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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Postcard from Isaac Asimov to Me - From 1979

I posted my blog about Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman and Isaac Asimov in several other venues last night, including the Daily Kos, where a good discussion emerged about the impact of Asimov and his Foundation series. In the course of that discussion, a commentator - under the name of "thatvisionthing" - mentioned that he had written to Asimov with a question about the Foundation trilogy back in high school, and was thrilled to receive a reply.

This reminded me of the postcard I, too, had received from Isaac Asimov, back in 1979. I had sent him a copy of one of my first published scholarly articles - "Foundation and Dune: Science Fiction Rooted in Fundamental Concerns," published in Media and Methods, long since defunct. Asimov replied that-

Well, you can see for yourself below, in the scan of the postcard I just put on Daily Kos and here as well for my Infinite Regress readers. This exchange began an intermittent 12-year conversation with Asimov, mostly via phone and letters and postcards, with one brief meeting at an American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in New York. Probably the best-known result of this conversation was the Preface I asked Asimov to write for my first published book, In Pursuit of Truth: Essays on the Philosophy of Karl Popper in 1982, which he graciously agreed to do for the publisher's lofty payment of $100.

But this postcard has always meant the most to me. In later exchanges, which I'll get around to scanning and uploading sooner or later, Asimov referred to me as "Paul". But there is nothing like the first, and this "Dear Professor Levinson"...

More about Isaac Asimov and my philosophy-of-science fiction in the above interview


Because of that postcard, and because Asimov is to this day my all-time favorite author, I was especially pleased when Booklist gave my novel The Consciousness Plague the following review -

 photo THECONSCIOUSNESSPLAGUE5_zps8e1b18e3.jpg

See also my essay, Foundation, Dune, and LaPlace's Demon

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