Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Isaac Asimov vs Gene Roddenberry

Isaac Asimov is a Science Fiction demigod. And he was a Science Fiction demigod back in 1966 when he wrote an article in TV Guide wherein he ragged on the science fiction shows airing at that time. In addition to being a Science Fiction demigod, Asimov was also an author of textbooks. I don't write textbooks, but I get annoyed at bogus science when I see it in science fiction stories. In 1966, I was an 11 year old, and I picked up on some of the same errors that he did.

In addition to savaging Lost In Space, Asimov also made disparaging remarks about the other TV show that premiered that fall: Star Trek.

The fella getting disparaged over Star Trek was another Science Fiction demigod: Gene Roddenberry.

And they exchanged letters as described here. You really should read their correspondence. It's amazing.

What I found particularly helpful reading the Roddenberry/Asimov correspondence is how Asimov did not create an enemy with his critical remarks about Star Trek. Instead, Roddenberry came back with a gracious reply to Asimov's criticisms that displayed a great deal of admiration for Asimov's work. (Did I mention that Asimov was a Science Fiction demigod back in 1966?)

Both men were adults and nobody felt so insecure that he got mad or defensive. Instead, they went on to correspond most profitably and Asimov provided helpful suggestions to Roddenberry. I think that it was because both men loved Science Fiction and that could put criticism into an appropriate context.

That's what we should do when someone rubs our fur the wrong way. If there's something wrong with The Aristotelian or Finding Time, then I should hear it, own up to what's real in the criticism, and fix what I can. The fella pointing out the flaws isn't my enemy as much as my ignorance of the writing craft or my laxity in not paying attention to detail.

1 comment:

  1. There are SO MANY people, especially on the Internet, I find, who could take a lesson from this.


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