Friday, April 6, 2012

20 Years Ago Today Isaac Asimov Died

Isaac Asimov died 20 years ago today. I thought I'd throw up this interview he did on Fresh Air with Terri Gross (she sounds so young!) back in 1987.

You might know him as the most famous nerd of all time, but he was also a writer/editor of some 500 books. That's right: 500. And where did he find the time to write 500 books? Well, if you've ever read any of them I'm sure you noticed they're a bit... dry. Let's just say there are aspects of storytelling that he just didn't bother himself with. Such as character, dialog, pacing, style. Well, actually 'no style' was his style. Still, he had wonder and insight. Come on, you know it's true. He even admits as much in the interview below. Little known fact: Asimov died of AIDS.

So much of the industry has changed, and yet, so much of it is the same. The biggest difference is that people aren't as receptive to boiled down pulp. Nowadays all the editors are looking for character, depth, emotional center. This is a good thing. But they haven't raised the pay! They want more for the same price they've been paying for 20 years +. And with inflation that's really more for less. Anyhow, this is about Asimov, not the industry.

It's hard to really encapsulate how much we lost with his death from AIDS. Not just a genius humanist, but also an opportunity to look at the human cost of the AIDS epidemic and the embarrassment over the public reaction to Arthur Ashe and Anti-AIDS prejudice. Back then AIDS=Gay and Gay=Evil, when in reality AIDS=Human and Human=all us mortals.

Lots of people remember Old Asimov:

Kinda creepy, goes to lots of Cons.

But let's not forget Young Asimov:

Kinda hunky. I bet he had some moves.

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