts to write science fiction stories. I was going on and on and about how I had been reading and re-reading a lot of old and new science fiction including the works of Connie Willis, Poul Anderson, Rober Heinlein and the old collection of Hugo-award winning sci-fi short stories (ingeniously called The Hugo winners) which used to be compiled into an anthology and edited by the grand master of the genre… Isaac Asimov, searching for inspiration.
And then she asked me a question that sent tremors through my universe. “who is Isaac Asimov?”.
I can tell you without any hyperbole whatsoever… Yours truly almost died of shock. How could anyone not know who the great Issac Asimov was? Hian! No! My own personal homie Isaac Asimizzy?! Fo sheezy? Nay!
I shed silent, manly tears of pain and sorrow.
Anyway, after reconstructing the fabric of my collapsed universe, I directed her to Google where information on Isaac Asimov – who is quite possibly the greatest Scientific Author cum All-round general bad-guy to have ever walked the surface of earth – could be found.
For those of you who cannot be bothered to Google the millions and millions of pieces of information on this amazing fellow, I have only have 3 things to say (write) to you:
1) Shame on you. Huge buckets of steaming, piping hot Shame be upon thee.
2) I have saved you the trouble of searching by distilling the epicness that is Signor Isaac into this one slightly-not-so-epic post (just as I did with the Magnificently amazing and volumetrically insane Nikola Tesla), spiced with foul language and hit-and-miss-humor (Because lets face it, everything is a little bit funnier with foul language. Isn’t that right, Chris Rock?).
My. Point. Exactly.
3) Read on and be impressed. (Or not, I mean, come on, everybody cant possibly know about this one guy, right? And even if you know, you may just not be impressed by his particular brand of Awesomeness, still… sha read. You have already used up your internet data allocation to open this post, you might as well finish what you started right? You know what they say about quitters not being winners and whatnot)
Isaac Asimov whose original name was Isaak Yudovich Ozimov (Go on, tell me that is not the name of a bad guy. Can you even pronouce it without your tongue suffering a tissue hemorrhage? No? Didn’t think so.) was born sometime between October 4, 1919 and January 2, 1920. Nobody knows his actual date of birth and scientists have conjectured that he was the last of an alien race that crashlanded in Russia after his planet exploded… Oh.. wait… that’s a bit like Super…errr.. nevermind.
He was an American author (which basically is the equivalent of saying that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a lizard). Essentially, he is the only writer since God gave his clay staute of Adam CPR, to have been published in every major category of the Dewey Decimal book recording System. He was one of the greatest and most prolific writers of all time! The guy wrote/edited/contributed to more than 600 books and an estimated 90,000 short stories/letters and postcards (Eat your heart out, Billy Shakespeare).
I’m sorry, did I give you an impression that he was only an author? Just a writer? I’m sorry, let me correct that little tidbit of unintentional fuckery. PROFESSOR Isaac Asimov was a professor of biochemistry, Vice President of Mensa International – the association of people whose IQ’s are above the 98th percentile (approximately 149) – basically, yeah, its the association of people that are smart enough to take over the world during their lunch break and get back in time to finish work. The kind of people you generally need Superman or the Avengers to help you keep in check. Yes, he was their Vice-president. He was also president of the American Humanist Association and he has an asteroid and a crater on Mars named in his honor. Go on, tell me… What have you done with your life lately? What do you have named after you?
Like a benevolent, yet slightly too-cool-for school-bad-ass, he wrote a lot of philosophy, theology and non-fiction material, especially essays and books explaining science and mathematics (to like, you know, retards that couldn’t understand that shit from the prescribed textbooks the first time around). Examples include Asimov’s Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery, as well as works on Astronomy, Mathematics, An explanation of the Bible, William Shakespeare’s writing and Chemistry. But he was perhaps best known for his science fiction stories– his three laws of robotics – a term which he invented by the way, his robot detective novels (which are the basis for that semi-shitty Will smith movie, I , robot) , and his Foundation series – which has been hailed as the best Sci-fi series of all time. His short story ‘Nightfall’ was also voted the best sci-fi short story of all -time. Basically, sci-fi was his hood. Words were his bitches. And he was the greatest pimp to ever raise his hand to the bitches in that hood. And oh, yes… he also wrote murder mysteries, books of limericks, science essays, postcards… A lot of them. In fact, Asimov published over 500 books, all of them awesome.
At this point, I would like to mention that Asimov did not see the inside of a school till he was 6 years old but he taught himself to read at the age of 5. Yes, he taught himself how to read. Like. A. Motherfucking. Boss.
By his own account and that of his publishers, he also didn’t really revise any of his works. Which means that the stuff you read is pretty well what Asimov formulated first off in his head. His books are incredibly well-written, which implies that he had the whole structure of what he was doing in his head – and then wrote it down. Easily and with a steady flow. Every. Bloody. Time. And. In. Every. Bloody. Genre.
Some people once criticized him for having ‘no’ style, for using simple or ‘bland’ or pedestrian phrasing and for overusing dry-humor in his work. But actually he had a very distinct and specific style, If you have ever read Asimov’s work, you would bloody well know it. the critics were probably just used to reading emo Twilight poppycock and Harry Potter hogwash. Anyway… as he explained it once:
‘I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and as for the professional critics—Well, they can do whatever they wish.’
Hahahaha! Bad guy! See casting…
Allow me to translate for those of you that don’t know how to read between the lines or detect faint traces of sarcasm. What Isaac was saying in essence is:
“Fuck what you think, lil’ bitches. I’m too busy spreading knowledge and enjoying myself to be bothered by small bullshit like layering or symbolism in my writing. If I wanted to be all emo and shit, I could, but I don’t give a flying fuck. I just want you idiots to feel comfortable enough to understand what the fuck I’m telling you. Besides, didn’t you read the previous paragraph? I don’t revise my shit. And for you haters, – take a flying fuck – is exactly what you should do… off a cliff… but as I stated earlier, I do not give those out so kindly remove your intellectual carcass from my sight, I have books to write.”
Forgetting what the ignorant critics said, his style was sheer genius. Simple and effective. And it worked. Everything he wrote is so easy to read that it captures the reader effortlessly. In any field. Even his history books are fascinating to read. And Lord knows how difficult it is to make History interesting.
Besides, all this gives more credence to my theory that he was simply an inter-dimensional, time-traveling, intergalactic monk, spreading knowledge to the dark parts of the universe… like your brain.
After more-or-less singlehandedly inventing the modern sci-fi genre, collecting 14 honorary doctorate degrees, working as a part-time comedian and editor and winning half of the known literary awards in existence, Asimov finally allowed himself to die in New York City on April 6, 1992. He had initially suffered a heart attack in 1977 but he shrugged that off saying to Death… and I quote: “Meh!”.
However, he required a triple bypass surgery and the incompetent tortoises at the hospital used infected blood during the procedure. Yes that’s right, they gave my homie HIV. Bloody incompetent team of astronomically dense fucktards. Anyway, like the bad-ass he was, he kept the disease at bay for 15 years, basically telling death to “go fuck himself” on a daily basis until he was done writing his books. And then he left our planet to seek out other lifeforms that needed his expertise.
Isaac Asimov was one of those rare multi-talented-super-awesome-genius-bad-asses who could basically do whatever the hell he wanted and be damn good at it too. He was a Novelist, teacher, researcher, comedian, inventor, humanist, historian, professor, textbook author, soldier and humorist. While he may not rank in the intellectual/bad-ass leagues of Tesla, Einstein and Hawking, he was everything I admire in a human being – multi-faceted, imaginative, funny, rocking sweet-ass sideburns and most importantly – goddamn bloody awesome.