Happy birthday Isaac Asimov! I started casually reading “In Memory Yet Green,” last month in my spare time. I would take it with me to places I expected to wait like the doctor’s office or something like that. It has been satisfying to finally get to know the author of my favorite science fiction series. According to this first volume of his autobiography, there is no real record of Isaac Asimov’s birthday. He was born in Petrovichi, Russia around 1920 and chose arbitrarily to celebrate his birthday on January 2nd.
Sadly, Isaac Asimov died of heart and kidney failure complications due to AIDS on April 6, 1992. He contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during a heart bypass operation in 1983. This link to HIV and AIDS wasn’t revealed until later when Janet Asimov published “It’s Been a Good Life,” in 2002.
It is a shame that such a talented author died before his time, but not before he wrote or edited over 400 books and countless essays and letters. I would have loved see how he continued his Robot and Foundation novels in the future. Hopefully I will find time to read some of his non-fiction this year, which most of his writing consists of. For a start, I received “Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Life in Letters,” for Christmas. I’m sure that it will be very interesting. If you haven’t read anything by Asimov, you should visit your local library or run a creative Google search. You’ll be in for a treat.
I’m sure that everyone has seen a zombie movie at some point or another, whether having classic zombies such as Night of the Living Dead, or fast moving zombies in 28 Days Later or I am Legend. The classic portrayal of a zombie is that of a slow moving mindless killer. But what if there was something more?
What kind of life, or death for that matter, do zombies experience? Are they aware of their nature, or do they mindlessly seek out human flesh to feed on? Do they know they are zombies, and if so, do they know how they came to be? Is there anything left of the person they once were, or are they transformed into a new flesh eating monster? What are a zombies thoughts on death? Do they experience emotions?
Isaac Marion eloquently explores these questions and more in his short story, I am a Zombie Filled With Love. The story is very well written in a sort of dry matter-of-fact humor. While there is plenty of humor involved, there are many philosophical insights discussed as well. Are living humans really better off than zombies? Follow the link and read the story, then you decide.
The brilliant minds over at The Onion have answered this question. I just ran across this video and it gave me a good chuckle. I hope you like it also.
In The Know: Are We Giving The Robots That Run Our Society Too Much Power?
It has been almost 4 years since the movie I, Robot (2004) was released. I was terribly disappointed that the Hollywood movie was barely anything like the book of short stories that I remembered reading, which I explained in my review. After browsing the Internet looking for other reactions I discovered that a screenplay written by Harlan Ellison had received a glowing review from Isaac Asimov.
I just ran across this interesting NPR story from 2004 that talks about the fan reaction to the original I, Robot movie. There are a few comments from Harlan Ellison and Irving Kirchner, director of The Empire Strikes Back, as one the prospective directors. The audio story is available in Real Media and Windows Media Player formats.
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R. Daneel Olivaw is my favorite character from the Robot and Foundation Universe created by Isaac Asimov. The R stands for “Robot,” but he became much more than that over the course of the Robot and Foundation series. Hari Seldon from the Foundation Novels ranks a close second, but my heart goes to Daneel and the Three Laws of Robotics. I’m amazed at how many twists can be made based on three relatively simple rules of behavior. Daneel starts as one of the first humaniform robots, but eventually evolves into much more complex being.
The following discussion is filled with spoilers for the entire Robot and Foundation series, so read it with that in mind. Continue reading »