The Roving Mind

The Roving Mind

The Roving Mind

The Roving Mind


Isaac Asimov's death on April 6, 1992, was a great loss to literature, science, and freethought. The vision of one of America's most prolific authors is unmatched today, and his pointed honesty shines through in this fascinating collection of essays, now reissued in this special tribute edition. Asimov demonstrates his extraordinary skill at disseminating knowledge from across the spectrum of scientific disciplines as his roving mind ranges from the polemical to the persuasive, from the speculative to the realistic. The sixty-two essays in this volume include such subjects as creationism, the distinction between real science and pseudoscience, censorship, the population explosion, technophobia, the social consequences of technological progress, cloning, the possibility of contacting extraterrestrial life, and the wonders of the cosmos. There are also thoughts on his style of writing, stories about his personal life, and recollections of family history - all written in the clear and elegant prose for which Asimov was noted.


I have the roving mind of the title, as well as an easy touch at the typewriter (or word-processor), and editors have found that out. The result is that although, left to myself, I would in any case deal with a wide variety of subjects, I am forced to extend myself even further by the suggestions of pleasant people who want to fill the pages of their magazines with matters they consider both important and of interest to their readers.

I might, of course, turn them down and, with an austere smile, do whatever it is I would do if I weren't being prodded. There are, unfortunately, two reasons why I do not do this.

First, I am the softest touch in the world. A little bit of flattery, a few words to the effect that only I am skilled enough to deal with the subject properly or that only I am professional enough to get it in by deadlines and I will accede to anything. And if it happens that an adequate fee is mentioned, that doesn't hurt either. (I am far too noble a soul, of course, to have the slightest regard for money, but there are numerous crass and vulgar people in the world who expect money in return for goods and services and whose bills drop softly, repeatedly, and punctually into my letterbox.It is for their sake, and not for mine, that I ever allow the subject of financial remuneration to arise.)

Second, there is that phrase about doing "whatever it is I would do if I weren't being prodded." Actually, I haven't figured out what that might be. I've considered golf, travel, lying in the sun, watching television, going to parties, and various other alternatives, and found them uniformly vile.The only thing I really want to do is to sit at a typewriter (or word-processor) and unreel my thoughts. For that reason, I am actually very grateful to editors who prod me and make it easier for me to do so.

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