Friday, January 7, 2011

90 Words A Minute? Ha!

On many occasions, but specifically on page 147 of his autobiography,In Memory Yet Green, Asimov says he can type 90 words a minute.

He couldn't, you know.

"I've been typing fairly constantly ever since [his father gave him his first typewriter at age 15] and I can now do 90 words a minute for hours at a time. (To be perfectly truthful, I've sacrificed accuracy for speed, and I don't pretend I don't make errors. I just strike over or x out."

And since in order to find out how many words a minute a person can type, the number of mistakes they make is factored in, he obviously didn't do 90 words a minute, but rather perhaps 60 or 50. On one occasion, Asimov actually makes the statement that he doesn't adjust his typing speed for errors, but that doesn't matter. He may have claimed to do 90 words a minute, but he didn't!

Once he was typing, he had "much more incentive to writ."

It was not until 1936 that he tried to write a science fiction story. He doesn't remember much about it except that "there was a great deal of talk about the fifth dimension at the start and that later on there was some catastrophe that destroyed photosynthesis." He also could remember one sentence out of the whole story, "Whole forests stood sere and brown in mid-summer."

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