For fifty years Isaac Asimov has been at the forefront of science fiction, leading the way from its infant days in small specialty magazines to its current place as a major force in literature. Now America’s most prolific author shares the wealth of his vast experience with aspiring science fiction writers as well as fans of the genre in which he reigns supreme. In ASIMOV’S GALAXY, a compilation of 66 thought-provoking essays, Isaac Asimov gives us his unique perspective and ideas on everyday life far beyond our imagination. He explains how profoundly science fiction has influenced our lives—how onetime fantasies of science fiction works, such as humans walking on the moon and household robots, having become modern-day realities. Covering topics from magic to symbolism, from time travel to the science fiction writer’s “plight,” ASIMOV’S GALAXY is indispensable to all science fiction lovers and would-be Asimovs. It provides a rare look at the fascinating world that is science fiction, as well as a unique glimpse of Isaac Asimov, the writer and the man.
This is an anthology of Asimov’s editorials for Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. It therefore has a certain uniformity of style and audience which Asimov on Science Fiction lacks, but, on the other hand, the individual items tend to be less interesting. Often they deal with subjects germane only to the magazine itself (such as its editorial policy), but—and this is the real blow against it—they often are instances when Asimov is just blowing off steam.
He was, after all, pestered by fans throughout his life who made unreasonable demands on him (and yes, I’m one of the guilty parties). By and large, he tried to deal patiently with us, but towards the end of his life, when age was catching up and he had spent a lifetime battling the constant peck-peck of the pesterers, he just had to vent his frustrations. I can’t blame him for that, but as one who (innocently enough) presumed upon his time in my younger years, I cannot help but feel guilty as I read some of the final sections of the book. This, I think, is the major problem that detracts from my own reading experience, and therefore do I rate it not as highly as I otherwise might.