Isaac Asimov (1920 –1992) was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.
Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 9,000 letters.
Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories. He penned numerous short stories, among them "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time, a title many still honor. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of nonfiction.
1. The Foundation Trilogy (audio has 8 parts)
- Foundation and Empire
- Secound Foundation
The Foundation Trilogy is an epic science fiction series written over a span of forty-four years by Isaac Asimov. It consists of seven volumes that are closely linked to each other, although they can be read separately. The series is highly acclaimed, winning the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966.
The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept devised by Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone for anything smaller than a planet or an empire. It works on the principle that the behavior of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy). The larger the mass, the more predictable is the future. Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. To shorten the period of barbarism, he creates two Foundations, small, secluded havens of art, science, and other advanced knowledge, on opposite ends of the galaxy.
The focus of the trilogy is on the Foundation of the planet Terminus. The people living there are working on an all-encompassing Encyclopedia, and are unaware of Seldon's real intentions (for if they were, the variables would become too uncontrolled). The Encyclopedia serves to preserve knowledge of the physical sciences after the collapse. The Foundation's location is chosen so that it acts as the focal point for the next empire in another thousand years (rather than the projected thirty thousand).
From Escape Pod:
1. Nightfall - "Nightfall" is an influential science fiction short, about the coming of darkness to the people of a planet ordinarily illuminated at all times on all sides. It was subsequently adapted to become a novel.
Considered a classic of the genre, Nightfall has been anthologized no fewer than four dozen times, and has appeared in at least another half-dozen collections of Asimov's older stories. In 1968, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted Nightfall the best science fiction short story ever written prior to the establishment of the Nebula Awards in 1965 and included it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.
1. The Segregationist (Look for Episode 3)
1967 Robot Story
1. Youth (15th story from Sci Fi Stories # 34)
From Huffduffer.com & Others Sites:
1. Time Traveler Show 10 — Asimov Speaks! - Our first Talks in Time features a 1974 lecture by SF Grand Master, Isaac Asimov. This nearly hour long speech has a lively Q A and is still relevant today. Special thanks to the Science Fiction Oral History Association.
2. The Last Question - First published in November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly. Asimov thought that The Last Question was his best short story ever. The story deals with the development of computers called Multivacs and their relationships with humanity through the courses of seven historic settings, beginning in 2061. In each of the first six scenes a different character presents the computer with the same question; namely, how the threat to human existence posed by the heat death of the universe can be averted. The question was: "How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?" This is equivalent to asking: "Can the workings of the second law of thermodynamics (used in the story as the increase of the entropy of the universe), be reversed?" Multivac's only response after much "thinking" is: "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
The story starts 5 minutes into the audio.================================================================