My Isaac Asimov books: a bibliography in pictures

Reading my friend Michael A. Burstein’s post earlier today, “Thoughts: The Last Shuttle by Isaac Asimov” not only got my thinking about the end of the manned U.S. space program, but about Asimov and what he would think about the situation today. That in turn got me thinking about how much he’d written and how many books of his I’ve read and tried to collect. And so, I present below a bibliography in pictures of the Good Doctor. Or at least those books that I’ve managed to collect and cram onto my shelves. All images are high res and you can click on them and be able to read most of the titles. (Unless they are otherwise obscured.)

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We start (above) with the first shelf. I used sort my books alphabetically by author and then chronologically within an author, but as you’ll see, I never got them sorted chronologically after the last move nearly two years ago. So the Asimov books are all together, but pretty random. Probably the most interesting book above is Familiar Poems: Annotated. I own all of Isaac Asimov’s annotations, except Paradise Lost.

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Next (above) is the first full shelf of Asimov books. Way over on the left in his book Quick and Easy Math. Way over on the right are a couple of his How Did We Find Out About…? books. I own three editions to Asimov’s Guide to Science. The one above is the 1972 edition, given to me as a gift for my birthday a few years back (because I was born in 1972).

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The third shelf (above) has a first edition of Life & Energy (near the middle) and right next to that is a pretty rare edition of The Search for the Elements. I remember reading that book and thinking, if this was how high school kids were introduced into general chemistry, they might get a lot more out of it.

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On the fourth shelf (above) you can see right off the bat three more of Asimov’s annotations: Asimov’s Annotated Don Juan, Asimov’s Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan, and The Annotated Gulliver’s Travels. You’ll also see one of three copies of the second volume of his autobiography, In Joy Still Felt, that I own. The one pictured here is signed by Asimov. (Another is a first edition and the third is a book club edition.) A couple of other rare ones on this shelf: a signed hardcover edition of Murder at the ABA, and a first edition of The Wellsprings of Life. And barely visible laying across the top of the books on the right is a first edition of An Easy Introduction to the Slide Rule, which taught me how to use the slide rule that Kelly got for me a few years ago. (Most of those other books piled on top are book and magazines by people I know or ones in which I have a story.)

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On the fifth shelf (above) you can see several of Asimov’s histories that he wrote for Houghton Mifflin. I believe there were fourteen of these histories and I think I own all fourteen, although I might be missing one. In the dead center is a first edition of Words from the Map and just to the right of that is a first edition set of The New Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science. The very last book on that shelf (hard to make out) is Animals of the Bible.

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On the sixth shelf (above) you can see the two other editions of In Joy Still Felt, plus the 1984 edition of Asimov’s Guide to Science. Also on the shelf is Asimov’s book on telescopes, Eyes On the Universe and his second book on humor, Asimov Laughs, Again.

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The seventh shelf (above) starts off with another of Asimov’s forays into biblical lore, this time with his book The Story of Ruth. You can see a couple more of the Houghton Mifflin histories piled on top of books in the center of the shelf, and at the very right is his quirky, The Sensuous Dirty Old Man (as by “Dr. A”).

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The eighth shelf (above) contains most (but not all) of the paperbacks I own by Asimov. Many are duplicates of hard covers, but some are editions that I could only find in paperback. These are stacked in two rows, with another two stacks of books behind them. And behind the picture frame visible on the right is an old paperback edition of The Caves of Steel signed by Asimov.

And there you have it: my bibliography in pictures of the Isaac Asimov books that I own. I haven’t read all of them, but I have read most of them and the truth is, I never get tired of reading his stuff.

15 thoughts on “My Isaac Asimov books: a bibliography in pictures

  1. I’ve often thought that there should be an Isaac Asimov Book Club. Release one or two volumes each month to its members. But, of course, there would be all sorts of rights issues…

    Getting my hands on his Guide To Shakespeare years ago when I was on my Bill S. kick was a blessing. Especially so in those pre-internet days.

  2. Mark, in the late 80s/early 90s, Bantam/Doubleday came out with an imprint in order to do just that. The idea was to release small hardcover editions of all of Asimov’s fiction, be it short fiction or novels. They did four books in this fashion (three of which you can see on shelf #5, right smack in the center):

    I, Robot
    Pebble In the Sky
    Foundation
    Forward the Foundation

    And after that, there were no more of these editions issued. I have all four, and I remember, after receiving the fourth in the mail being terribly disappointed that the “series had been discontinued.” Of course, Asimov had died and perhaps the sales and subscriptions weren’t what they expected. But it would have been nice to have a complete, uniformly-bound set of these books. (The cover art for all of them was done by Michael Whealan, I believe.)

  3. Thanks for the information. I didn’t know that or I would have been a subscriber too.

    One would think that re-releasing the entire IA catalog (with its vast assortment of topics) would have a ready-made market to libraries world-wide.

    For example, his THE GENETIC CODE (1962) is still a perfect primer for anyone interested in establishing a solid foundation to understand genetics.

  4. And as a subscription service, you could get a book a month for nearly 40 years without every getting a repeat!

    I was hoping I might see his name as one of the estates that Gallancz signed as part of their SF Gateway project, but not yet. I imagine his estate still makes a good deal of money from those books that are in print (to say nothing of movie deals, etc.) that there is no rush to get the other stuff into a collected e-book format. It would be nice, however, if it was all uniformly available, electronic or otherwise.

  5. On the fourth shelf (above) you can see right off the bat three more of Asimov’s annotations: Asimov’s Annotated Don Juan, Asimov’s Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan, and The Annotated Gulliver’s Travels.

    I knew about the first two, didn’t know he did the third.

    Have you read the short story he did involving time travel and a G&S play?

  6. Paul, interesting story with Gulliver’s Travels. Upon his first meeting with Martin Gardner (with whom Asimov eventually became good friends), Gardner said to him, “If you ever want to have real fun, try annotating something.” Of course, Gardner had famously annotated Alice In Wonderland for Clarkson Potter books. He even suggested Gulliver’s Travels to Asimov as a possibility. Well, Asimov went on to do other annotations. He wanted to call them “The Annotated Don Juan”, etc., but Clarkson Potter had a trademark on that form of title (thus, Asimov’s Annotated Don Juan). But eventually, he did get around to Gulliver’s Travels and he did do it for Clarkson Potter, which is why that book is titled differently from all his other annotations (“The Annotated Gulliver’s Travels” as opposed to Asimov’s Annotated…)

    I remember the story you refer to but I can’t call to mind the name. It isn’t “The Up-To-Date Sorcerer” is it? That one is G&S-esque, but it isn’t a time travel story.

    I know way too much about Asimov, I think.

  7. It wasn’t the Up to Date Sorcerer…it was the story where the protagonist tries to find a lost G&S play (Thespis) but tragedy strikes.

    I did a little googling and found the title. It was “Fair Exchange”.

    I’ve misplaced/lost a lot of my Asimov’s in my various moves across the country, to my sorrow.

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