I thought I’d try a bit of experimenting with my blog. So I linked to an article that picked my interest, using Press This and hereby I share with you quotes from one of my favourite authors. In picture form.
I found the article thanks to a tweet by the @. Mentioning Isaac Asimov is sure to attract my attention, even though I only discovered his works about 4 years ago. (Well, I had been oblivious to many a cool thing until four-five years back.) Apart from being a prolific writer, Asimov was a humanist, a liberal, argued in favour of women’s rights and gay rights. In an interview with Bill Moyers in 1988 he suggested a system of learning which would involve computers hooked up to large libraries where people could find information on any topic they wanted. Sounds familiar?
In the above article, Charles Chu breaks down Asimov incredible productivity into six points. My most favourite is the first one:
Never stop learning
I couldn’t possibly write the variety of books I manage to do out of the knowledge I had gained in school alone. I had to keep a program of self-education in process. My library of reference books grew and I found I had to sweat over them in my constant fear that I might misunderstand a point that to someone knowledgeable in the subject would be a ludicrously simple one.
I agree with this so much. I’m a college dropout but learning and knowledge have always been important to me. I like to know stuff. When I was younger, it was mostly humanities, especially history. I’d learned about atoms, protons, electrons and neutrons from a children’s encyclopedia way before we started physics classes at school, but I regret to say that the school system at home killed any interest in science I could have developed. It is what it is.
The following quote describes Isaac’s approach perfectly:
An astronomer is only an astronomer and his vision is naturally limited. I am a science fiction writer and more is expected of me.
It’s from an introduction of his short story collection Robot Dreams, where he basically calls himself stupid for getting it wrong about the rings of Saturn.
To be sure, no astronomer saw the truth about the rings in 1952, but what of that? An astronomer is only an astronomer and his vision is naturally limited. I am a science fiction writer and more is expected of me.
The story in question is The Martian Way–probably my most favourite in this collection and one of my most favourite ever. It just.. blew my mind how relevant it is today!
The remaining five points are also worth checking out, not just for writers but artists in general.
Before Star Trek’s Data, there was R. Daneel Olivaw
In fact I imagine Daneel Olivaw looking like Data, except with red hair.
The following is a speech by Elijah Baley to Daneel in the novel Caves of Steel:
Ah yes, the Medievalists. Nostalgic optimism sufferers, as my brother calls them. The good old days. *Eyeroll* Flushing toilet was once a new invention, you know.
The robot stories were my introduction to Asimov and they’re absolute gems, a joy to read. A quote by a recurring character, the amazing robopsychologist Susan Calvin, from the short story Evidence:
I like robots. I like them considerably better than I do human beings.
I get you, girlfriend.
Probably his famous work, which I will not pretend to have read past the first book. And even that I got to know via audiobook (does that count as reading, I wonder?) I liked it so much I bought the trilogy on hardback, as the series is not available on Kindle. Makes no sense to me, considering the aforementioned interview. Anyway, I give you a piece of wisdom from Salvor Hardin:
Someone definitely needs to give the publisher a big kick to make them release the series digitally. I do like my hardback edition though.