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Isaac Asimov: It's Been a Good Life    Editor Janet Jeppson Asimov order for
Isaac Asimov
by Janet Jeppson Asimov
Order:  USA  Can
Prometheus, 2002 (2002)
* * *   Reviewed by David Pitt

Isaac Asimov's three-volume autobiography, In Memory Yet Green (1979), In Joy Still Felt (1980) and I, Asimov (1992), is, I think, my very favorite memoir written by a writer. Asimov was, in case the name rings only a faint bell (shame on you), one of the 20th century's most prolific writers, turning out hundreds of novels and nonfiction books. His science fiction changed the whole genre; his mystery fiction was tight and compelling. In his nonfiction, he wrote about mathematics, physics, chemistry, the Bible, and on and on. He was, and I mean this literally, one of this century's most important writers. He died a decade ago, but -- sorry for the cliché here, but it's appropriate -- his writings will live on for centuries.

This new book combines excerpts from his autobiography with letters from the author to his wife, Janet (this volume's editor) -- a kind of summing-up, if you will, of a long and incredibly productive life. It's Been a Good Life won't ever replace the sheer joy of reading Asimov's full-length memoirs, but it comes darn close. Think of this book as an introduction to a great man, a kind of collage of images, glimpses of his genius and wide-ranging imagination. As a starting point, a way to get the gist of Isaac Asimov before plunging into his writings, it's entirely successful.

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