Saturday, January 2, 2016

1/2/1920 Isaac Asimov celebrates his birthday

January 2, 1920.  Isaac Asimov, admitted he was not sure of the date of his birth.  It occurred in Russia, the Jewish and Julian calendars clashed, etc.  But this was the latest possible date it could have been, so this was the one he chose to celebrate.  Who are we to argue?

You might want to argue about what a science fiction writer is doing on this page, but more fool you.  Here is Asimov explaining the origin of one of his classic novels: "[Editor John] Campbell had often said that a science fiction mystery story was a contradiction in terms; that advances in technology could be used to get detectives out of their difficulties unfairly, and that the readers would therefore be cheated. I sat down to write a story that would be a classic mystery and that would not cheat the reader — and yet would be a true science-fiction story. The result was The Caves Of Steel."  It is considered one of the great science fiction mysteries.

Here on Earth the good Doctor wrote A Whiff of Death, Murder at the ABA,  and The Union Club Mysteries. But he is perhaps best remembered my mystery fans for his salute to Agatha Christie's Jane Marple, namely the Black Widowers stories.  In each story a distinguished group of men sit down to dinner with a guest who (inevitably) has a puzzle on his mind.  These are "least likely detective" tales.  After the brilliant minds eliminate the obvious solutions Henry the waiter (as humble as Miss Marple) deduces the solution.


  1. I loved Caves of Steel and Murder at the ABA. Thanks for more information on this author.

  2. Asimov is one of my favorite mystery writers! I love the Black Widowers!