Saturday, March 24, 2012

Asimov PP: 10/1989: "The Nearest Star"

I'm going through Isaac Asimov's F&SF essays in reverse order by date to share the Personal Paragraphs with which he invariably opened each essay.
You would think that a person like myself is immune to frustration where the writing of books is concerned. The total number of my published books stands, at the moment, at 459. Therefore, it might seem that there isn't a book that I would like to write that I haven't written.

Yet it's not so.

In the 1970s, I wrote a series of astronomy books for the general public, each one of them being full of tables and figures. The titles of four of them are:

1) Jupiter, the Largest Planet
3) Mars, the Red Planet
4) Saturn and beyond
5) Venus: Near Neighbor of the Sun

In these four, I managed to cover every planet in the Solar system and to say a few words about their satellites, the asteroids and the comets.

The second book in the series is Alpha Centaur, The Nearest Star.

Well, Alpha Centauri is not the nearest star. Our Sun is. So I was planning to write a sixth book in the series that would deal with the Sun, both to round out my description of the Solar system and to correct the mistitling of my book on Alpha Centauri. I even have a contract, somewhere, for that book.

But it never got written. Other books intervened. They still intervene.

The next best thing, then, is to write essays on the Sun for this series, and that I now plan to do.

And thus he segues into writing about the Sun.

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