I'm finishing Asimov's 1981 compilation of essays, in which he offers numerous opinions on many authors, books, and TV shows. But it puzzles me that he makes no mention of Philip K. Dick, who by that time had already gotten big, and was in fact just one year from passing away. Asimov must have heard of him. Is there any published statement where Asimov says what he thinks of Dick?


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In 1986, Asimov wrote an introduction to Dick’s story Impostor for Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories #15 (1953), and criticized him strongly for using drugs:

I never met Philip Dick, but I heard that, at least early in his career, he experimented with what some people call “mind-expanding” drugs. I found that distasteful.

In his autobiography I. Asimov (written in 1990, published in 1994), he referred to Dick as a “superstar of science fiction”:

Even in science fiction, awards keep proliferating. There is the Hugo award (given in ever increasing categories) and the Nebula award. In addition, there are awards in the names of dead superstars of science fiction; awards named for John Campbell, Philip Dick, Ted Sturgeon, and so on. Perhaps in time to come there will be an Isaac Asimov award.

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    Calling someone "distasteful" was considered strongly criticizing them in the 80s? Must have been a different time. Jun 6, 2018 at 1:22
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    I don' read that as Asimov calling Philip Dick distasteful - I read it as Asimov finding his use of drugs distasteful. The later may well lead to the former, but they are not the same thing.
    – Ian Bush
    Jun 6, 2018 at 7:05
  • Asimov uses his introduction to the story solely to make an attack on the general use drugs supposedly justified under the idea of being "mind expanding", which he strongly criticizes. He doesn't really say anything at all about Dick or his story or writing, which is rather unfair of him, I think. The only interview of Asimov I saw gave me the impression of an opinionated bore and this misuse of the introduction seems to reinforce that. YMMV. The anthology is on archive.org. Nov 28, 2021 at 9:03

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