Asimov Essays Online

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Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described the members of that organization as "intellectually combative." He took more joy in being President of the American Humanist Association.

The asteroid 5020 Asimov, the magazine Asimov's Science Fiction, and two different Isaac Asimov Awards are named in his honor.

He was also a close friend of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and earned a screen credit on Star Trek: The Motion Picture for advice he gave during production (generally, confirming to Paramount Pictures that Roddenberry's ideas were legitimate science-fictional extrapolation). He was survived by his second wife, Janet, and his children from his first marriage.

Ten years after his death, Janet Asimov's edition of Asimov's autobiography, It's Been a Good Life, revealed that his death was caused by AIDS; he had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion received during a heart bypass operation in December 1983.

He was of medium height, stocky, with muttonchop whiskers and a distinct Brooklyn-Yiddish accent. He never learned how to swim or ride a bicycle; however, he did learn to drive a car after he moved to Boston.

In his humor book Asimov Laughs Again, he describes Boston driving as "anarchy on wheels." Asimov's wide interests included his participation in his later years in organizations devoted to the operettas of W. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan and in The Wolfe Pack, a group of devotees of the Nero Wolfe mysteries authored by Rex Stout.

Asimov was born sometime between October 4, 1919, and January 2, 1920, in Petrovichi shtetl of Smolensk Oblast, RSFSR (now Mahilyow Province, Republic of Belarus) to Anna Rachel Berman Asimov and Judah Asimov, a Jewish family of millers.

His date of birth is uncertain due to differences in the Julian and Jewish calendars and because of a lack of records. His family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old.

He was a prominent member of the Baker Street Irregulars, the leading Sherlock Holmes society.

From 1985 until his death in 1992, he was president of the American Humanist Association; his successor was his friend and fellow writer Kurt Vonnegut.


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