Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was one of the three most influential authors of hard science fiction during his lifetime, along with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. He was born in Russia to mother Anna Rachel Berman Asimov and father Judah Asimov, whose love of Russian literature and Yiddish stories in particular contributed to their son's fondness for reading. As an adult, Asimov majored in chemistry in university, and later spent time in the military, at the US Naval Air Experimental Station.
Asimov's fascination with science shone in his writing. He wrote from a scientific perspective both in his non-fiction - he penned many essays and articles for periodicals such as the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - and his fiction. Far from one-dimensional, Asimov's interests extended to religion (Asimov's Guide to the Bible), literature (Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare) and smutty humor (Asimov's Lecherous Limericks) to name a few. While many will be familiar with Asimov's Foundation and Robot series, there is variety in his work.
Isaac Asimov books
The Foundation series is arguably his defining work. It started as short stories published in Astounding Magazine with Asimov turning them into three books in the 1950s – Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.
The Foundation plot concerns the collapse of a civilisation far, far away. A mathematician predicts the imminent fall of a Galactic empire, and devises a plan to preserve science and civilisation. This trilogy formed the Foundation saga for decades until Asimov expanded the series in 1981 with sequels - Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth, and then prequels: Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation.
Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was an influence on Asimov as the series explores how civilisations ebb and flow.
For collectors, Asimov's books have been selected for lush reprints, limited editions and special collector's copies, and the original first editions of his titles are often highly collectable. The ultimate collectable is a first edition set of the Foundation Trilogy.