Reference type: Biographical
Authority: Asimov, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, is one of the trinity of classic great science fiction authors of our time. Having written a 100 or so novels and 400+ other books on topics ranging from science to Shakespeare and everything in between, Asimov is not just a great science fiction author, but a great author in general. Who better to tell the story of his life than the man himself?
Audience Relation: Not only is it important to know and understand the work that has occurred in the field of science fiction, but learning about the authors themselves can often be a very useful boon to a new writer. In this case, Asimov goes into very specific details about his early successes and failures and has much to say about the writing process itself.
Scope: These two books cover all of Asimov's life from his birth in 1920 until 1978. Each one is a very detailed account of over 700 pages including the index. No stone is left unturned, no event left undescribed, no emotion left unfelt in these two all-inclusive volumes.
Content Evaluation: Isaac Asimov is almost brutally honest in these books. He is not afraid to tell about his weaknesses along with his strengths, his sorrow with his joy. It is almost unbelievable how much memory about his life he retained in order to pen these books. Of particular interest to writers are the places where he describes his anguish over his work. Even when he was being hailed as one of the grand masters of science fiction, he still worried over the quality of his work, always expecting the best of himself. Also, the detailed descriptions of his road to success are a valuable lesson to any author hoping to become professional.
The books, while thick, are not unwieldy in size. The pages are a creamy buff color with black type in a serrifed font. The type is not especially large, but it is not so small that one cannot read it. The text is broken into easily digestible segments prefaced by a number. Illustrations are included throughout.
Overall, reading these books is a time-consuming investment, but it is one that pays off. The rich detail of his life does not leave the reader feeling hungry for more. And, the lessons to be learned about life and writing are priceless.