A master on his art

What was it like being one of the few struggling science fiction writers in the 30’s? Who wrote the first true science fiction? What’s the difference between sf and sci-fi? Who, more than anyone else, changed and developed science fiction? Why should you reread 1984? Who should be considered the Dean of Science Fiction?

From Frankenstein to Heinlein to “Star Trek,” Isaac Asimov knows everybody and everything in science fiction. And now he reveals the thoughts of a lifetime on the subject: from sf conventions to “Close Encounters,” from writers to readers, from personalities to predictions of the future. Here are critiques, tips, anecdotes, information, and observations of every kind—a treasure trove for sf fans.

“One of the princes of science fiction…invaluable reading.” Asbury Park Press

“Irresistible because the man who wrote this is invariably provocative…the standard science fiction reference work for a great many years to come.” Baltimore News

“Forthright…crisp and witty…the topics he knows so well.” Library Journal

This is a collection of Asimov’s various essays on science fiction (surprise!) written of a period of twenty-five years or thereabouts. The essays come from various sources, too, including F&SF and Asimov’s editorials in Isaac Asimov’s Magazine of Science Fiction, and so it suffers from all the defects of his non-F&SF collections: varied lengths, varied styles, varied audiences, the same topic covered more than once, and so on. It is for this reason that I would like to lower its ranking. It is, however, an excellent and convenient source for Asimov’s ideas regarding the fictional genre which was always his literary home, and so it definitely is a book that anybody interested in Asimov as a science fiction writer should have on their shelf, and I therefore rank it highly even though it is not among my favorite books by the Good Doctor.

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