Isaac Asimov: Overview

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Editor: Jay P. Pederson
Date: 1996
Publisher: Gale
Series: St. James Guide to Writers Series
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 610 words

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Both science fiction and detective fiction by Isaac Asimov unite in revealing in the author a fondness for the fact, a delight in reasoning from careful observation, and an absorption in cause and effect. Several different types of mystery occur in his writings.

The Black Widowers tales illustrate the author's inventiveness in meeting the stringent requirements of the armchair formula. At club meetings guests pose problems which are solved by the least likely detective in so distinguished a company, the waiter, Henry. Puzzle is all—club members are characterized only by a few habits, a common misogyny, and a consistent truculence. But with the clever juxtaposition of elaborate false solutions against the simple, correct ones furnished by Henry, the stories please and often surprise. The imaginative variations on the traditional use and misuse of clues are not uniformly surprising, fair, or successful in matching the resolution to the build-up, yet the average in...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420000347