It's been a good life

Front Cover
Prometheus Books, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 309 pages
9 Reviews
As one of the most gifted and prolific writers of the twentieth century, Isaac Asimov became legendary for his inexhaustible creativity, wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, and talent for explaining complex subjects in clear, concise prose. While regaling his readers with an incredible opus of almost five hundred entertaining and illuminating science fiction and nonfiction books, he also found time to write a three-volume autobiography. Now these volumes have been condensed into one by Asimov's wife, Janet, who also shares excerpts from letters he wrote to her. Together these writings provide an intimate portrait of a creative genius whose love of learning and playing with ideas is evident on every page.

Reading this autobiography is like sitting down with Isaac Asimov and experiencing his witty, engaging, and brilliant personality firsthand. We are treated to many marvelous stories about his upbringing in Depression-era Brooklyn, his early fascination with the new science fiction pulp magazines, the thrill of his first published story, the creation of his well-known story "Nightfall, " the genesis of the Foundation series, and the evolution of his creative life as a writer.

He also reveals his inner thoughts about and experiences with various luminaries in science and science fiction. Above all, Asimov's autobiography conveys unbounded enthusiasm for his craft, the infectious joy of learning and creating, complete intellectual honesty, his strong humanist convictions, and his infinite fund of good humor and optimism even at the end of his life -- all told in the lively clear writing style that was his trademark.

Although Janet Jeppson Asimov concludes this work with a shockingrevelation about her husband's death, the volume is clearly intended as a celebration -- as the title suggests -- of a wonderful, creative life. As a poignant coda to this work, Janet has appended one short story that was Isaac's favorite, and his 400th essay on his thoughts about science.

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Review: It's Been a Good Life

User Review  - Steve Boyko - Goodreads

I've always liked reading Asimov and this was no exception. It's basically a collection of essays, letters and other works by Isaac, edited by his wife into a reasonably coherent book. I learned a few ... Read full review

Review: It's Been a Good Life

User Review  - Doc Kinne - Goodreads

Magnificent! That is the only word. As I get older I find that I like biographies more & more, and this biography is a good reason as to why that is true. Dr. Asimov was a Humanitarian Treasure. Read this book to find out why! Read full review

Contents

Chronology
9
Russia
11
The United States
13
Copyright

41 other sections not shown

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About the author (2002)

Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia, on January 2, 1920. His family emigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they owned and operated a candy store. Asimov became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of eight. As a youngster he discovered his talent for writing, producing his first original fiction at the age of eleven. He went on to become one of the world's most prolific writers, publishing nearly 500 books in his lifetime. Asimov was not only a writer; he also was a biochemist and an educator. He studied chemistry at Columbia University, earning a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. In 1951, Asimov accepted a position as an instructor of biochemistry at Boston University's School of Medicine even though he had no practical experience in the field. His exceptional intelligence enabled him to master new systems rapidly, and he soon became a successful and distinguished professor at Columbia and even co-authored a biochemistry textbook within a few years. Asimov won numerous awards and honors for his books and stories, and he is considered to be a leading writer of the Golden Age of science fiction. While he did not invent science fiction, he helped to legitimize it by adding the narrative structure that had been missing from the traditional science fiction books of the period. He also introduced several innovative concepts, including the thematic concern for technological progress and its impact on humanity. Asimov is probably best known for his Foundation series, which includes Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. In 1966, this trilogy won the Hugo award for best all-time science fiction series. In 1983, Asimov wrote an additional Foundation novel, Foundation's Edge, which won the Hugo for best novel of that year. Asimov also wrote a series of robot books that included I, Robot, and eventually he tied the two series together. He won three additional Hugos, including one awarded posthumously for the best non-fiction book of 1995, I. Asimov. "Nightfall" was chosen the best science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America. In 1979, Asimov wrote his autobiography, In Memory Yet Green. He continued writing until just a few years before his death from heart and kidney failure on April 6, 1992.

Asimov is the author of 4 science fiction novels for adults, a book of short stories, a science fiction novel for children, and the co-author, with her late husband, of 10 previous novels in the Norby series.