History Creator / IsaacAsimov

21st Jul '16 11:49:10 PM PaulA
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** ''Literature/TheGodsThemselves'' is from Schiller: "Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain".



* FairplayWhodunnit: ''Literature/TheCavesOfSteel'' and its sequels were written to show a Sci-Fi FairplayWhodunnit was possible.



* InNameOnly:
** The 2004 ''Film/IRobot'' movie starring Will Smith began its life as an original screenplay called ''Hardwired'' before the Asimov rights were shoehorned into it. This tends to be true of all movie projects connected to his name. (An amusing exception is ''Literature/FantasticVoyage'', for which he wrote the novelisation, but his writing speed meant that the book appeared over a year before the movie, leading most people to believe that the movie was the adaptation.)
** Asimov's compilation, ''Mind and Iron'', was changed by his publisher to ''Literature/IRobot'', despite Asimov's protests that ''I, Robot'' was already [[Literature/AdamLink a short story by Eando Binder]].



* MiraculousMalfunction: Frequent in his robot stories. Most significantly, in the "Liar" short story, where the robot's psychic abilities are the result of a production accident.

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* MiraculousMalfunction: Frequent in his robot stories. Most significantly, in stories; for instance, it's the "Liar" short story, where the robot's psychic abilities are the result key to "Light Verse", in which a house-cleaning robot is terrible at house-cleaning but capable of a production accident.creating astonishing works of art.



** For a particularly unusual example of time travel in his works, you have to go to an early (1955), harder-to-find novel that's currently out of print, ''Literature/TheEndOfEternity''.



* TitleDrop: Most of his short stories' titles are mentioned or uttered in the stories, but notably in ''Literature/TheGodsThemselves'' where the title of the book and the titles of each of the three parts are said by the first part's main character in one quote ("Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain," first said by the German playwright Friedrich Schiller).
21st Jul '16 11:27:16 PM PaulA
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* ClockDiscrepancy:
** In one of the ''Black Widowers'' mysteries, where a character is woken up by a phone call at a time that is actually an hour later than he thinks it is (because he hasn't yet set his clock forward for Daylight Savings Time) and thus unwittingly provides a false alibi.
** In another Black Widowers story, a discrepancy between 5:50 (which would exonerate the accused) and "half past five" (which incriminates him) is resolved in favor of the former -- the witness reporting the latter was an accountant used to decimal numbers who unconsciously interpreted the digital clock display as "five and a half".



* ExactWords: The resolution of one of the Black Widowers stories hinges on this. [[spoiler:Their guest that evening, who claims to never tell a lie, is suspected of a robbery and repeatedly insists "I didn't take the cash or the bonds". This is shown by Henry to be true; he took the cash ''and'' the bonds.]]
** He also noted that this was one of the most glaring flaws in the Three Laws. A less intelligent AI could misunderstand a command and still be compelled to follow it to the letter, or worse, fail to see how an action might ''indirectly'' harm itself or a human. Meanwhile a sufficiently ''intelligent'' AI could employ LoopholeAbuse to enact ZerothLawRebellion, and would possibly even be ''compelled to do so by the wording of the three laws themselves'': the three laws forbid a human to come to harm through ''inaction''.

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* ExactWords: The resolution of one of the Black Widowers stories hinges on this. [[spoiler:Their guest that evening, who claims to never tell a lie, is suspected of a robbery and repeatedly insists "I didn't take the cash or the bonds". This is shown by Henry to be true; he took the cash ''and'' the bonds.]]
**
He also noted that this was one of the most glaring flaws in the Three Laws. A less intelligent AI could misunderstand a command and still be compelled to follow it to the letter, or worse, fail to see how an action might ''indirectly'' harm itself or a human. Meanwhile a sufficiently ''intelligent'' AI could employ LoopholeAbuse to enact ZerothLawRebellion, and would possibly even be ''compelled to do so by the wording of the three laws themselves'': the three laws forbid a human to come to harm through ''inaction''.



* FairplayWhodunnit: The ''Black Widower'' mystery short stories play this straight. ''Literature/TheCavesOfSteel'' and its sequels were written to show a Sci-Fi FairplayWhodunnit was possible.

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* FairplayWhodunnit: The ''Black Widower'' mystery short stories play this straight. ''Literature/TheCavesOfSteel'' and its sequels were written to show a Sci-Fi FairplayWhodunnit was possible. possible.



* PhoneInDetective: Henry from the "Black Widowers" stories, who solved the mystery at dinner based on the guest's description and the other members' batting around various possibilities. Also Wendell Urth, the stay-at-home (because of his phobia of any form of travel other than walking) protagonist of a few stories.

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* PhoneInDetective: Henry from the "Black Widowers" stories, who solved the mystery at dinner based on the guest's description and the other members' batting around various possibilities. Also Wendell Urth, the stay-at-home (because of his phobia of any form of travel other than walking) protagonist of a few stories.



* RealityIsUnrealistic: The Black Widowers story "Where Is He?" was the subject of many letters criticizing Asimov for such an outlandish and far-fetched plot. Asimov responded that the very thing happened to him, with the locations of the hotel and the office building unchanged.



* TakeThat: In his "Black Widowers" story "The Missing Item", Asimov delivers one to Erich von Daniken, as well as the AncientAstronauts trope in general, having one of his characters state that belief in these ideas shows just how gullible people are.
21st Jul '16 10:14:28 PM PaulA
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* SpottingTheThread: In "No Refuge Could Save", one of the Union Club Mysteries, a foreign spy is detected because he can quote from [[spoiler:the third verse of the national anthem]] from memory -- a sign that he's made an effort to memorize the whole thing, where most Americans just pick up the first bit by osmosis and don't bother about the rest.
21st Jul '16 10:01:32 PM PaulA
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* DrivingQuestion: In "The Last Question", a succession of people attempt to answer the question: Can entropy be reversed?


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* ExplosiveOverclocking: In "The Red Queen's Race", to send something back in time someone overclocks a ''nuclear power station'', making it a bunch of scrap.


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* GoodBadTranslation: In the Spanish translation of his non-fiction book ''A Choice of Catastrophes'' (about [[ApocalypseHow ways everything can end]]), ''[[UsefulNotes/BlackHoles black holes]]'' become ''ventanas negras'' (''black windows'').


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* HeyCatch: In the short story [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singing_Bell "The Singing Bell"]] this is used to [[spoiler:catch a thief and a murderer]].


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* KillItWithWater: In "Rain, Rain, Go Away", a strange couple melt in the rain, apparently because they were made of sugar.


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* MarsNeedsWater: In the novella ''The Martian Way'' spacecraft use water from Earth as reaction mass. To stir up anti-Martian sentiment as part of his campaign, an Earth politician named "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Hilder]]" (though Asimov planned it as an attack on [[UsefulNotes/JosephMcCarthy Senator McCarthy]]) says that spacers are using up Earth's water. In response the Martians go to Saturn and haul home one of the ice chunk asteroids which make up Saturn's rings, providing them with enough water to last 2000 years. The Martians snarkily offer to sell Earth some to "make up for" the minuscule amount of Earth water they've used over the years.


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* MentalPictureProjector: The short story "Think!" featured an auditory equivalent, allowing two people with electrodes hooked up to their skulls to communicate thoughts directly. The scientists involved were rightly sceptical and perform several tests to make sure they aren't imagining things. When they try a control test, by directly connecting the input electrodes to each other, the scientist on the receiving end suddenly looks terrified and pulls the electrodes apart moments afterward. Apparently, he heard the machine itself [[InstantAIJustAddWater start to think...]]


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* SmallUniverseAfterAll: The distant future depicted in "The Last Question" has intergalactic travel as a background detail.
24th Jun '16 7:11:59 AM JCCyC
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* ApocalypseHow: A [[spoiler:reversible]] ApocalypseHow/ClassX4 happens in ''The Last Question''.
8th Jun '16 6:42:10 PM PaulA
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* PrescienceByAnalysis: In "All the Troubles of the World", the supercomputer Multivac is given full data on the entire Earth, including all of its citizens. It uses this information to predict the future actions of human beings and eliminate political crises, war and poverty. Recently it has been given the responsibility to predict all crimes in advance so they can be prevented from occurring.
16th May '16 5:05:00 PM Arcorann
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As you might expect, various of his stories may be found online - notably his own favorite among those that he wrote, "[[http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html The Last Question]]", and one many consider his best, "[[http://doctord.dyndns.org:8000/Stories/Nightfall.htm Nightfall]]".

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As you might expect, various of his stories may be found online - notably his own favorite among those that he wrote, "[[http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html The Last Question]]", and one many consider his best, "[[http://doctord.dyndns.org:8000/Stories/Nightfall.org/Stories/Nightfall.htm Nightfall]]".
15th May '16 4:22:41 PM mavacca
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* {{Zeerust}}: See "Science Marches On" above.

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* {{Zeerust}}: See "Science Marches On" above.in the YMMV page.
15th May '16 4:14:03 PM mavacca
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* ScienceMarchesOn: When robots and computers actually arrived, they didn't work anything like he predicted (though it's worth noting that most other writers of the time were even ''more'' off base). People reading it today might mistakenly think this is a mistake on his part; obviously, it isn't, since there was nothing to use for reference at the time. When he started writing, basic computer theory was still being developed, and the electronic computer hadn't been invented yet. Notable especially for what he thought would be easy and what would be hard are quite different. He thought in 2061 we'd still be using vacuum tubes but have self-aware AI. He didn't think the equivalent of a modern integrated circuit chip would be invented until after tens of thousands of years of refinement.
** To the point where he wrote about pilots plotting hyperspace courses using sextants, reference books and slide rules. On the other hand, while computers were still room-filling behemoths, he envisioned a society in which no one learned to do basic math because everyone had cheap, portable calculating devices.
** This trope only applies to his fiction, though, as all his non-fiction writings about science, especially his chemistry works, are considered to have been very accurate and consistent with contemporary understanding.
** In ''A Pebble in the Sky'' there's an extended section describing the role of proteins as genetic material. The book was published in 1950, two years before the definite experiment which proved that DNA was the genetic material.
** One short story centered around the fact that only one suspect would consider outside of a building to be a safe place to hide undeveloped film, the researcher who lived on Mercury, which had no day/night cycle and therefore would not recall that the sun rises on Earth and would ruin the film. A few years after that was published, astronomers proved that Mercury did rotate (albeit very slowly, three times per year, producing one local day every two years), unintentionally making this ConvictionByCounterfactualClue. Later printings included author's notes to the effect that he wanted to fix this but couldn't figure out how to do it without rewriting the entire plot.
** Whenever this happened, he joked that the scientists should have gotten it right to begin with, and he didn't see why he should have to change his work because of their mistakes.
15th May '16 4:11:50 PM mavacca
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* HeAlsoDid: ''Everything.'' Asimov wrote for every category of book you can name, short of cookbooks.
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