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About the Author

Isaac Asimov was born in 1920 in Russia and was brought to the USA by his parents three years later. He grew up in Brooklyn and attended Columbia University. After a short spell in the army, he gained a doctorate and worked in academia and chemical research.

Asimov's career as a science fiction writer began in 1939 with the short story `Marooned Off Vesta'. Thereafter he became a regular contributor to the leading SF magazines of the day. Asimov wrote hundreds of short stories and novels, including the iconic I, Robot and Foundation. He won the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula Award once.

Apart from his world-famous science fiction, Asimov also wrote highly successful detective mystery stories, a four-volume History of North America, a two-volume Guide to the Bible, a biographical dictionary, encyclopaedias, and textbooks, as well as two volumes of autobiography.

Asimov died in 1992 at the age of 72.


Fantasy wasn't Asimov's forte, but that's not to say that this lightweight, posthumous gathering of previously uncollected stories and essays won't amuse casual readers and please the completist. The fiction here, mostly satirical, resembles Asimov's SF, depending on a clever idea that is clearly presented in a well-built story. Most of the stories concern George and his demon (or perhaps extradimensional alien) servant Azazel, whose plans to help George's friends always go awry. The book also contains two modern fairy tales, as well as a Black Widowers piece that barely qualifies as fantasy. Overall, the nonfiction holds up better, dealing with topics from unicorns to symbolism; many of the essays comment on, or provide context for, the stories. There's some criticism, too, and despite his dislike of critics, Asimov himself proves a capable one as he analyzes the work of, among others, Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, J.R.R. Tolkien and, of greatest interest, himself. (Jan.)

`Isaac Asimov was one of the great explainers of the age...It will never be known how many practicing scientists today, in how many countries, owe their initial inspiration to a book, article, or short story by Isaac Asimov'
Carl Sagan

`Asimov displayed one of the most dynamic imaginations in science fiction'
Daily Telegraph

`Asimov's career was one of the most formidable in science fiction'
The Times

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