The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories is a science fiction anthology written and edited by Isaac Asimov (ISBN 0-385-12198-9). Following the usual form for Asimov collections, it consists of eleven short stories and a poem surrounded by commentary describing how each came to be written. The stories are as follows (original publication in parentheses):
Isaac Asimov (/ˈaɪzɨk ˈæzɨmɒv/; born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov; circa January 2, 1920^1^ – April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was prolific and wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published in 9 of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification.
Asimov wrote hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are explicitly set in earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation series. Later, beginning with Foundation’s Edge, he linked this distant future to the Robot and Spacer stories, creating a unified “future history” for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He wrote hundreds of short stories, including the social science fiction “Nightfall”, which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.
Asimov also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as much nonfiction. Most of his popular science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include Guide to Science, the three-volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery, as well as works on astronomy, mathematics, history, William Shakespeare’s writing, and chemistry.
Asimov was a long-time member and vice president of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as “brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs”. He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. The asteroid 5020 Asimov, a crater on the planet Mars, a Brooklyn elementary school, and a literary award are named in his honor.
In the film Bicentennial Man, Robin Williams is a robot that over the course of 200 years discovers what it is to be human. Composer James Horner wrote the score to this film, over a year since his last film score (Mighty Joe Young). Many people have wondered what Horner did during the year he took off, and I’m sorry to say that doesn’t appear that he was working on Bicentennial Man. At its core, this score is very well done, and has some great themes. But it also suffers from the overabundance of similarities to other Horner scores.
The first track on the album, “The Machine Age” provides us with one of the main themes from the film, but in a way that slowly builds with wonder and excitement. This is one of the better cues on the album, and it makes a nice stand-alone piece that would be great to hear in a concert environment. Much of the score is dramatic and romantic underscore; there are no action cues to speak of. But as with almost every James Horner score, there are quite a few lyrical themes that work very well for the film, and provide a great basis for the meat of the work.
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Bicentennial Man, Robin Williams is a robot that over the course of 200 years discovers what it is to be human. Composer James Horner wrote the score to this film, over a year since his last film score (Mighty Joe Young). Many people have wondered what Horner did during the year he took off, and I'm sorry to say that doesn't appear that he was working on Bicentennial Man. At its core, this score is very well done, and has some great themes. But it also suffers from the overabundance of similarities to other Horner scores.