Isaac Asimov and his Literary Prophesy essay

Isaac Asimov is a popular science fiction writer and scientist. He was born in Russia in Jewish family but soon after his birth his family immigrated to the U.S.  Since early years Isaac was interested in fictional books and at the age of 9 he began writing fictional stories himself. His stories were published in Science fiction magazines. Isaac Asimov graduated the Columbian University and later returned there to earn Ph. D. in biochemistry. His interested to biochemistry had major influence on his works. After he got his Ph. D. he went to work in the School of Medicine which belonged to the Boston University. His research work became a great contribution to the development biochemistry. Isaac combined working at the University with writing.

Asimov became one of the most famous science fiction writers of his time. Along with Robert Heinlein and Arthur Clark he belonged to the Big Three of science fiction. His works determined the development of science fiction for many years. His short story Nightfall was recognized as a best science fiction short story of all time. Asimov wrote both, short stories and novels. Despite he mostly wrote science fiction prose, he also worked in genres of fantasy, mystery and nonfiction genre. His science fiction works can be divided into three series. They are divided into Foundation Series, Galactic Empire Series the Robot Series.

As he himself wrote in his autobiographical work, What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for (Asimov, 1996, 201).

He believed that his literary works should have been regarded and estimated as one whole. Readers can understand his credo only if they perceive all his works in their variety and complexity. His works are not aimed as mere entertainment for his readers. He wanted to make people think. For this purposes he uses a historical approach. It aims to make people see past mistakes of the mankind in order to avoid them in the future. From the other side he turns his attention to the future and shows possible course of events if people do not get lessons from their history and repeat same mistakes.

In his Foundation Series Asimov not only describes and explores the life of imaginary Empire. In these series the author does a deep research of different forms of governmental power and the way they interact with each other.

Korell is that frequent phenomenon in history: the republic whose ruler has every attribute of the absolute monarch but the name. It therefore enjoyed the usual despotism unrestrained even by those two moderating influences in the legitimate monarchies: regal honor’ and court etiquette (Asimov, 1944). In metaphorical and symbolic way Asimov shows his reades the very essence of despotic rule. In a very bright, picutresue and entertaining manner he speaks about serous things, such as threat of despotism for human creatures, same as it threates the inhabitants of his imaginary worlds.

The Robot Series make another important aspect of Asimov’s work. One, a robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; Two, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; Three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws (Asimov, 2004, 135). The works, which constitute the Robot series, make a detailed examination of mechanical mind and its peculiarities. The stories about robots have deeper meaning than exploring the features of the artificial intellect and the way it can influence human civilization. Through the study of robots Isaac Asimov makes an attempt to find characteristics, which distinguish people from robots. By the study of robots he makes an attempt to catch the very essence of humanness and explain it to the reader. His robots can do most of the things humans do. They make complicated calculations, reflect on important topics, and make good logical conclusions. Then Asimov goes further and gives robots peculiar characteristic of human beings he gives them feelings. The readers feel compassionate for the robots, who think and act just like them. The difference between robots and humans becomes less and less in Asimov’s stories. For example, in his short story called Evidence it becomes almost impossible to distinguish a robot from a human. This complicated interaction is reflected in his later works dedicated to robots. So called Zeroth Law of Robotics, which   aims to protect human beings from dangerous actions of robots gives set of rule, which prohibit robots to hurt humans by any conditions. This progress of his works uncovers potential dangers, which can be caused by artificial intellect. One more time Isaac proves that intellect without feelings and morals, the one which robots have, can be much more dangerous than ignorance. In his later works of the Robot series Asimov very closely approaches to the things, which distinguish humans and robots. Humans can be not as clever as robots, they may not possess that physical power and ability to regeneration, as robots do, but still there is one thing, which makes them superior to robots. They have feelings, compassion and moral. During many experiments, which he describes in his books, Asimov proves that these qualities can not be taught or developed. Even robots, who imitate other human characteristics quite well, can not be equaled to humans because they lack intrinsic knowledge of what is right and wrong. This knowledge is not something, which can be taught. It can be only discovered inside the person and robots do not have this ability.

Asimov’s woks touch other important themes, such as paternalism, religion and threat of totalitarism. His works not only entertain his readers but also teach them important moral values and make think about important issues.

Professional information, which the author uses in his works, helps his readers to gain special knowledge in many fields of science. Asimov uses his literary talent in order to make his readers more familiar with human history and help them to appreciate modern technological advances. He also appeals to the feelings of his readers, because he puts moral messages in everything he creates. That is the reason he became so popular during his epoch and continues to influence further generations of science fiction writers.

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