I often use detective elements in my books. I love detective novels. But I also think science fiction and detective stories are very close and friendly genres, which shows in the books by Isaac Asimov, John Brunner, and Glen Cook. However, whilst even a tiny drop of science fiction may harm a detective story, a little detective element benefits science fiction. Such a strange puzzle.
Five common traits of good writers: (1) They have something to say. (2) They read widely and have done so since childhood. (3) They possess what Isaac Asimov calls a "capacity for clear thought," able to go from point to point in an orderly sequence, an A to Z approach. (4) They're geniuses at putting their emotions into words. (5) They possess an insatiable curiosity, constantly asking Why and How.
And [Asimov]'ll sign anything, hardbacks, softbacks, other people's books, scraps of paper. Inevitably someone handed him a blank check on the occasion when I was there, and he signed that without as much as a waver to his smile — except that he signed: 'Harlan Ellison.
I came into science fiction at a very good time, when the doors were getting thrown open to all kinds of more experimental writing, more literary writing, riskier writing. It wasn't all imitation Heinlein or Asimov. And of course, women were creeping in, infiltrating. Infesting the premises.
How quickly do we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story Nightfall, about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove men mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen.
We never had books at home, but my dad, seeing how keen I was to read, took me to Islington Library when I was about eight and we pulled out two - a Biggles and a science fiction novel. I never got the ace fighter pilot but fell in love with all things to do with the future and space. Isaac Asimov soon became my guiding star.
A couple of hundred years from now, maybe [science fiction writers] Isaac Asimov and Fred Pohl will be considered the important philosophers of the twentieth century, and the professional philosophers will almost all be forgotten, because they're just shallow and wrong, and their ideas aren't very powerful.
In accordance with the terms of the Clarke-Asimov treaty, the second-best science writer dedicates this book to the second-best science-fiction writer. [dedication to Isaac Asimov from Arthur C. Clarke in his book Report on Planet Three]