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Isaac Asimov is a very talented writer. Isaac focuses on the intensity of his novels and short stories. Suspense is one of the things he focuses on when writing short stories such as "Marooned off Vesta." "Marooned off Vesta is a story of triumph and intelligence. This story shows what can happen if you put your mind to it"(Corke).
Isaac Asimov, of Jewish descent, was born in Petrovichi, U.S.S.R. on January 2, 1920. His parents were Judah and Anna Rachel Asimov. Isaac also had a brother named Stanley and a sister named Marcia. In 1923 the Asimovs left the Soviet Union and immigrated to the States. Getting over seas was not as easy as it is today. The Asimovs had to endure a horrible boat ride with horrible food, seasickness, and the anxiety of what the future had in store for them. They made their home in Brooklyn, New York where they opened a candy store (Erlanger 9). When he was nine years of age, after school he worked in his parent's candy store. It was then that began reading science fiction magazines. He had to struggle to read these magazines because his father would not permit him to read "such junk"(Erlanger 9). " Isaac you should be reading books with more value," his father told him (wilson). Sooner or later his father gave in and told him not to forget his library books (Erlanger 11). However, this reading material was the only thing that his dad would let him touch on the magazine rack.
Young Isaac was a brilliant student. He went through school more quickly than other students. But there was one thing holding him back which was him being a class clown. He was frequently in trouble for talking in class (Erlanger 16). The person he could really identify with was his friend, "Solly," Solomon Frisch. Solly made up stories mostly every day off the top of his head for Isaac. This was when Isaac learned that stories do not have to come from magazines or books, they can come from a person. Unfortunately when Solly and Isaac were both seven, they parted as a result of both families moving. The Asimovs moved on Essex street near Judah's new candy store. As the years went on and he graduated Boys High School in 1935, he applied to Columbia University and took on Chemistry as a major (Erlanger 18).
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Isaac Asimov was first married in 1942 to Gertrude Blugerman on July 26. Because of difficulties in their marriage, they were forced to divorce in 1973. Finding another love, he married again in 1973 to Janet Opal Jeppsonm, a psychiatrist, on November 30 (Galenet). Isaac had two wonderful children named David and Robyn Joan. These children were birthed by Isaac's first wife Gertrude. As talked about before, Isaac wanted to become a doctor. Although he did not fulfill this dream of his, he had many different careers under his belt; Boston University School of medicine instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor of biochemistry, and also as a civilian chemist at the U.S. Navy Air Experimental Station (Galenet). Believe it or not, Isaac was rejected twelve times before he landed his first short story in a magazine. But, his persistence made him one of the most known science fiction writers of all time, just under five-hundred books compiled of his works are what made him what he is today. Mr. Asimov has also received over twenty awards and honors for his works and novels (Galenet).
Many critics said positive things of Isaac Asimov's writings such as "I, Robot." Maxine Moore says that the structure of "I, Robot" is "quite ingenious" (Moore 92). What Maxine means by this is that a main character named Robbie is modeled after a children's folk tale, such as black sheep. In order to get the reader's attention, Isaac tried to portray Robbie as a character from one's childhood. Maxine also says that Isaac uses elements of the Greek tragedy. " To reveal the entrance of sin into the robot nature he uses elements of the Greek tragedy, synthesizing Original Sin with the Tragic Flaw" (Moore 92).
Hilary Corke also assesses Isaac Asimov on his novel "I, Robot." "SF requires re-thinking, not mere re-clothing" (Corke 629). Hilary was describing Robbie as being primitively made, Robbie was made before the new technology had been discovered, however, his programming had been incredibly complex. Hilary describes the devastating point is that "if a child thinks of it robot guardian as human then, too, it thinks of its human guardian as a robot , is badly ruined" (Corke 629).
Stephen H. Goldman reviewed "Marooned off Vesta." He did a thorough job of looking at its strengths. Stephen describes a common plot used in science fiction. "The unexpected happens; the characters must resist panic; they must comprehend their situation; and they must use their physical and mental resources to overcome this situation" (Goldman 2). Goldman also describes the typical science fiction characters. "Mark Brandon is a young, inexperienced man who panics in the face of slow suffocation. Warren Moore is the coolheaded man of experience who uses common sense and scientific know-how to solve their dilemma. And Michael Shea is a calm but very worried foil for Moore" (Goldman 2). Goldman also goes on about man being able to overcome the unexpected. "Man can overcome the unexpected if he remains calm, uses his intelligence, and adds just the right amount of creative thinking" (Goldman 3).
Theodore M. Bernstein discussed the book, Words of Science and the History Behind Them. "But this is no dictionary, nor even a comprehensive reference book" (Bernstein, 63). This book that Theodore refers to is a book for children who want to know where certain words are derived from in science or anything of that matter. Emily Maxwell also reviewed this book. "Alphabetically arranged collection of one-page essays on such unfamiliar words as catalysis, isomer, occulation, tantalum, andyttrium, and such quite ordinary words as artery , continent, cortisone, lever, nucleus, and planet...." (Maxwell, 237-37). Emily was trying to apply that this book can be used by an adult as well as a child. She also recommends this book for children because Isaac simplifies the science for them.
"Marooned off Vesta" was a short story that showed leadership and courage. Moore is the character that shows this. A starship called the Silver Queen was hit by an asteroid which blows off most of the ship and kills all but three crew members. These three crew members must navigate this ship towards safety or else they will perish in three days because of lack of oxygen. The remainder of this ship is stuck in orbit around a planet called Vesta. The materials they were left with were a heat-ray, a year supply of water, and a week's supply of food.
The year's supply of water sounded funny to Moore, but he could not figure out why. Then when he gets the idea of how to get them out of the orbit and down to Vesta, Brandon punches Moore. Moore grunts and says "What was the reason for that?" Then Brandon says "Stand Up and I'll do it again" (Asimov 114). The reason why Brandon punched him was because Brandon was tired of listening to ideas on how to get out of there. Brandon then apologizes and Moore acts out his plan. Moore looked out the porthole and said, ".... God I hope it'll work" (Asimov 117). Moore is so scared because he does not no what is outside in space. When they have to open the air lock hatch there must be air in there or else everyone will die so Mike Shea put his hand to the crack in the door and said' "Thank the Lord, not a sign of a draft' (Asimov 118) On there way to Vesta they had a type of alcohol waiting for this moment. Mike says "Gentlemen, I give you the year's supply of good H2O we used to have" (Asimov 124).
The theme of this novel was that man can conquer any obstacle if he uses his head and his physical power. Shea had all of this information from the beginning and did not figure out any solution. If Moore would not have been so curious of the water supply they would have probably died. This theme applies to everyday life. People sometimes do not use their common sense and it can sometimes cost them.
Mark Brandon is characterized as a reforming character because he once got very angry at Moore. However, he changed and even apologized because he knew he was wrong. Warren Moore was characterized as an individual because he showed traits such as courage, knowledge, and also leader ship. Shea is a type because he did one thing throughout the story. Shea is a slow thinker and luckily Moore figured out a solution.
This short story was a good one. Isaac Asimov likes to put in suspense whenever he can. During the mission where Moore is burning the wall the words could not come off the page fast enough. Isaac Asimov is an excellent writer, he definitely show so in "Marooned off Vesta."