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Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov by Michael White.

I'm way behind on my bookblogging, but here's a quick take on one I read several months ago.

I got this hoping it would provide a different perspective on this author from the (three!) autobiographies. Unfortunately, it really doesn't: it's mostly a paraphrase of Asimov's version of events. One welcome exception is White does rightfully spank Asimov for his attitude and actions during his time in the army. (Asimov had strongly favored the U.S. entering WWII, but was exempted from service due to his work at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyards. After the war he was drafted and reacted poorly, whining and fighting tooth and nail to get out. He finally received an early discharge due to a technicality. Asimov seemed totally unaware of how shamefully he had behaved.)

White also accepts without comment Asimov's own account of his divorce and the beginning of his relationship with Janet Jeppson, his second wife. I find this version of events difficult to believe: Asimov acknowledged he had been cheating on his first wife with various women for more than a decade, but he claimed he had not cheated specifically with Janet during the marriage, though by his own admission he moved in with her almost immediately after the separation. His story just doesn't pass the smell test. Asimov may have felt the need to keep up the facade - presumably for divorce settlement reasons - but his biographer should at least mention this seems suspicious. (White explains in his afterword to this edition that at the time he originally wrote this bio he knew Asimov had had AIDS - from a blood transfusion - but he kept it out of the book at the request of the family.)

Not recommended - it contributes nothing new of importance.

(Incidentially, as a child of the eighties I was very amused to learn this biographer used to be a member of the Thompson Twins.)

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Three Things

The SciFi Channel - sorry, Syfy - is currently showing a Land of the Lost marathon. For some reason, this marathon is being sponsored not by this summer's Land of the Lost movie, but by the remake of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. As for the show itself, the actors are amazingly, jaw-droppingly bad, and they're wearing so much orange makeup they look like Oompa-Loompas.

Childhood me, why did you have such bad taste?

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Broadband in the Boondocks Follow-Up

Wow, a booster antenna with a cellular modem really helps a lot!

(Posting this via my new netbook while sitting in a swing on my front porch, so my new wireless network seems to be working pretty well too.)

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Broadband in the Boondocks

I'm very happy to say that as of this morning, I now have broadband here at the farmhouse.

That is all.

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Quick Comment on Dollhouse (no spoilers)

Well, that was better than I was expecting from the lukewarm reviews. Whedon is being too po-faced, though - not playing to his strength.

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Tangential Inauguration Note

Well, I see Dick Cheney has finally completed his transformation into Mr. Potter.

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They're Too Much

For those of us who didn't get enough kitsch stop-motion animation Christmas specials back in the seventies, ABC Family will be airing a new one on December 13: A Miser Brothers Christmas. It'll star our favorite characters from The Year Without A Santa Claus, Heat Miser and Snow Miser (well, duh!), and will apparently include a reprise of their original dueling songs, as well as . . . groan . . . some new crap too. Also, prepare to meet (brace yourself) "Doppler the baby reindeer". (Rudolf's child?)

Oh, this is gonna hurt.

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