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Encyclopedia Galactica

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992AD)
(-33,753 - -33,681GE)
(-45,821 - -45,749FE)

Isaac AsimovIsaac Asimov was born in Russia, near Smolensk, and taken to the United States by his parents when he was just three years old.  He grew up in Brooklyn where he gained his citizen papers five years later.  He finished High School at the age of sixteen and his father's desire for him to enter the medical profession led Isaac to join Columbia University in order to become a chemist.

He graduated in chemistry, had a brief spell in the Army, gained his doctorate and qualified as an instructor in biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine.  He became Associate Professor in 1955, doing research in nucleic acid.  His writing aspirations, however, led him to retire in 1958, and become a full-time author.

Isaac's writing career began way back in 1939 when he had his first short story published in Amazing Stories.  The story, although not the first one he wrote, was Marooned Off Vesta.  He became a regular contributor, thereafter, to the major magazines of the day; Amazing Stories, Astounding, Astonishing Stories, Super Science Stories and Galaxy.

Many of the novels and short stories written by Isaac began to tell the future history of mankind over a period of time spanning nearly 50,000 years.   These stories can be broken down into

Of the "history", Isaac wrote, in the Winter 1955 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories: "It's not the beautiful job that [Robert] Heinlein did, but was actually made up ad hoc.  My cross-references in the novels are thrown in as they occur to me and did not come from a systemized history.

"The fact that I reach 48,000 A.D. may be surprising - it surprised me! I had never thought of the actual dates of my stories and now that I come to write them down, I find that I haven't been so far flung as I thought. If some reader checks my stories carefully and finds that my dating is internally inconsistent, I can only say that I am not surprised."

After being a reader carefully checking his stories I find that there are inconsistencies but many are so trivial they can be ignored without spoiling the history.  In fact, given the statement above, it's truly amazing and testament to Isaac's phenomenal memory and penchant for 'explaining from the beginning', that the history hangs together so well.

Copyright 1997-9  Mike Carlin Last Modified: