In non-fiction writing, Asimov particularly admired the writing style of Martin Gardner, and tried to emulate it in his own science books. On meeting Gardner for the first time in 1965, Asimov told him this, to which Gardner answered that he had based his own style on Asimov’s.

15 thoughts on “Circularity”

  1. Wow. I was today years old when I found out that Isaac Asimov died of AIDS and kept it hidden.

    In 1977, Asimov suffered a heart attack. In December 1983, he had triple bypass surgery at NYU Medical Center, during which he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. When his HIV status was understood, his physicians warned that if he publicized it, the anti-AIDS prejudice would likely extend to his family members. He died in Manhattan on April 6, 1992, and was cremated.

    He was survived by his siblings, his second wife Janet Asimov, and his children from his first marriage. His brother Stanley reported the cause of death as heart and kidney failure. The family chose not to disclose that these were complications of AIDS, because within two days, on April 8, Arthur Ashe announced his own HIV infection (also contracted in 1983 from a blood transfusion during heart bypass surgery), which resulted in much public controversy; additionally, Asimov’s doctors continued to insist on secrecy. Ten years following Asimov’s death, after most of his physicians had died, Janet and Robyn Asimov agreed that the HIV story should be made public; Janet revealed it in her edition of his autobiography, It’s Been a Good Life.

  2. Many AIDS cases in England were caused by sourcing transfusion fluids from the USA. It’s never been explained why the English NHS turned down an offer from the Scottish NHS to supply what would have been less infectious material.

    Envy of the World, the NHS.

  3. weirder still to get blood supplies from the US when Fauci was telling them that they could contract AIDS round the family dinner table.

  4. Not sure about blood. Don’t think we ever did get much from over there. Factor 8 and plasma though, yes, lots.

    Thing is, everyone does. I’ve seen a claim (think it was from Al Roth, Nobel Laureate) that everywhere with a volunteer only blood collection sysyem gets plasma from the US. Because it’s only a paid collection system that gets enough of it.

  5. “Not sure about blood.” Which is why I said “transfusion fluids”. Subtle, eh?

    Anyway, England could have had plasma from Scotland but for some bonkers reason bought it from the US instead.

    If any organisation other than the NHS had made that sort of mistake there would have been front page complaints of murder.

  6. Reread that BBC piece more carefully.

    The claim that if “more” was produced in Scotland then “fewer” would have been infected in England. This is true.

    The claim is not all and then none.

  7. The Scottish plant had spare capacity which the English NHS decided not to use – for no reason that was ever justified in public, not even at the English enquiry. If that spare capacity had been used then fewer English patients would have been killed by neglect, or murder, or corporate manslaughter, or however you’d like to categorise it. One interested party put the cost of the decision at “hundreds of HIV infections within the haemophilia community could and should have been prevented”.

  8. It’s at least 50/50 Gardener saidvthat for the sake of the joke / paradox / circularity – he wrote a lot about that kind of thing

  9. I recall reading an account of the experience of a paid US blood donor’s interactions with the IRS. I do not know whether it was a tall tail, but, as I remember it, having a rare plasma factor, she could donate frequently enough to make a significant income because her donation was centrifuged and the red blood cells returned to her circulation.

    Supposedly, her tax lawyer prevailed on the deductability of her travelling costs on the grounds that, rather than simply being a commuter travelling to her place of work, she was, instead, the receptacle in which her wares were transported to market. On the other hand, the tribunal rejected her attempt to claim the cost of the mineral supplements neceessary for her health under a minerals depletion allowance.

  10. It seems to be real! See the account at “”. I would certainly not have believed it with an April 1st dateline.

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