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1.1 Just how many books did Asimov write?




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This article is from the Isaac Asimov FAQ, by Edward J. Seiler ejseiler@earthlink.net and John H. Jenkins jenkins@mac.com with numerous contributions by others.

1.1 Just how many books did Asimov write?

Short answer:

An awful lot. Hundreds.

Long answer:

Well, it depends on how you count them.

For example, the most complete Asimov bibliography which Asimov himself
had a hand in preparing is the catalogue in I. Asimov: A Memoir . It
lists 469 items, including 2 wall posters and a calendar (which some
people might not be inclined to count as "books"). It also lists 117
science fiction anthologies, none of which are entirely by Asimov, and
many of which include no stories by him (and so some people might be
inclined not to count *those*). There are also books which were almost
entirely written by someone else (the Superquiz books,
From Harding to Hiroshima , the Book of Facts ) which Asimov counted
because he had an extensive role in the editing of the book. Some books
were counted more than once if Asimov did extensive work on later editions
(such as the Biographical Encyclopedia ). And, of course, Asimov
recycled many of his stories and essays so that they appeared in more than
one collection, and some books are nothing but recyclings of older books.

On the other hand, the catalogue in I. Asimov: A Memoir is not
complete. Near the end of his life, Asimov's ill health kept him from
keeping careful track himself of all the books he published, and so some
books were left out of the catalogue. Some books, of course, were
published after I. Asimov: A Memoir and so are not listed there. Ed
Seiler's list of books (see below) includes numerous titles missing from
the catalogue in I. Asimov: A Memoir , and ends up with a count of
somewhat over 500.

And then there are books like Harlan Ellison's
I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay . It is based on Asimov's work, and
both Asimov's and Ellison's name are listed on the title page, but the
actual work on the screenplay is virtually all Ellison's. It was published
in book form after Asimov's death, which makes it difficult to know if
Asimov himself would have counted it. Does it count as an "Asimov" book?

So about the only definitive answer that can be provided at this point is:
An awful lot. Hundreds.

 

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