1. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    Isaac Asimov's insane number of books (over 500).

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by IvoWriter, May 31, 2014.

    Hi again.
    I remember when I was reading Isaac Asimov's wikipedia page it was stated that he had written or edited around 500 books. This number seems insane to me. I was wondering what are you thoughts on this. Some writers take months even years to write 1 book. I wanted to hear your thoughts on this.
    I am not that familiar with mr. Asimov's work but I once found one of his stories and read it. To be honest - I was a bit disappointing. It was about a fictional planet about to be destroyed. "Nightfall".
    So the people on this planet were supposed to be aliens at least to us. But they were people doing mundane earth-people stuff - reading newspaper in the morning and so on. My guess is that his secret is he didn't do much research or try to imagine the details of a completely different planet and it's inhabitants. He just made the plot and started writing, using Earth habits and traditions as reference for the lifes of the "aliens".
    He also isn't very descriptive.
    What's the most number of books you think you can write if you just sit down at write?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Once your output gets that large, the quality suffers. Asimov had some good stuff and some not-so-good stuff. I'd rather put out a good book every few years. To answer your question, if I started now and continued writing until I was 75, I could probably complete anywhere from 15 to 25 novels.
     
  3. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    How old are you now ?
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    24. I'll be 25 in a little over a month, so I gave myself 50 years.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nightfall isn’t the best example for the argument that Asimov’s writing suffered from excessive productivity. It’s extremely well-regarded, a breakthrough for Asimov's career, an "instant classic." (Wikipedia: "In 1968, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted Nightfall the best science fiction short story written prior to the 1965 establishment of the Nebula Awards, and included it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.")

    I think that the similarity between the story characters and humans was part of the point--as I vaguely recall it, it's a "what if" story that addresses human nature and the ways that humans form their assumptions and beliefs. Making changes beyond those required for the "what if" would have been counterproductive, IMO.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If I recall correctly, he actually prefaces this fact in the story. One has to remember that Asimov, as one of the Golden Age writers of Sci-Fi, held more to the original premise that Science Fiction is necessarily a tool to speak about the human condition, not a showcase for speculative xenobiology. In the same way, his robot books are all about the human condition, not about robots.
     
  7. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Asimov was a genius. One of his many books was my college Physics book. I still have it somewhere. Nope! I just saw it on my upstairs bookshelf! :) Also I read the Foundation series and although it was exhausting, it was well written and worth the money. The Three Rules of Robotics came from him and exist to this day in more than just science fiction. I love that.

    That's his; the red one, on the bottom right. "Understanding Physics".

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Asimov was one of the masters of science fiction. I've read a lot of his work, and never found it to be under researched or hastily put together. Not everything he wrote was amazing-oh-my-god-best-book-ever, but he had quite a few incredible stories.

    Also, remember to, like @JetBlackGT pointed out, he didn't just write fiction, he wrote and edited textbooks and other types of nonfiction, like philosophy.

    He was a brilliantly intelligent man who also happened to be capable of writing at a brisk pace, and still having a pretty high ratio of good v. not-so-great.
     
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  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    This is totally off topic ...but I do love pictures of people's bookshelves! Whenever some author gets interviewed in a magazine, one that shows them sitting with their bookshelf behind them in the photo, I'm always perched like a quizzical parrot, head on one side, trying to read the titles!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
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  10. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    Guys, guys.. I never expressed any doubt that he is a good writer. And I know he has a lot of non-fiction books that are impressive.
    But for me personally I don't have much respect for old Sci-fi stuff like some asimov's work or John Carter from Mars. Because they totally disregard what we know about the Universe. In my opinion - Sci-fi should be about amazing alien worlds and technology that is so far ahead that it would seem magic to us. What's the point of having a story on another planet if you fill it with people who read newspapers, drink coffee and so on. Why not just have it set in future Earth?
    I was marveling at his productivity. I wonder how many hours a day did he write.
     
  11. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    His books were largely mystery and murder-mysteries. That sort can be framed in any way you want but they are still mysteries.
    Michael Crichton, as well.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because Nightfall depicts a civilization that has never seen night. That happens because it's about a planet that's in a complex gravitational relationship with several suns, so that every part of the planet always has light--until the incredibly rare moment when everything is in alignment for night to finally occur. Earth has only one sun, so that leaves Earth out as a setting for this thought experiment.

    But the story is about how Earth-like people would react to such a situation, what false assumptions and beliefs they'd come up with, so it makes sense for the people to otherwise be quite Earth-like. If Asimov had made them chartreuse multi-limbed telepathic time-travelers with a reproductive system involving five sexes, that would distract from the point.

    Now, there's no rule that you have to like Golden Age science fiction. (BTW, John Carter of Mars is not science fiction, it's science fiction fantasy, which is a quite different thing.) But I'm not clear on how the story ignores everything we know about the universe. In the world of Nightfall, I don't think that Earth necessarily even exists, so there is no matter of a coincidence of two human-like societies existing in the same universe.
     
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  13. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Imagine seeing stars, in the night sky, for the first time?
     
  14. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    If you want a really really good Sci-Fi. Might I direct your attention to Christopher Nolan's INTERSTELLAR. I'm really expecting it to be a cinematic masterpiece!
     
  15. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I have read a lot of speculative fiction, space opera, and science fantasy, but I still find that the old classics like those written by Asimov and Bradbury always make me think a lot more than anything that is just basically a guided tour of someone's imagination. I mean, stories like that are fun, but they never really get into the meat of existence as much as the classics do.

    But on that note, ever read Ringworld?
     
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  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In one of his memoirs he said he wrote 70 hours a week, typically.
     
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  17. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    That is doable. I write 30+ hours a week and have a 50 hour a week job :-( I don't think I could do more than 5,000 words a day on average though. My brain falls apart. I can't think after about 5,000 words. I can keep writing if it is a great story line but after 5K I have to slow down in order to keep it okay. Then I literally feel like I have a concussion. Seriously. I can't stay awake and writing is a monstrous effort. Again, if the story is amazing and engaging, I keep going and take it slower. Otherwise, stop when you hit 5K :) It's six to eight hours of average-effort work. :)
     
  18. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    WHOA! That's amazing. How can you get anything else done ? Going out, cooking, family, gym?
     
  19. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Being single with no kids helps a bunch ;-) I also get up at 4:30AM to give myself time to write, when I am at my most productive (right after a cup of coffee :)).
     
  20. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    And what time do you go to bed?
    I'm trying to compose my daily schedule and I want to see if I make it work: to have a job, a writing time and a social life.
     
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  21. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I stopped drag racing and see my friends a lot less. They understand especially since I met most of them on the local racing forums. They only remember me because of my writing and have been very positive about encouragement.

    Those jackasses helped me believe in myself and get going.

    I hit the sack between 7:30 and 8:30 but the thing that got me there was the realization that parents manage on not enough sleep. They do it to make their kid's dreams come true. If they can do it for their kid's dreams, dammit, I can do it for mine. :)
     
  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't have a set number, but at most I'd say I wouldn't put out any more than 8. I'm not sure why I say that though.
     

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