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Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov Quotes

Quotes by and about Isaac Asimov

(Continued from his main entry on the site.)

Asimov: "It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor."

Asimov: "I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing - to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might ... get me a Pulitzer prize."

Asimov: "The only people I ever met whose intellects surpassed my own were Carl Sagan and Marvin Minsky."

Asimov: "I do all my own typing, my own research, answer my own mail. I don't even have a literary agent. This way there are no arguments, no instructions, no misunderstandings. I work every day. Sunday is my best day: no mail, no telephones. Writing is my only interest. Even speaking is an interruption."

Asimov: "I have been fortunate to be born with a restless and efficient brain, with a capacity for clear thought and an ability to put that thought into words. None of this is to my credit. I am the beneficiary of a lucky break in the genetic sweepstakes."

Asimov: "I make no effort to write poetically or in a high literary style. I try only to write clearly and I have the very good fortune to think clearly so that the writing comes out as I think, in satisfactory shape."

Asimov: "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"

Asimov: "Happiness is doing it rotten your own way."

Asimov: "No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be."

Asimov: "I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."

Asimov: "Consider the most famous pure dystopian tale of modern times, 1984, by George Orwell. ... I consider it an abominably poor book. It made a big hit (in my opinion) only because it rode the tidal wave of cold war sentiment in the United States."

Asimov: "I can be remarkably self-absorbed."

Asimov: "Why is it, I wonder, that anyone who displays superior athletic ability is an object of admiration to his classmates, while one who displays superior mental ability is an object of hatred? Is there some hidden understanding that it is brains, not muscles, that define the human being and that children who are not good at athletics are simply not good, while those that are not smart feel themselves to be subhuman? I don't know."

Asimov: "To be sure, the Bible contains the direct words of God. How do we know? The Moral Majority says so. How do they know? They say they know and to doubt it makes you an agent of the Devil. ... Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly."

Asimov: "[My writing involves] a little bit of cribbin' from the works of Edward Gibbon."

Asimov: "When I read ... about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think ... that American society has found one more way to destroy itself."

Asimov: "They say I have 'an ego the size of the Empire State Building.' ... [It is true that] I think highly of myself, but only for qualities that, in my opinion, deserve admiration. I also have many shortcomings and faults and I admit them freely, but no one seems to notice that."

The Guardian: "A man of little false humility, Asimov could be self-deprecating and self-congratulatory at the same time."

Sidney C. Schaer: "[He had] an extraordinary combination of imagination and intellect: an imagination that allowed him to soar into the future matched with an intellect that allowed him to roam in the past and present, searching for explanations of anything and everything."

Simson Garfinkel: "Asimov was first a genius ... and only thirdly a sci-fi writer. Asimov [admits] his life would have been easier if he had learned to submerge his ego and get along with others. ... Indeed, it was this inability to get along with others that forced Asimov ... into the solitary life."

Harlan Ellison: "He had writer's block once. It was the worst ten minutes of his life."