cover image I, Asimov: A Memoir

I, Asimov: A Memoir

Isaac Asimov. Doubleday Books, $25 (562pp) ISBN 978-0-385-41701-3

Although larded with thin filler material, Asimov's uneven posthumous autobiography also contains some of his liveliest, most incisive writing. The prolific SF novelist and nonfiction author, who died in 1992, discusses working in his father's candy store during the Depression, his unhappy first marriage and bitter divorce, his fulfilling second marriage and his dislike of children, which did not inhibit him from fathering a son and a daughter. We also learn of Asimov's fear of high places, his claustrophilia (his penchant for enclosed, artificially lit places), his compulsion to be prolific and the heart disease of his final years. Filled with cameos of well-known science fiction writers and editors, the narrative is peppered with Asimov's freewheeling thoughts on the Bible, teenagers, Sherlock Holmes, death, censorship and much else. Fans will enjoy his entertaining conversational mix of puckish humor, verve and self-revelation. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)