It's Been a Good Life, by Isaac Asimov

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It's Been a Good Life, by Isaac Asimov

Postby Omphalos » Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:07 pm

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Isaac Asimov has been dead since April, 1992, but I still have a weird relationship with his ghost. I typically have a low opinion of his writing. I think that a lot of his story concepts were good enough, but as I sit here and think back on the Asimov stories that I have read in the past, I remember them being quite stilted, very dry and way too damn polite. I honestly do not see how he could have ever been elevated to the level of Heinlein and Clarke. But I tell you what: I'll be damned if I can put many of his books down once I have actually started them. My wife, who is not a SF fan at all, has told me that she can always tell when I am reading an Asimov book, because I will moan and groan as I leaf through the pages, but I won’t acknowledge her when she calls my name out because I am so engrossed. So why have I read Foundation so many times over the years? Probably because I love it. But I hate it too, so go figure...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Postby inhuien » Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:23 pm

Thanks for posting that Omphalos, I never knew what killed him. Quite sad really but to paraphrase yourgoodself at least he had a good time while he was here.
Look, I'm not much good at big speeches, and I know I haven't always been an easy guy to get on with, and I know, that given the choice, I wouldn't have chosen you as friends, but I just want to say, that over the years, I have come to regard you as people I met.

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Postby Freakzilla » Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:41 pm

I like Asimov. His ideas are grand but his writing doesn't pretend to be and is easy for me to read. I dissagree with you on his level with the masters of the genre, I think the Robot and Foundation series are such classics that you have to give it to him, not to mention his library of academic contributions.
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Postby Omphalos » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:19 pm

That's what is so cool about Asimov. Everyone acknowledges his shortfalls, but most think he was a master. Not all though. I personally think that Asimov is a perfect example of enthusiasm making up for other problems. SF is full of authors like that, and Asimov may be one of the more sophisticated ones, but I still think he has his problems.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Postby GamePlayer » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:11 pm

Asimov is a sterling example of creativity making up for skill. He stands as a testament that as long as you are creative and at least possess enough skill to tell an entertaining story coherently, readers will forgive your short comings as a master wordsmith. A competently told story with a strong creative vision will almost always surpass a masterfully written tale that is all style and no substance. Asimov told stories of substance with very creative ideas, yet his books were entertaining despite the simple structures and uninspired language. I love I, Robot and I feel that many of his stories have yet to be succeeded.

As an aside, this is how the best independent films succeed on tiny budgets created by less that accomplished filmmakers. Success also becomes that much more impressive to the audience, when they have come to expect less from such independent productions.
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Postby SandChigger » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:27 pm

"...Asimov was a competent, capable man, who doubted his abilities not in the least, and who loved what he did for a living. He surrounded himself with peers who could live up to his own high standards, and who loved him back."

A little comparison in here with someone we all know and loathe? ;)
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Postby Omphalos » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:34 pm

GamePlayer wrote:Asimov is a sterling example of creativity making up for skill. He stands as a testament that as long as you are creative and at least possess enough skill to tell an entertaining story coherently, readers will forgive your short comings as a master wordsmith. A competently told story with a strong creative vision will almost always surpass a masterfully written tale that is all style and no substance. Asimov told stories of substance with very creative ideas, yet his books were entertaining despite the simple structures and uninspired language. I love I, Robot and I feel that many of his stories have yet to be succeeded.

As an aside, this is how the best independent films succeed on tiny budgets created by less that accomplished filmmakers. Success also becomes that much more impressive to the audience, when they have come to expect less from such independent productions.


I would say that a great portion of Asimov's "creativity" actually came from John W. Campbell. Asimov figured out the detail frequently, but Campbell came up with the big ideas, then made Asimov change a lot of details to suit him. Not saying Asimov is not creative, but I think its a misconception that he was extremely creative on his own.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Postby Omphalos » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:37 pm

SandChigger wrote:"...Asimov was a competent, capable man, who doubted his abilities not in the least, and who loved what he did for a living. He surrounded himself with peers who could live up to his own high standards, and who loved him back."

A little comparison in here with someone we all know and loathe? ;)


Sometimes it works...Sometimes it don't. But at least Asimov surrounded himself with people like Brin, Ellison, Campbell, Del Rey, and others. A certain someone has BH, Bryon Web Druid and TAZ, so you tell me where the comparison really is, OK? :wink:
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Postby Rakis » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:48 pm

Foundation will be my next read as soon as newborn sleeps more during the night... :wink:
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Postby Omphalos » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:01 am

Rakis wrote:Foundation will be my next read as soon as newborn sleeps more during the night... :wink:


How is all that going? This is your first, right? I remember the changes in my kids occurred almost daily after the first few months. I know you are in your first few weeks. Does the kid like to sleep, or get up five times at night?
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Postby Rakis » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:17 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Rakis wrote:Foundation will be my next read as soon as newborn sleeps more during the night... :wink:


How is all that going? This is your first, right? I remember the changes in my kids occurred almost daily after the first few months. I know you are in your first few weeks. Does the kid like to sleep, or get up five times at night?


Second child. I have a 3 1/2 years old daughter. My boy has digestive problems with the milk, we just switch brand because of that, so he slept 2-3 hours, eat, got sick,slept one hour, eat, got sick,etc...for the past 4 days. I'm practically posting while feeding him the bottle... :)
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