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2.10 Did Isaac Asimov do anything other than write all day and all night?




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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.

2.10 Did Isaac Asimov do anything other than write all day and all night?

Although famous for writing over eight hours a day, seven days a week,
Asimov found time to do a few other things beside writing.

He was a member of the Dutch Treat Club, a group that met for lunch every
Tuesday at the Regency Hotel in New York. He joined the club in 1971 and
was made president in 1985.

He joined the Baker Street Irregulars in 1973, a group of avid Sherlock
Holmes fans that held an annual banquet to celebrate Holmes' birthday.
Asimov admitted that he was not a true Holmes enthusiast, but enjoyed
delivering banquet toasts, speeches, and singing sentimental songs.

Asimov was a Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiast since his youth, when he
listened to the plays on the radio. In 1970 he joined the Gilbert and
Sullivan Society, and attended almost all of their meetings. He regularly
attended G & S productions in Manhattan, and occasionally served as
toastmaster at benefit shows. He loved to sing songs from the shows, and
was quite proud of his singing voice (among other things).

He was also a P. G. Wodehouse fan, and a member of The Wodehouse Society.
He acknowledged that the character of Henry, the waiter who played a
central role in his Black Widower stories, was based on Wodehouse's Jeeves
the butler. He also paid tribute to the influence of Wodehouse in his
Azazel short stories.

He belonged to an all-male club called the Trap Door Spiders, which met
for dinner one Friday night every month, treating a guest invited by the
host to dinner in return for the privilege of grilling him about his life
and work. The club formed the basis for the Black Widower mystery short
stories. The characters were loosely modeled on actual club members as
follows:

Black Widower      Trap Door Spider
=============      ================
Geoffrey Avalon    L. Sprague de Camp
Emmanuel Rubin     Lester del Rey
James Drake        Doc Clark
Thomas Trumball    Gilbert Cant
Mario Gonzalo      Lin Carter
Roger Halsted      Don Bensen
Henry              fictional

Asimov joined Mensa, the high-IQ society, in the early 1960s, but found
that many of the members were arrogant about their supposed intelligence,
so he let his membership lapse. However when he moved back to New York,
he became an active member once again, and gave speeches to groups of
Mensans on a number of occasions. Yet once again membership became a
burden for him, so he resigned from the group.

Asimov was a member of the Explorers Club, and served as master of
ceremonies for two years at their annual banquet.

 

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