Introduction

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.

-1-

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The Roving Mind
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Roving Mind *
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword Isaac Asimov: Science Popularizer, Skeptic, and Rationalist xi
  • A Celebration of Isaac Asimov — a Man for the Universe xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I the Religious Radicals *
  • 1: The Army of the Night *
  • 3: The Reagan Doctrine 20
  • 4: The Blind Who Would Lead 24
  • 5: Creeping Censorship 27
  • 6: Losing the Debate 29
  • Part II Other Aberrations 30
  • 7: The Harvest of Intelligence *
  • 8: That Old-Time Violence 37
  • 9: Little Green Men or Not? 40
  • 10: Don'T You Believe? 43
  • 11: Open Mind? 47
  • 12: The Role of the Heretic 49
  • Part III Population *
  • 13: The Good Earth is Dying *
  • 14: The Price of Survival 66
  • 15: Letter to a Newborn Child 72
  • Part IV Science: Opinion 74
  • 16: Technophobia *
  • 17: What Have You Done for Us Lately? 84
  • 18: Speculation 88
  • 19: Is It Wise for Us to Contact Advanced Civilizations? 92
  • 20: Pure and Impure 97
  • 21: Do We Regulate Science? 104
  • 22: For Public Understanding of Science 107
  • 23: Science Corps 110
  • 24: Science and Beauty 113
  • 25: Art and Science 116
  • 26: The Fascination of Science 120
  • 27: Sherlock Holmes as Chemist 127
  • Part V Science: Explanation 132
  • 28: The Global Jigsaw *
  • 29: The Inconstant Sun 139
  • 30: The Sky of the Satellites 151
  • 31: The Surprises of Pluto 157
  • 32: Neutron Stars 160
  • 33: Black Holes 162
  • 34: Faster Than Light 165
  • 35: Hyperspace 169
  • 36: Beyond the Universe 175
  • 37: Life on Earth 183
  • Part VI the Future 188
  • 38: Transportation and the Future *
  • 39: The Corporation of the Future 200
  • 40: The Future of Collecting 208
  • 41: The Computerized World 214
  • 42: The Individualism to Come 228
  • 43: The Coming Age of Age 237
  • 44: The Decade of Decision 244
  • 45: Do You Want to Be Cloned? 251
  • 46: The Hotel of the Future 256
  • 47: The Future of Plants 262
  • 48: Bacterial Engineering 266
  • 49: Flying in Time to Come 272
  • 50: The Ultimate in Communication 278
  • 51: His Own Particular Drummer 285
  • 52: The Future of Exploration 295
  • 53: Homo Obsoletus? 300
  • 54: Volatiles for the Life on Luna 307
  • 55: Touring the Moon 312
  • 56: Life on a Space Settlement 317
  • 57: The Payoff in Space 324
  • Part VII Personal *
  • 58: I Am a Signpost *
  • 59: The Word-Processor and I 334
  • 60: A Question of Speed 337
  • 61: A Question of Spelling 340
  • 62: My Father 344
  • Acknowledgments 348
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