Tag Archive: Isaac Asimov



When I started out on this writing journey, I never saw myself as someone who could a whole bunch of writing projects going at the same time.  That kind of thing was reserved for some of the great prolific authors like Isaac Asimov, who was notorious for working on multiple projects on a regular basis.  The man insisted on having a portable typewriter or two wherever he went.  And if he couldn’t get his hands on a typewriter, he’d pull out a pad of paper and a bunch of pencils/pens and wrote the old fashion way, long hand.

But me, I could never picture myself even thinking about working on more than one story at a time.  In fact, the very first novel I started working on was set in the early 1800’s and I had gotten about 2/3’s of the way through the tale when my wife pointed out that a historical piece would be harder to market.  On hearing this, I gave it some thought and put the story aside and began a whole new piece which eventually turned into my first published novel “The Bridge”.

After finishing that book, I thought about going back to the piece from the 1800’s, but wound up moving forward with my current characters, one of which had connections to the family who were featured in my unfinished work.  However, moving forward was still difficult.   I was taking college classes which of course made excessive demands on my time.  But that was only natural.  School had to come first, however when we moved to Marina so Helen could attend CSU Monterey Bay, I took two years off from studies and focused more on my writing.  Which in turn led to my finally finishing “The Ship” which I released back in 2014.

From there I began work on a third book with those characters, which is still underway at this point and time.  What happened?  I was having difficulties in building the story, things were getting too complicated.  Too many characters, too many ideas, it was turning into something too unwieldy.  Yet I still wanted to be writing, so I wound up putting it aside and started up “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

With that book I had a more clear idea of where I wanted things to go, who the characters were, and how it would end.  Plus, I had a co-author, namely my wife Helen who had been my consultant on the first two books.  Mind you it still took another 2 years before this book was ready to for release, however I didn’t mind it so much.  Why?  Because I had started up another blog, called The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition  https://thevampyreblogs.wordpress.com/, where I was regularly writing short stories involving different characters who were to appear in the novel.  The idea behind this was to  build an audience for the book before it was released and create a loyal following.  Yet by doing this, something wonderful happened.

I wound up training my brain to think about more than one story at a time.  Writing all those shorts, was a great exercise and now I find myself thinking about multiple storylines on a regular basis.  Now why is this such a big deal to me?  I’ll tell you in my next entry.

I know, I know, I’m cutting things off just when things are getting even more interesting, but this post is getting pretty long and I still have much to say.   So please be patient and I WILL have the 2nd installment up in a week.  Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.

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Isaac Asimov is well known for his extremely numerous writing contributions to science and science fiction.  But not everyone knows he was also a mystery author and regular contributor to Ellery Queen Magazine, as well as a few others.  His most famous crime sleuths never actually went to a crime scene, nor did they go into police headquarters and announce they had cracked an important case.

No, these amateur sleuths, who call themselves the Black Widowers because once a month they come together for a dinner of just themselves and one invited guest, a man.  Women are not allowed to attend this function, hence their nickname.  For one night a month they can enjoy just the company of each other without female company, not that they object to women.  It’s simply their own little club.  The members of this little club are based on friends from the author’s own life and are listed here:

  • Geoffrey Avalon, a patent attorney (based on L. Sprague de Camp)
  • Emmanuel Rubin, a mystery novelist and acquaintance of Isaac Asimov (based on Lester del Rey)
  • James Drake, a chemist (based on Dr. John D. Clark)
  • Thomas Trumbull, an expert in cryptography for the United States government (based on Gilbert Cant)
  • Mario Gonzalo, an artist, who usually draws a portrait of the evening’s guest (based on Lin Carter)
  • Roger Halsted, a high school mathematics teacher, fond of jokes and limericks (based on Don Bensen)
  • Henry Jackson, the club’s waiter, was not based on an actual person, but according to Asimov was inspired by PG Wodehouses character Jeeves.
 
At each meeting a guest is brought by one of the members and after being served an excellent meal, are then ‘grilled’ by the group, usually by being asked “How do you justify your existence…?”  What happens in the first story sets the stage for the rest of the tales within the pages of this excellent work.
 
A puzzle is presented to the Black Widowers who systematically try to help find the answer to their guest’s dilemma. In the end, it is the esteemable Henry who provides the final solution to each of the twelve tales you will find here.  Each story is presented fairly and the reader is supplied all the hints that the Black Widowers are given.  Although Henry supplies the answer, he always credits the club members for having helped eliminate all the other options, allowing him to discover the final solution.  
 
My personal favorite in this collection is “The Acquisitive Chuckle” which is also the 1st story.  In it we learn a great deal about our hosts and even more importantly we gain keen insight into their wondrous butler Henry, a scrupulously honest man, but who is not above delivering a little payback to an old partner.
 
There is one puzzle that involves a death of one of the club member’s sister, which is touching and bittersweet, but handled very well.
As for the rest of the tales, each has its own flavor and unique outcome.  I can safely say that they are wonderful puzzles that will keep you guessing and wondering.  But at the same time it is the interplay between the characters will also keep you smiling and laughing.
 
There are 5 books in this series and I will tell you right now, each one is a 5-Star read.  I intend to review each of them as in the near future.
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