A Guide to Isaac Asimov's Essays
On August 1, 1941, when I was a lad of twenty-one, I was a graduate student in chemistry at Columbia University and had been writing science fiction professionally for three years. I was hastening to see John Campbell, editor of Astounding, to whom I had sold five stories by then. I was anxious to tell him of a new idea I had for a science fiction story.
It was to write a historical novel of the future; to tell the story of the fall of the Galactic Empire. My enthusiasm must have been catching, for Campbell grew as excited as I was. He didn't want me to write a single story. He wanted a series of stories, in which the full history of of the thousand years of turmoil between the First Galactic Empire and the rise of the Second Galactic Empire was to be outlined. It would all be illuminated by the science of psychohistory that Campbell and I thrashed out between us.
The first story appeared in the May 1942 Astounding and the second story appeared in the June 1942 issue. They were at once popular and Campbell saw to it that I wrote six more stories before the end of the decade. The stories grew longer too. The first one was only twelve thousand words long. Two of the last three stories were fifty thousand words apiece.
By the time the decade was over, I had grown tired of the series, dropped it, and went on to other things. By then, however, various publishing houses were beginning to put out hardcover science fiction books. One such house was a small semiprofessional firm, Gnome Press. They published my Foundation Series in three volumes: Foundation (1951); Foundation and Empire (1952); and Second Foundation (1953). The three books together came to be known as The Foundation Trilogy.
The books did not do very well, for Gnome Press did not have the capital with which to advertise and promote them. I got neither statements nor royalties from them.
In early 1961, my then-editor at Doubleday, Timothy Seldes, told me he had received a request from a foreign publisher to reprint the Foundation books. Since they were not Doubleday books, he passed the request on to me. I shrugged my shoulders. "Not interested, Tim. I don't get royalties on those books"
Seldes was horrified, and instantly set about getting the rights to the books from Gnome Press (which was, by that time, moribund), and in August of that year, the books (along with "I, Robot") became Doubleday property.
From that moment on, the Foundation series took off and began to earn increasing royalties. Doubleday published the Trilogy in a single volume and distributed them through the Science Fiction Book Club. Because of that the Foundation series became enormously well known.
In the 1966 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Cleveland, the fans were asked to vote on a category of "The Best All-Time Series". It was the first time (and, so far, the last) the category had been included in the nominations for the Hugo Award. The Foundation Trilogy won the award, which further added to the popularity of the series.
Increasingly, fans kept asking me to continue the series. I was polite but I kept refusing. Still, it fascinated me that people who had not been born when the series was begun had managed to become caught up in it.
Doubleday, however, took the demands far more seriously that I did. They had humored me for twenty years but as demands kept growing in intensity and number, they finally lost patience. In 1981, they told me that I simply had to write another Foundation novel and, in order to sugar-coat the demand, offered me a contract at ten times my usual advance.
I, Asimov - Isaac Asimov (Olson) - NESFA Press
Encyclopedia Asimova: Asimov and the Science Essay
In said paper, John Searle sought, or should I say, seeks, to dispute the claim that artificial intelligence in the form of computers and programs do, or at the most basic level, could (one day), think for their synthetic selves; essentially it’s a refutation of the idea that computers or programs can actually “understand” in the same way that a human can....
Essay Online: Isaac Asimov Essays Online and great …
As you begin to explore these penetrating questions and this cosmic correspondence, you will witness some of the strangest happenings of this world and the one beyond, of today and tomorrow, and perhaps you will begin to unravel some of their deepest memories."
Original Publication: Bonanza Books/Crown Publishers, March 1981
This Edition: Bonanza Books/Crown Publishers, March 1981
Cover Art: Don Dixon
Omnibus reprint of and , anthologies published in 1980 by Isaac Asimov,