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Isaac Asimov Biography 1920 - 1992

Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov 1920 - 1992

Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born American Jewish science fiction writer, as well as professor of biochemistry, the author of over 500 books, many of which were highly-popular and entertaining. He was born in Petrovichi, Smolensk Oblast, Russia (RSFSR, at the time) around or on January 2, 1920.

His parents Judah Asimov and Anna Rachel Berman Asimov were Jewish millers. They migrated to Brooklyn, United States in 1923 when Isaac was three years old. Asimov's exact birth date is uncertain because of the difference between the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars and lack of records.

His family also owned several candy stores. His parents only spoke English and Yiddish with him so he never learned the Russian language. Instead, he taught himself to read English when he was five years old. Asimov was a claustrophile, he enjoyed small, enclosed spaces. One of his childhood desires were to own a magazine stand in a New York City subway station, where he could enclose himself and listen to the rumble of passing trains while reading.

Asimov developed his interest in science fiction from early age. In 1929, when he was nine years old, he browsed science fiction pulp magazines (these were inexpensive fiction magazines) that were sold in his family's confectionery stores. These magazines were often simply called "pulp fiction".

At 11, he began to write his own stories that he would submit and sell to science fiction fandom (or SF fandom), which was represented by a community of people actively interested in science fiction and fantasy literature. People within the community simply called it "fandom". Later on Isaac Asimov became a friend of John W. Campbell, who was at the time the editor of Astounding Science Fiction (a popular American sci-fi magazine).

Asimov attended New York City Public Schools, including Boys' High School, in Brooklyn, New York. After he received his High School Diploma, he continued his education at Columbia University, graduating in 1939, and to which he later returned to earn Ph.D. in biochemistry in year 1948. His achievement in education can be summed up in 14 honorary doctorate degrees from different universities. After completing his doctorate in 1958 Asimov became a full-time writer.

1942 was an important year for Asimov. It was the year of his first marriage, and also the beginning to what would eventually become the "Foundation Trilogy", one of his most famous works. Asimov and his first wife Gertrude Blugerman had two children. David Asimov was born in 1951 and daughter Robyn Joan, who was born in 1955. Unfortunately his first marriage comes to a halt, and a year after his divorce with Gertrude in 1973, he remarried to Janet Jeppson.

"The Foundation Series" contained the three works: Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953). The Foundation Series, which was written over 44 years, is recognized as a substantial achievement in science fiction literature. The early stories were partly inspired by The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.

Even though critics claimed there are inconsistencies with numerous sequels and prequels to the stories, with this work Asimov has had the biggest cultural impact on the world of science fiction. He even beat J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of The Rings" when he received a special Hugo Award for The Foundation Series, which received the title of "Best All-Time Series".

His mature character is that of a humanist and rationalist. He did not oppose religious conviction in others, but he frequently railed against superstitious and pseudo-scientific beliefs that tried to pass themselves off as genuine science. In his last autobiography Isaac Asimov writes, "If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who whould choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. To Asimov, Hell is "the drooling dream of a sadist".

Throughout his writing career, Asimov has received numerous awards. Isaac Asimov was privileged to be listed in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

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