Monday, March 28, 2011

19 June 1938

Asimov finished "Cosmic Corkscrew" on June 19, 1938.

After his experience in May, Asimov had been galvanized into activity.

"In the first place, the days during which I had imagined the magazine to be lost forever had revealed to me the extent which science fiction had seized me. It made me realize something that until then had been only subliminal--that one of my ambitions in life was to be a science fiction writer.

I did not want to be simply a writer, you understand. Nor was I interested in making money. Neither of these two items ever occurred to me. What I wanted was to write a science fiction story and have it appear in a science fiction magazine.

That would be to join the company of the demi gods whose names I knew and idealized: Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, ee Smith, Edmond Hamilton, John W. CAmpbell, and all the rest."

Asimov was also spurred on because his visit to the offices of Street & Smith had demystiied that organization. "It existed in a real business in real space, a building I could reach and enter and it contained people who would speak to me."

So, he pulled out an old story he'd been working on, "Cosmic Corkscrew," and finished.

On 19 June, 1938, then, he finished "Cosmic Corkscrew." It was the first piece of writing he had ever finished with a view toward publication.

Asimov didn't know how to submit his story, however. He didn't want to mail it - that would cost 12 cents. Taking a round trip subway trip would only cost him ten cents.

And when Asimov said his family counted pennies, he meant it.

On June 21, Asimov discussed the matter with his father. His father suggested that Asimov hand the story to John CAmpbell himself.

Asimov went to Street & Smith again, and asked to see Campbell. He didn't expect to be allowed to do so, but Campbell's secretary called Campbell, who said to send Asimov in.

"What I did not know was that Campbell's invitation was what would have happened in many cases of this sort. John Campbell was a most unusual fellow who loved to talk and who wouldseize almost anyone as an audience.

Durthermore, and this may have been a crucial point, he knew me from my recent letters.

So Asimov walked in and met John CAmpbell for the first time.

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