Isaac Asimov to Amazing Stories, Mar 1959
West Newton, Mass.
Well, let's see now. My age, as stands documentarily proven in this stuff you're printing, has more than doubled. I am now rapidly approaching the youthful age of 39 and I am no longer an aged patriarch. My physical description is the same except that I have gained about 40 pounds of non-muscle, and look genial as well as handsome.
My mother has not changed her mind about my looks, but neither have other people. Still, I managed to get married 16½ years ago to a girl who's hanging on grimly, despite the advice of her friends. I have a little boy of 7½ and a girl of nigh on to 4, neither of whom quite understand that when I seem to be doing nothing, I am working very hard indeed and must have peace, quiet, and a lot of waiting on hand and foot. (Their mother doesn't get the idea, either.)
That wasn't the last year at Columbia, as it turned out. What with the war and graduate studies, they couldn't get rid of me till 1949 and then only by bribing me with a Ph. D. The degree was in chemistry, as I changed my mind about medical school. Since I have been teaching biochemistry in a medical school for 10 years, now, I have had a chance to think over my decision in favor of chemistry by observing medical students, and I'm glad, glad, glad. I am far too delicate for the rigors of medical training.
I did manage to sell more pieces—a few hundred of them, what with one thing and another (bribing editors, mostly). This morning I received copies of my most recently published book, the second of two non-fiction books on organic chemistry. This one is called The World of Nitrogen (Abelard-Schuman, 1958, $2.75 and worth it—free advt.) It's my thirtieth book, though by the time this letter appears I expect one more to be out.
Seriously, I will always be thankful for whatever it was that moved me to begin to write science fiction, and to Amazing for the first financial return. This business of writing has given me a happy 20 years, and if I may make another hope—I hope it all continues for a long time.
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