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Isaac Asimov 1920–

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(Also wrote under the pseudonym of Paul French) Russianborn American novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, essayist, editor, and autobiographer.

Asimov is a prolific writer and is regraded by many critics as the most important and influential author in the science fiction genre. His novels have done much to make science fiction a critically accepted field, and his laws of robotics and the factual information in many of his stories have earned him the respect of laypersons and scientists alike. In his fiction there is an underlying concern for humanity and its survival in the face of advancing technology. His stories often deal with such contemporary social problems as overpopulation, the threat of atomic warfare, or racial prejudice.

Asimov's stories first appeared in the science fiction magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, and most have now been published in such collections as I, Robot, Asimov's Mysteries, and The Bicentennial Man. He is credited as the first writer to integrate successfully the properties of science fiction with those of the detective novel. The Caves of Steel and its sequel, The Naked Sun, are successful works of this type. Asimov's long-awaited sequel to the Foundation trilogy, Foundation's Edge, has recently been published. Like most of his fiction, it is readable, entertaining, and intellectually stimulating. His Foundation trilogy won the Hugo award for best all-time series in 1966 and his novel The Gods Themselves won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1972.

Asimov also writes nonfiction science books to introduce the general public to complex scientific procedures and discoveries and to alert readers to the effects of these scientific advancements.

(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 3, 9, 19; Children's Literature Review, Vol. 5; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 2; Something about the Author, Vols. 1, 26; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 8.)

Nancie Matthews

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["I, Robot"] is an exciting science thriller, chiefly about what occurs when delicately conditioned robots are driven off balance by mathematical violations, and about man's eternal limitations. It could be fun for those whose nerves are not already made raw by the potentialities of the atomic age.

Nancie Matthews, "When Machines Go Mad," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1951 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), February 4, 1951, p. 6.

Ellen Lewis Buell

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[In "David Starr: Space Ranger," a] tale of the seventieth century, Paul French ingeniously combines mystery with science fiction. His inventiveness and his use of picturesque details remind one of Robert Heinlein's books and, though his characters are not so fully developed as are Heinlein's, they are for the most part more individualized than in the usual story of this kind. There are moments, to be sure, when David Starr suggests the comic-strip hero, but he is convincing enough for the purposes of the story.

Ellen Lewis Buell, "Martian Mystery." in The New York Times Book Review (© 1952 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), February 17, 1952, p. 34.

Villiers Gerson

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["Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus"] is Paul French's best juvenile science fiction book to date. Crackling with suspense, lit by humor, sparkling with complexities of plot, and alive with interest, it is a tasty deep-sea dish for every reader who is young at heart.

The great underwater cities which harbor Earth's settlers on Venus are threatened with destruction by a hidden enemy who can control men's minds. Lucky Starr, youngest member of Earth's Council of Science, hurries to Venus with his friend, "Bigman" Jones, to discover why the Council's agent on Venus has turned traitor. Following a trail which grows increasingly...

(The entire section contains 33425 words.)

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