Asimov Centenial Panel at Albacon (notes)

 Asimov’s Centennial (11 AM Sunday Sept. 15, 2019). The centennial of Isaac Asimov’s birthday is January 2, 2020. Might be appropriate to look back on his life and impact.

(I brought an Asimov’s omnibus robot book to pass around/ use as a theme prop)

Intros. Panelists were Tom Easton, Carl Frederick (who built a robot w/ Asimov), Herb Kauderer, Vaughne Hansen (agent), Barry Longyear, Ian Randall Strock (who worked with Asimov when he still ran the magazine).

List of questions for panelists

  • Ask each panelist his or her experiences with Asimov or his work.
  • Did you know he was a non-fic writer, too?
  • What Asimov stories or non-fic books influenced you the most?
  • Do you have to be as prolific/driven/compulsive a writer to make it?
  • Bring up the “I, Robot Movie” – the three laws of robotics. Will we use them in real life? (DARPA)

First Law

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second Law

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Third Law

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

Nancy Kress anecdote ( @first OMG it’s ISSAC ASIMOV, later – hide me it’s Zac.)

Enormous early influence on me and on the field of SF.

From Wikipedia: He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. Asimov was a prolific writer who wrote or edited more than 500 books.

Asimov wrote hard science fiction. Along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous work is the “Foundation” series, the first three books of which won the one-time Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966. His other major series are the “Galactic Empire” series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are set in earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation series. Later, with Foundation and Earth (1986), he linked this distant future to the Robot stories, creating a unified “future history” for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson.  He also wrote hundreds of short stories, including the social science fiction novelette “Nightfall”, which in 1964 was voted the best short science fiction story of all time by SFWA. Asimov also wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile of science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

CLOSING QUOTE “[T]he only thing about myself that I consider to be severe enough to warrant psychoanalytic treatment is my compulsion to write … That means that my idea of a pleasant time is to go up to my attic, sit at my electric typewriter (as I am doing right now), and bang away, watching the words take shape like magic before my eyes.”

— Asimov, 1969