Friday, December 31, 2010

April 10, 1935 (15 and 4 months)

Asimov jumps ahead in his book (In Memory Yet Green) to April 10, 1935, "one of the few exact dates I remember for the period before I was 18.") (It was at age 18 that he started keeping a diary.

He'd ever traveled into Manhattan (from Brooklyn his home) by himself, and he didn't do it this day, either. His father came with him, but waited outside the school building.

Asimov recounts that he made a very poor impression. He was "too eager, too talkative,too nervous, too lacking in poise and self assurance, too obviously immature."

He was interviewed by only one man, apparently, and despite his transcript grades he was rejected. However, he was only rejected for Collumbia College. Columbia University was a huge establishment of which Columbia College, "the elite undergrauate school" was only a part.

The interviewer therefore suggested that he apply to Seth Low Junior Colllege, located in Brooklyn - "another undergraduate college of Columbia University and ...by no means elite." One had to be 16 to enter (as one did for Columbia College) and the student body was mainly Jewish with a smattering of Italians.

After the interview, he and his father went to see a movie, Richelieu, witj George Arliss, Edward Arnold, and Ceasar Romero. In this movie, Richelieu was the hero, which Asimov had some difficulty getting used to as he'd read The Three Musketeers where Richelieu was the villain.

They also stopped in at a museum - which one he doesn't remember - and saw Albert Einstein, though they did not speak to him. (And Asimov remembers the date because of this event, not because it was the day he interviewed for Columbia College.)

___________________
ENCYCLOPEDIA ASIMOVA IS UPDATED ON TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS
_______________
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR OTHER KINDLE BLOGS:
* Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
* Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
* Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
* Rush Limbaugh Report

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

January 2, 1935

On January 2, 1935, Isaac Asimov turned 15. By this time, he was 5 feet 9 inches tall, and he would grow no taller. At age 15 he was skinny, weighing no more than 125 pounds.

It was at age 15 that he started to shave, twice a week at first, and was in "the full flower" of his acne (which he would continue to have until his early 20s).

At this point, he still worked full time in his parent's candy store when not in school, and so all his thoughts were of graduating high school, not of girls.

He was going to graduate high school 3 years early, and was already wondering which college he should enter. It had to be a college in New York City, for he would have to continue to work at the candy store.

He thought of City College, which was tuition -free, and anyone living in the city could enter it if his grades were good enough.

Although he appliwed to City College and was accepted, he was not happy about it. Most of the student body was Jewish. So was aAsimov, although non-practicing, and he knew that medical schools hardly ever accepted a graduate of City College...and he wanted to go to medical school. ("At least, my father was intent on my behalf.")

The most prestigious college in New York City was Columbia College, and gradusates of Columbia College usually had no problem getting into medical school.

Although Asimov didn't expect to ever have the tuition money to be able to afford Columbia, he applied nevertheless. Good grades were not enough however, he'd also have to go to an interview in order to be accepted.

TO BE CONTINUED




Bibliography
In Memory Tey Green, The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954. Avon, 1979

___________________
ENCYCLOPEDIA ASIMOVA IS UPDATED ON TUESDAY AND THURSDAY
_______________
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR OTHER KINDLE BLOGS:
* Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
* Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
* Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
* Rush Limbaugh Report

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Damon Knight on Isaac Asimov's writing

Isaac Asimov didn't care much for critics, so his friendship with Damon Knight must have been strained when you consider what Knight wrote about his work in a variety of review columns (the exact magazine in which it appeared is not specified).
Fourteen years ago, shortly after Isaac Asimov's first story appeared, he got a fan letter from a callow 18-year old in Hood River, Oregon. Not to keep you in suspense, the fan was me.

Time passed, I grew older very slowly, grew an invisible moustache and shaved it off, learned to stay awar from dry red wine and recovered somewhat from my enthusiasm for Ross Rocklynne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. But I still yield to nobody as an Asimov fan. Among writers of the purest and most difficult kind of science fiction, the serious "what if" story, I think he's approached by nobody but Jeinlein. His robot stories put an end forever to the misbegotten series of clanking Adam Links that had infested science fiction for twenty years; his "Nightfall" is matchless of its kind, and I could name half a dozen others.

But as a writer of twice-told tales, I think Asimov is as dull as anybody. That's why I've been waiting, long and impatiently, for The Caves of Steel, because I wanted to praise Asimov, and because, if I reviewed Pebble in the Sky, The Stars, Like Dust, Foundation and Empire, The Currents of Space or Second Foundation, I couldn't.

To be continued.

Bibliography
In Search of Wonder, 2nd edition, revised and enlarged, Damon Knight, 1956, 1967

___________________
ENCYCLOPEDIA ASIMOVA IS UPDATED ON MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY
_______________
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR OTHER KINDLE BLOGS:
* Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
* Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
* Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
* Rush Limbaugh Report

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yikes!


So sorry, folks, I thought I'd queued up plenty of posts to run through December, and I see I just imagined it all.

Regular posts will start again tomorrow, Monday Dec 13.

Thanks for your patience!



___________________
ENCYCLOPEDIA ASIMOVA IS UPDATED ON MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY
_______________

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR OTHER KINDLE BLOGS:
* Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
* Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
* Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
* Rush Limbaugh Report