At one time, I disliked Isaac Asimov’s work. My flirtation with the genre of science fiction was on the brief side -- I feared winding up like those emaciated kids with coke-bottle glasses and wildlife t-shirts who hung out in the cafeteria's darkest, moldiest corner -- and it seemed to me that I shouldn’t waste time on a writer with what I considered to be a nonexistent prose style.
That judgment was wrong. As I’ve grown older and my clarity-in-writing fetish has ballooned to grotesque proportions, I’ve come to appreciate Asimov’s spare sentences. Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can attract a girl if need be, I no longer perceive any danger from sci-fi novels. (Never mind that the first ones I had any success with turned out to be “speculative fiction” fans themselves. D’oh.) Plus, anyone who writes a book called The Sensuous Dirty Old Man is okay by me.
In addition to his crisp, austere writing, it turns out the guy was plenty perceptive as well. Here’s an all-too-appropriate piece of 1983’s The Roving Mind:
Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise — even in their own field.
Well put, Asimov. Well put.