Radio Wolinsky

The Probabilities Archive: Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), 1983

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), in conversation with Richard Wolinsky, recorded in New York City on August 10, 1983.

Isaac Asimov, who died at the age of 72 in 1992, was considered, along with Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein, one of the three great masters of American science fiction in the 20th century.

Isaac Asimov began sending in stories and getting published in science fiction magazines at the age of nineteen, and at the age of 21, with the publication of the short story “Nightfall” in John W. Campbell’s Astounding Stories magazine. moved into the first ranks of science fiction writers. That status was confirmed a year later with the publication of the short story, “Foundation,” later renamed “The Encyclopedists,” which would be the first of several short stories and novellas republished as the three volumes of the Foundation trilogy.

In the 1940s, he turned to a series of stories focused on robots, which became the collection I Robot and then in the 1950s turned to novels, including Pebble in the Sky, The Caves of Steel and The End of Eternity. Along the way, through his entire career, he wrote dozens of non-fiction books on a wide variety of topics, along with young adult novels, and mystery novels and short stories. In the end, the number of books he wrote or edited exceeded 500, not counting separate short stories and articles.

This interview was conducted in a New York City bookstore Asimov was visiting to sign copies of a new collection, The Union Club Mysteries, a year after his return to the world of the Foundation trilogy, Foundation’s Edge, was published. Because his two –volume autobiography had come out a couple of years earlier and dealt with the plots and themes of his fiction, the interview focused instead on his life as a writer and his work with editors and publishers.

A miniseries adaptation of the Foundation Trilogy is due to be released on the Apple + streaming app in September, 2021.