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Old 09-19-2012, 05:09 PM   #121
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I don't actually think of the Barsoom books as being primarily sci-fi. They are (along with all of Burroughs' other books) escapist romances aimed at men. They're essentially equivalent to the bodice rippers aimed at women....that's either your cup of tea or it ain't.
They're also "potboilers". Each chapter starts with someone fighting their way out of a trap, the middle has them wandering around for a bit, and then it ends just as they fall into the next trap. I think most of those novels were serialized chapter by chapter in magazines, which encouraged that format.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:21 PM   #122
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2. He is credited with adding several new words to the English language including robotics, positronic and psychohistory. So the whole robotics industry is built on a word he made up.
Is positronic actually used outside of Asimov's stories? In physics, it mirrors electronic (based on positrons rather than electrons), but Asimov didn't mean it that way. As far as I know, it refers to some fictional and undefined brain-like material in the stories, so I don't see the word being that useful anywhere else.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:27 PM   #123
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My High School physics teacher believed the best way to truly understand and internalize logarithms you had to use a slide rule. Also the best way to understand orders of magnitude in calculations. He had a honking big eight foot monster mounted in the classroom for demonstration and drills. (Plus, it looked really cool.)
Sad thing is, he's right.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:39 PM   #124
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Is positronic actually used outside of Asimov's stories?
Data has a positronic brain.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:43 PM   #125
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However, in his defense - you aren't going to see many strong females (apart perhaps from Dors Venabili?) or many relevant females at all because he does NOT want to display them all as "secretaries" and on the other hand didn't have much experience with women - so he didn't know how to write about them.
Dors wasn't introduced until a much later book; one written in the 1980s, I believe.

And don't tell me it's difficult to write strong female characters in the 1950s; Heinlein wrote several.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:16 PM   #126
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And don't tell me it's difficult to write strong female characters in the 1950s; Heinlein wrote several.
Ah, but Heinlein was a character-focused writer.
And he gave us memorable characters by the dozen. (Johnny Rico, Hugh Farnham, Lazarus Long, Val Smith...)
Asimov and Clarke were both focused in other directions, being primarily short-story writers.
But when Asimov felt the need to focus on character he didn't do all that badly. (THE END OF ETERNITY and PEBBLE IN THE SKY comes to mind from his more neglected works, as well as the ROBOT NOVELS where character is a driving force as much as the social issues at the heart of the stories.)

More to the point, when you consider that the ostensible premise of the classic FOUNDATION series is that individual action is subsumed/outweighed by the greater forces of mass human activity (economics, demography, etc) it would be a bit ironic if the series had spawned an iconic protagonist comparable to The Mule (who was defined as an aberration to start with).
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:01 PM   #127
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More to the point, when you consider that the ostensible premise of the classic FOUNDATION series is that individual action is subsumed/outweighed by the greater forces of mass human activity (economics, demography, etc) it would be a bit ironic if the series had spawned an iconic protagonist comparable to The Mule (who was defined as an aberration to start with).
I still think Asimov has a much overrated reputation as an SF author.

He wrote hardly any SF between 1960 and 1982 (not counting anthologies of his early works). And the first 15 years were very pulpy works, little of which aged well.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:02 PM   #128
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Data has a positronic brain.
Ah! Maybe if I wasn't so busy loathing the show while watching it with university housemates I would have picked up on that (or, more likely, I just grumbled even more at the reference). Kirk for the win!

Once again, DiapDealer, your superior memory is evident!
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:55 PM   #129
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Not just one of many. Heinlein, Clarke and Asimov were the SF "Big Three" in the 40s and 50s.
I'm not sure but Heinlein may have been the first to actually have a book published when he signed the deal with Scribners to write the juveniles.

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:10 AM   #130
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I couldn't get into Dune. I just couldn't see what the fuss was about. That doesn't mean that Hebert was "overrated", it merely means that it didn't appeal to me. Azimov is widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. If your works are still being read 70 years later, you are obviously doing something right.

Not everyone is going to like every author. It's not just with science fiction authors either. Dickens is beloved by a great many people, but there are people who scratch their heads and wonder what people see in Dickens. They aren't wrong to not like Dickens, it is a matter of personal taste.

Asimov did write less science fiction in the 60's and 70's, but he was also writing an amazing number of science books during this period. Here's a link to Asimov's bibliography, sorted by year. http://www.asimovreviews.net/Numerical.html
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #131
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Here's a link to Asimov's bibliography, sorted by year. http://www.asimovreviews.net/Numerical.html
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:33 AM   #132
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The bibliography's nice, but doesn't include short stories, which is what he was publishing prolifically in the 40s (beginning in 1939).

The short stories and novellas that make up the Foundation Trilogy were published between May 1942 and January 1950, for example.

EDIT: Aha!

The site links to a chronological listing for his SF stories:

http://www.asimovonline.com/oldsite/...f_f_index.html

Graham

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:01 PM   #133
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The bibliography's nice, but doesn't include short stories, which is what he was publishing prolifically in the 40s (beginning in 1939).

The short stories and novellas that make up the Foundation Trilogy were published between May 1942 and January 1950, for example.

EDIT: Aha!

The site links to a chronological listing for his SF stories:

http://www.asimovonline.com/oldsite/...f_f_index.html

Graham

This is interesting. It looks like he continued a fair bit of work in short fiction during the 60s and 70's despite Nate's contention that he wrote hardly any SF during that period. And one or two of the things he did write (The Gods Themselves, the Bicentenial Man) are ranked fairly highly amongst what he wrote through his entire career.

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #134
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nuff said.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:13 PM   #135
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