Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Review of "Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction," by Michael White

Review of

Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction, by Michael White ISBN 0786715189

Five out of five stars

An independent perspective on the life of Asimov

 I have read at least 150 of the books written by Isaac Asimov (467 total), including his two-part autobiography “In Memory Yet Green” and “In Joy Still Felt” as well as the single volume “I. Asimov.” Furthermore, Asimov often included snippets about his life and experiences in many of the other items he wrote. Therefore, there was little in this book that I had not read before, in some cases several times.

 However, it was an enjoyable read because in this case there is the perspective of a person not closely tied to Asimov. For example, White is candid about Asimov’s relationship with his son David and that Asimov may have been more comfortable with the distance there was in their relationship. This is one case where the son could not have been more distant from the father. According to White, David did not attend his father’s funeral. David is unemployed, living off what he receives from a trust fund established by Asimov, while his father was a workaholic writer.

 Asimov was a towering intellect and arguably did more to get people interested in and knowledgeable of science than any other person. He was obsessed with writing to the point of neglecting almost everything else, a fact that Asimov never hesitated to admit. All life is a trade off of one thing for another. Asimov was a writer first and all else secondary. This book gives the reader a glance at what he was from the perspective of an outsider free to objectively comment on an action or event.

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