I believe that the embarrassment is from the autobiographical snippets provided by the authors at the end of the magazine, rather than over the story itself. There are two sentences which might be thought of as “embarrassing.”
The first is when Asimov describes his personal appearance, and remarks “my mother thinks I’m handsome.” But I think the phrase in question is “As far as I know I have no vices - or, at least, no serious vices.” When he wrote this Asimov was only eighteen years old, and it contrasts rather heavily with the “Lecherous Old Man” stereotype he played up in later years.
Author of MAROONED OFF VESTA
BY the time these words see print I shall be an aged patriarch rapidly approaching the venerable age of nineteen. Of these nineteen the last ten have been spent mainly in, on and about science fiction.
As a matter of fact, my father introduced me to my first copy of AMAZING some time in 1929 and the first story I read was “Barton’s Island.” Since then, I have been a steady reader, my favorite story of all time being “Drums of Tapajos.”
I am of medium height, dark, and my mother thinks I’m handsome. The general consensus of opinion does not commit itself quite so far, but I do not complain. I am now serving the last year of my sentence at Columbia University and will graduate next June with flying colors.
My favorite pastime is reading; my favorite sciences, mathematics and astronomy (though I major in chemistry at Columbia and am taking a pre-medical course). Also, I like cats. As far as I know, I have no vices—or, at least, no serious vices. And, oh yes, I like to write.
My first attempt at writing came at twelve but the monstrosity that resulted has been burned long ago. Science fiction did not come until I had acquired my first typewriter four years ago, but it was not until the middle of 1938 that I took my life in my hands and bearded the mighty Editor in his den. The Providence that watches over the rash beamed kindly down upon me and “Marooned Off Vesta” is the result.
It may be unusual but I don’t know exactly how I got the idea for the story; like Topsy, it just growed.
There are more stories on the way, some in a state of partial completion now, and I hope and hope again, that this first story does not prove to be a flash in the pan. If it does, it won’t be because I didn't try.
Anyway, I hope you like the story. After all, it is the readers that are the powers behind the throne and they must be pleased.
Au revoir until we meet again; and I sincerely hope we will.
—Isaac Asimov, Brooklyn, N, Y.