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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Anderson Poul, Bova Ben, Card Orson Scott, Clement Hal, Fein Betsy Spiegelman, Finch Sheila, Harrison Harry, Hoch Edward D., Malzberg Barry N., Pohl Frederik, Resnick Mike, Sargent Pamela, Sheckley Robert, Turtledove Harry, Wellen Edward, Willis Connie, Zebrowski George, Силверберг Роберт
 

«Foundation’s Friends», Ben Bova и др.

Stories in Honor of Isaac Asimov

 

To Isaac, with love

 

Preface

 

by Ray Bradbury

One of my favorite stories as a child was the one about the little boy who got a magical porridge machine functioning so wildly that it inundated the town with three feet of porridge.

In order to walk from one house to the other, or head down-street, one had to head out with a large spoon, eating one’s way to destinations near or far.

A delightful concept, save that I imagined tomato soup and a thick slush of crackers. Going on a journey and making a feast, all in one!

I imagine the name of the little boy in that tale should have been Isaac Asimov. For it seems to me that since first we met at the First World Science Fiction Convention in New York City the first week in July 1939, Isaac has been journeying and feasting through life, now at the Astronomical tables, now in a spread of other sciences, now in religion, and again in literature over a great span of time. One could call him a jackdaw, but that wouldn’t be correct. Jackdaws focus on and snatch bright objects of no particular weight. Isaac is in the mountain-moving business, but he does not move but eat them. Hand him a book and a few hours later, like that above-mentioned porridge, Isaac comes tunneling out the far side, still hungry. Is there a body of literature he hasn’t taken on? I severely doubt it.

And now here, with this book, we have Asimov’s honorary sons and daughters. Their machines may not run amok and inundate a city, but they are producing, nevertheless, and looking to Papa Asimov and us for approval, which will not be withheld.

To say more would be to call attention to my comparable size, a mole next to a fortress or a force of nature. I would add only a final note. People have said Isaac is a workaholic. Nonsense. He has gone mad with love in ten dozen territories. And there are a few dozen virgin territories left out there. There will be few such virgins left, when Isaac departs earth and arrives Up There to write twenty-five new books of the Bible. And that’s only the first week!

One night two years ago, I dreamed I was Isaac Asimov. Arising the next day, it was noon before my wife convinced me that I should not run for President.

Bless you, Isaac. Bless you, Isaac’s children, found herein.

 

February 21, 1989

The Nonmetallic Isaac

 

or It’s a Wonderful Life

 

by Ben Bova

Astrophysicists (to start with a scientific word) classify the universe into three chemical categories: hydrogen, helium, and metals.

The first two are the lightest of all the hundred-some known elements. Anything heavier than helium, the astrophysicists blithely call “metals.” Hydrogen and helium make up roughly ninety-eight percent of the universe’s composition. To an astrophysicist, the universe consists of a lot of hydrogen, a considerable amount of helium, and a smattering of metals.

Now, although Isaac Asimov is known throughout this planet (and possibly others, we just don’t know yet) as a writer of science fiction, when you consider his entire output of written material-all the four-hundred-and-counting books and the myriads of articles, columns, limericks, and whatnots-his science fiction is actually a small percentage of the total. As far as Asimov’s production is concerned, science fiction tales are his “metals.”

Science fact is his mettle.

It is the “nonmetallic” Asimov that I want to praise.

Remember the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life!? The one where an angel shows suicidal James Stewart what his hometown would be like if Jimmie’s character had never been born?

Think of what our home planet would be like if Isaac Asimov had never turned his mind and hand to writing about science.

We narrowly missed such a fate. There was a moment in time when a youthful Isaac faced a critical career choice: go on as a researcher or plunge full-time into writing. He chose writing and the world is extremely happy with the result.

Knowing that science fiction, in those primeval days, could not support a wife and family, Isaac chose to write about science fact and to make that his career, rather than biomedical research.

But suppose he had not?

Suppose, faced with that career choice, Isaac had opted for the steady, if unspectacular, career of a medium-level research scientist who wrote occasional science fiction stories as a hobby.

We would still have the substantial oeuvre of his science fiction tales that this anthology celebrates. We would still have “Nightfall” and “The Ugly Little Boy,” the original Foundation trilogy and novels such as Pebble in the Sky. We would, to return to the metaphor we started with, still have Isaac’s “metallic” output.


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