Cover of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Story-a-Month™ 1989 Calendar
Book 396 Miscellaneous 1988
Azazel Ghosts
1 spaceship-and-sun
Asimov fan
2 spaceships-and-suns
Target reader

This is among the rarest items of Asimovina—only Robots from Asimov’s is comparable in rarity. It’s the only book by Asimov of which I have never seen a physical copy, but through the good offices of Ed Seiler (thanks, Ed!), I have a photocopy, and I’ll almost certainly have to be content with that to my daying day. As the title suggests, it’s a calendar with a short short story for each month. Given it’s rarity, I’ll list the stories:

January: “The Nature of the Place” by Robert Silverberg (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

February: “The Voice in the Garden” by Harlan Ellison (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

March: “Mistake” by Larry Niven (also found in One Hundred Great Science Fiction Short-short Stories)

April: “Zoo” by Edward D. Hoch (also found in One Hundred Great Science Fiction Short-short Stories)

May: “The King of Beasts” by Philip José Farmer (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

June: “Earthbound” by Lester del Rey (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

July: “That Strain Again” by Charles Sheffield (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

August: “The Last Wizard” by Avram Davidson

September: “Dog Star” by Mack Reynolds (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

October: “The Final Battle” by Harry Harrison (also found in Microcosmic Tales)

November: “The Tower Bird” by Jane Yolen

December: “A Loint of Paw” by Isaac Asimov (also found in One Hundred Great Science Fiction Short-short Stories)

With the exception of “The Last Wizard” and “The Tower Bird,” all of these stories are otherwise anthologized by Asimov, all in either One Hundred Great Science Fiction Short-short Stories or Microcosmic Tales (several of them elsewhere, as well), and so there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the content of this calendar. Indeed, as is an occupational hazard with the entire short-short form, a lot of the stories are utterly unremarkable or don’t stand up well to repeated rereadings.

But there is something really nice about the calendar, in that each story is accompanied by a photograph of the author. Asimov, of course, I’ve seen innumerable times in picture, as well as Ellison. Niven I actually met once and of Silverberg I’ve seen a photo or two. The other eight, however, have visages that were utterly unfamiliar to me, and it was nice in the days before Wikipedia and blogs to finally get a chance to see what some of them really looked like. The calendar is worthwhile for that alone.

And if you’ve got a copy, you’ll get a very nice price for it on eBay.

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