Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Twitter Chat On Isaac Asimov

On July 8th, 2011, @DavidRozansky the publisher at Flying Pen Press I've mentioned many times here, supplied the #scifichat topic of a tribute to Isaac Asimov.

That hit one of my buttons and I posted way too many tweets all at once, but oddly nobody was upset about it.  In fact, several people, David Rozansky included thanked me.

And someone suggested I should post what I'd said as a blog post, so despite Asimov not writing Romance, not even as much as Heinlein did, I'm offering this here as context for most of what I've said here.  A lot of what I've learned about writing, and what I've been showing you, comes from Asimov, Heinlein, Clement, and of course Marion Zimmer Bradley as well as many writers currently publishing.

"@" means the screenname of a person on twitter.  Some have their own names, some a handle.  All of these posts are from me, unless noted otherwise, and I was mostly using tweetchat and HootSuite posting tools for twitter. @Davidrozansky was using TweetDeck which I also have and like.  See twitter.com and hootsuite.com and tweetdeck.com and tweetchat.com for all kinds of free twitter tools. 

A paragraph preceded by RT is a "retweet" -- something I picked out of the stream and repeated for all my followers to see, so that my response would not be totally out of context.  Sometimes I forgot to RT so you see answers here without seeing what's being answered.  Infer it.  Sometimes what I RT'd didn't have "Asimov" in it so it didn't get picked up by the search I used to retrieve this timeline. 

When these tweets start with an @someone it's me talking back to that person.  When a paragraph just starts with a word, it's me just saying that.  When a parag starts with A and a number such as A3 it is the answer to a Question (Q3) posed by the moderator for people to discuss. 

There were a number of my tweets and those of others that said "Asimov's" so my search for "Asimov" didn't retrieve them.  And between these tweets below, I bounced tweets around with other people, too.

Social networking is easy and fun.  Don't do it for profit, do it for satisfaction of talking to fabulous people.

Here's how it went:

RT @DavidRozansky: Well, I'm late getting #scifichat prepared, and I am 2 questions short of a full set of 8 questions about Isaac Asimov. Sigh. #SciFiChat

RT @PennyAsh: RT @scifichat: Remembering Dr. Isaac Asimov in #SciFiChat today, in 10 minutes.
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 10:55am via TweetGrid.com

@davidrozansky I heard Asimov speak at a ABA in DC about the future of ebooks when publishing scoffed #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 10:55am via TweetDeck

RT @DavidRozansky: Remembering Dr. Isaac Asimov in #SciFiChat today, in 10 minutes.
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 10:56am via HootSuite

David Rozansky said something about researching Asimov for this chat.  I responded.

@DavidRozansky I didn't need to RESEARCH Asimov's opinion of GR, met them both at the 1st Trek Con, got many ears-full! #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:01am via TweetChat

David said something about how interesting it was that I knew Asimov.  I answered:

@DavidRozansky Oh, gee, now I need to take a moment and note to include my Asimov stories in my memoirs! (Asimov at ST Cons!) #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 10:56am via TweetDeck

Asimov was of "First Fandom" the founders of the disorganization known as "fandom" and they were serious about "futurology" #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:06am via TweetChat

Asimov was always up on the very cutting edge of RESEARCH, but saw science as solving by successive approximations, so ... #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:09am via TweetChat

so, whenever science got wind of something new, Asimov would speculate it to the next higher level. Positrons come to mind. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:09am via TweetChat

Everyone here knows that Asimov was first to write about the "Positronic Brain" 4 his robots, one of 1st to use robot characters #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:10am via TweetChat

I hope everyone here knows Asimov wrote some of the best popular-science nonfic, and did one on the Bible w/o PEER #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:11am via TweetChat

Asimov had an eidetic memory, which is why he could write nonfic without looking things up, so he was FAST. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:12am via TweetChat

Asimov's nonfic spanned all kinds of nonfic subjects because he was interested. But he wrote fic & nonfic on sociology #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:13am via TweetChat

Like RAH (Robert Anson Heinlein) Isaac Asimov had a personal political view that informed and infused his fic and nonfic #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:14am via TweetChat

@DavidRozansky The BIBLE is a best seller. Asimov had opinions and knowledge, but also was market savvy #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:15am via TweetChat

@simonm223 @DavidRozansky Oh, yes, Asimov like most scientists didn't have opinions about things he hadn't studied. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:16am via TweetChat

@simonm223 @DavidRozansky Also the Bible is great source material for HIGH DRAMA, so Asimov mined the classics for material #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:17am via TweetChat

And with all, Asimov's volume on The Bible is referenced today by those who don't know his SF and wouldn't touch it if they did #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:18am via TweetChat

@simonm223 Thank you, didn't know Asimov was today's topic-I missed last week. But he was a good friend I could go on for hours #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:19am via TweetChat

I think the reason Asimov's SF is so memorable and perspicacious is that he was a Scholar and used that to reveal human foibles #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:20am via TweetChat

When you discuss someone as deep as Asimov, a person of vast achievements, you shld keep quirks in perspective #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:21am via TweetChat

RT @DavidRozansky: I am also a fan of Asimov's Black Widowers stories. He was also a great #mystery writer. #authors #books #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:23am via TweetChat

@simonm223 @JasonMHardy At the time Asimov wrote, sociology was anti-science in most ppl's minds. HE CHANGED STUFF! #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:24am via TweetDeck

Asimov was socially integrated (social networking isn't new) with First Fandom and hang out in bars & cons with other writers&fen #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:26am via TweetChat

With that fertile Lunarians and other NY SF groups, Asimov knew that a lot of SF writers moonlighted as Mystery writers #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:27am via TweetChat

Ted Sturgeon was one of my all time favorite people, too, but I never saw Sturgeon and Asimov in a room together! Both Trek fans #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:28am via TweetChat

A3 Asimov's work is "endearing" because he wrote series and connected works while others wrote stand-alones #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:30am via TweetChat

@JasonMHardy Right, Asimov asked the questions others weren't able to ask for lack of a wide enough readership #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:31am via TweetChat

Asimov built his readership via the Magazines (which don't really exist now) -- today it's online fiction that builds following #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:33am via TweetChat

I offered folks pdf files of 5 anthologies published by Wildside Press to be distributed free as advertising (whole stories, not a sampler).  DM me on twitter ( @jlichtenberg ) if you want them, or by now you may find them on amazon. 
@davidlesummers asked if Asimov was in them and I answered.

@davidleesummers No Asimov stories in those free anthologies though. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:33am via TweetChat

@Wyld_Dandelyon Like most SF writers (Hal Clement comes to mind) of that era, Asimov didn't do Relationship well #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:35am via TweetChat

@Wyld_Dandelyon It was Asimov's popularity that made publishers draw a hard line in the sane against ROMANCE in SF #scifichat

@Wyld_Dandelyon Because Asimov, Heinlein, Clement, et. al. could not write Relationship, the readership was anti-Relationship #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:37am via TweetChat

We're talking about Asimov, but Clement was in his circle too, and Hal Clement read my first novel and declared it would sell. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:40am via TweetChat

RT @davidleesummers: @JLichtenberg Were they Asimov et al really anti-relationship, or was it that SF was purely perceived as a "boys" market? #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:42am via TweetChat

Star Trek gathered a 50% female following AND Asimov, Clement, Sturgeon the whole pack of First Fandom! #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:42am via TweetChat

A8 most meaningful to me, I can't quote Asimov, but I heard him at ABA in DC trying to convince LIBRARIANS ebooks were future #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:47am via TweetChat

Now to the Asimov annecdotes. He was on a BIG poster for Apple Computer(?) I think it was Apple who gave him a computer #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:49am via TweetChat

Asimov made himself write a novel on that computer he was given, so they could use it in an advertisement. Then he abandoned it #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:51am via TweetChat

I got my 1st computer in 1980 or so, and haven't written any other way since. So maybe I'm more RAH than Asimov-esque #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:52am via TweetChat

A5 - Asimov lived in NYC and really fit in there in many ways. The Cold War gave New Yorkers much pause #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 11:54am via TweetChat

@simonm223 But then ASIMOV did everything from Medieval Studies through Physics (& nonfic on physics) Rennaisance Man #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:02pm via TweetChat

Asimov's Nonfic was popular because barrier of techphobia was melting just like the Soviet Union (founded on fear of Aristocrats) #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:10pm via TweetChat

A6 I don't think you can separate Asimov's Yiddish background from his New Yorker social milieu which is very mixed #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:12pm via TweetChat

A6 Asimov specialized in thinking the unthinkable, and doing it first. He competed with RAH and Clement etc, racing forward #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:16pm via TweetChat

Asimov was very intelligent, and thought faster than most people. He read faster too. He devoured nonfic and made it fic! #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:17pm via TweetChat

Asimov created the concept of a Future History and Psychohistory because he could read & remember so much. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:18pm via TweetChat

You all know that Asimov didn't fly even to cons. He'd only go where he could take the train. & it wasn't ecology at issue #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:19pm via TweetChat

Asimov was a likeable guy, affectionate and warm in person, affable and large of spirit #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:23pm via TweetChat

Now we come to the lecherous part of Asimov-in-person. But let me remind you this is a minor and trivial aspect of his being #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:25pm via TweetChat

He was Asimov-Writ-Large in every personal/public encounter -- and totally different inside his own abode I'm told. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:27pm via TweetChat

Asimov wore drama like a cloak, and exaggerated lecherousness was just another example. His personality was consistent. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:30pm via TweetChat

So, at ST cons where we often met, Asimov would treat me just like every other female within reach, hands-all-over-curves #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:33pm via TweetChat

Asimov was very physical with his hands on women. Today that's seen as sexual harassment & could get him jailed. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:34pm via TweetChat

Back then, it was something you put up with until you could surreptitiously nix it. But Asimov had PUBLIC POWER. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:35pm via TweetChat

Here's the truth as I see it. Asimov was not actually lecherous, or at least not by fannish standards of the time. He PLAYED IT #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:36pm via TweetChat

Asimov played the lecherous sod the same way he played the overweening pride, exaggerated for dramatic effect. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:37pm via TweetChat

And all that play-acting covered a wondrous, warm, gentle, marvelously deep and perceptive Asimov. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:37pm via TweetChat

Asimov's wildest boasts on stage were actually vast modesty, because he seldom touched on his real accomplishments #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:38pm via TweetChat

So Asimov himself, as a person, felt to me like SPOCK. Way super-intelligent, gentle, deep, complex, vastly sensitive. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:39pm via TweetChat

Meanwhile, David Rozansky and others were talking about Asimov's Foundation novels.  I chimed in:

@DavidRozansky Of course Asimov nailed "the future" trends as often and as accurately as Heinlein did. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:40pm via TweetChat

@DavidRozansky Asimov's psychohistory was right-on because of his vast perspective on humanity. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:41pm via TweetChat

@DavidRozansky I just tried to explain where inside Asimov that future history and other great contribs came from. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:41pm via TweetChat

@ebonstorm @Wyld_Dandelyon I hope I made the point that I personally feel Asimov was actually a very humble person #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:42pm via TweetChat

@DavidRozansky We couldn't be here were it not for Asimov, Clement, Sturgeon, Heinlein, et. al. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:48pm via TweetChat

@DavidRozansky So what would Asimov have done with FALLEN SKIES? A simple war-story? Or humanity's opportunity at the stars? #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:53pm via TweetChat

Asimov's visionary books led into an interstellar civilization for humanity, yet he, himself, didn't want to fly in an aircraft. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:56pm via TweetChat

@PHCMarchesi @elizabethkarr Thank you for spreading the word about this chat, this week on Asimov. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 12:58pm via TweetChat
RT @JasonMHardy: @JLichtenberg That's too bad--a conversation between Sturgeon and Asimov would be epic! #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 1:00pm via TweetChat

RT @rfamovie: Check out @JLichtenberg timeline for comments on Isaac Asimov, who she knew personally. #scifichat
JLichtenberg Jul 08, 1:28pm via Nambu

A couple of people retweeted what  @rfamovie (a screenwriter) said. 

So that's why I'm putting this post up.  I did other tweets and answers in between these but couldn't retrieve it all in any semblance of order. 

And the next morning, an old friend turned up on twitter http://twitter.com/michaelspence  and we had a nice exchange. 

He pointed me to a blog entry of his that I then put up on facebook.  You might want to look at this if you're interested in podcasts.  That is one distribution channel Asimov didn't envision - but he could never have convinced the anti-ebook librarians to admit that such a thing as a podcast could ever come into existence, nevermind popularity.

Here's the link he referred me to:

And here's his comment he dropped on my facebook "share" of this link:

MichaelSpence: Thank you for sharing this with your circles! When anyone asks me what's so special about radio or podcast fiction, I refer them to this piece. For people who especially like action/adventure with generous admixtures of humor, I also refer them to Decoder Ring Theater (decoderringtheater.com).

That started a whole conversation, and Michael Spence ended up contracted to read House of Zeor

 for audiobook release.  That project is currently greenlighted while I'm reviewing the audiobook recording of my novel Molt Brother. 

Jacqueline Lichtenberg


  1. Great post – I’m going to Tweet about your blog.

  2. Alexander -- thank you. Every tweet counts! Asimov was an inspiration to so many writers, and my entire Sime~Gen Universe background is a result of studying his future-history concept. It was after the first novel, House of Zeor, was published that I met him and realized he really is "that brilliant."

  3. Your post really helped me to understand the "Twitter Chat On Isaac Asimov". It has great details and yet it is easy to understand.
    That's what i was looking for. I will definately share it with others.

    Thanks for sharing.