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Asimov, Janet 1926-

Asimov, Janet 1926-

(Janet Jeppson Asimov, J.O. Jeppson)

PERSONAL: Born August 6, 1926, in Ashland, PA; daughter of John Rufus (a physician) and Rae Jeppson; married Isaac Asimov (a writer), November 30, 1973 (died, 1992). Education: Attended Wellesley College, 1944-46; Stanford University, B.A., 1948; New York University, M.D., 1952; William A. White Psychoanalytic Institute, postdoctoral study, 1955-60. Politics: Democrat. Religion: “Atheist.”

ADDRESSES: Home and officeNew York, NY. Agent—Ralph M. Vicinanza, 303 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011.

CAREER: Licensed to practice medicine in New York; Philadelphia General Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, intern, 1952-53; Bellevue Hospital, New York City, psychiatric resident, 1953-56; private practice of medicine in New York City, beginning 1956; retired. William A. White Psychoanalytic Institute, New York City, assistant director of clinical services, 1967-71, training and supervisory analyst, beginning 1969, director of training, 1974-82; writer. Bimonthly science columnist for Tribune Media.

MEMBER: Authors League of America, Authors Guild, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Psychoanalysis, William Alanson White Society, New York State Medical Society, New York County Medical Society, New York Society for Ethical Culture, Phi Beta Kappa.

WRITINGS:

“NORBY” SERIES OF JUVENILE NOVELS; WITH HUSBAND, ISAAC ASIMOV, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

Norby, the Mixed-up Robot (also see below), Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1983.

Norby’s Other Secret (also see below), Walker & Co.(New York, NY), 1984.

Norby and the Invaders (also see below), Walker & Co.(New York, NY), 1985.

Norby and the Lost Princess (also see below), Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1985.

The Norby Chronicles (contains Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot and Norby’s Other Secret), Ace Books (NewYork, NY), 1986.

Norby and the Queen’s Necklace (also see below), Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1986.

Norby Finds a Villain (also see below), Walker & Co.(New York, NY), 1987.

Norby: Robot for Hire (contains Norby and the Lost Princess and Norby and the Invaders), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Norby through Time and Space (contains Norby and the Queen’s Necklace and Norby Finds a Villain), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Norby Down to Earth, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1989.

Norby and Yobo’s Great Adventure, Walker & Co.(New York, NY), 1989.

Norby and the Oldest Dragon, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1990.

Norby and the Court Jester, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1991.

(Sole author) Norby and the Terrified Taxi, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1997.

OTHER

(With husband, Isaac Asimov) How to Enjoy Writing: A Book of Aid and Comfort, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1987.

The Package in Hyperspace (juvenile science fiction), Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1988.

Mind Transfer (science fiction), Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1988.

Frontiers II, Dutton (New York, NY), 1993.

Murder at the Galactic Writers’ Society, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Isaac Asimov) It’s Been a Good Life, Prometheus (Amherst, NY), 2002.

Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 2006.

Author of science column in Los Angeles Times, 1992—. Contributor of articles and short stories to periodicals. Associate editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 1970-97.

UNDER NAME J.O. JEPPSON

The Second Experiment (novel), Houghton (Boston, MA), 1974.

The Last Immortal (novel), Houghton (Boston, MA), 1980.

(Editor, with husband Isaac Asimov) Laughing Space: Funny Science Fiction (anthology), Houghton (Boston, MA), 1982.

The Mysterious Cure, and Other Stories of Pshrinks Anonymous (short stories), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1985.

SIDELIGHTS: Janet Asimov, who originally wrote as J.O. Jeppson, is an accomplished novelist and short-story writer who sometimes worked in collaboration with her husband, the late Isaac Asimov. Among the Asimovs’ joint ventures as writers is the series of juvenile novels involving an endearing robot, Norby, and his young owner, Jeff Wells. Asimov told CA: "I had started Norby, the Mixed-up Robot back in the sixties, but didn’t get far then. Ultimately I rewrote it, then asked Isaac to rewrite it again on his word processor.”

Among the Norby tales is Norby and the Court Jester, in which the robot travels through time and space with Jeff and Admiral Boris Yobo. The trio arrive on the distant planet Izz, where Norby hopes to reunite with what a Kirkus Reviews critic describes as his "robot-love Pera.” But Pera has disappeared, and the ensuing search proves difficult because most of the population has fallen under the spell of a hypnotic computer game, Teenytrip. The Kirkus Reviews critic called Norby and the Court Jester “good, clean fun.”

Asimov continued the Norby series after her husband’s death in 1992. In 1997, she published Norby and the Terrified Taxi, wherein Norby and Jeff oppose a malicious alien computer that aspires to eliminate humanity by altering the past. Through the moronic Garc the Great, the computer manages to capture Norby, but Jeff allies himself with Lizzie, a taxi, and determines to rescue Norby and thwart the evil computer. A Kirkus Reviews critic unfavorably compared Norby and the Terrified Taxi with previous entries, proclaiming the tale “hokey and banal.”

Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, published in 2006, offers readers Asimov’s insights into the writing process, life with a famous writer, the need to write, and the sense of identity that comes from writing and its various thought processes, when writing is what one is meant to do with one’s life. Rather than writing a traditional biography or autobiography, Asimov has simply compiled a series of notes about a range of subjects, from her husband to good books to broader topics that include religion, sex, and philosophy. The book also includes photographs from the family collection, snippets of fiction, and some excerpts from letters not included elsewhere. Gene Shaw, in a review for the Library Journal, remarked that the book is “a fun read for Isaac Asimov fans,” but also acknowledged that the author’s writings about Isaac’s death and her resulting grief are poignant and moving. In a contribution for Booklist, reviewer Carl Hays opined of Janet Asimov: “She impresses with her knack for entertaining while informing.” A reviewer for the Analog SF Web site called the book “an eloquent reflection on life and love with Asimov and the importance of imagination. Bardi, writing for the Humanist, concurred, stating that “one concludes that these two writers learned muc from one another, shared an immense understanding, and filled volumes in the other’s heart and mind.”

Asimov told CA that her writing is inspired by her interest in “science, the future, space travel, robots, and the problems of homo sapiens.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2006, Carl Hays, review of Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, p. 64.

Humanist, November-December, 2006, Jennifer Bardi, review of Notes for a Memoir, p. 44.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1991, review of Norby and the Court Jester; November 1, 1997, review of Norby and the Terrified Taxi.

Library Journal, May 15, 2006, Gene Shaw, review of Notes for a Memoir, p. 100.

ONLINE

Analog SF Web site,http://www.analogsf.com/ (March 9, 2008), review of Notes for a Memoir.*

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