Book Collecting

Isaac Asimov – First Edition Books: Identification Points

Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. Asimov was a prolific writer, and wrote or edited more than 500 books. He also wrote an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards.

Asimov wrote hard science fiction. Along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous work is the “Foundation” series, the first three books of which won the one-time Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966. His other major series are the “Galactic Empire” series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are set in the much earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation series. Later, with Foundation and Earth (1986), he linked this distant future to the Robot 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 also wrote over 380 short stories, including the social science fiction novelette “Nightfall,” which in 1964 was voted the best short science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America. 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 concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. Examples include Guide to Science, the three-volume set Understanding Physics, and Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery. He wrote on numerous other scientific and non-scientific topics, such as chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, history, biblical exegesis, and literary criticism.

He was president of the American Humanist Association. Several entities have been named in his honor, including the asteroid (5020) Asimov, a crater on the planet Mars, a Brooklyn elementary school, Honda’s humanoid robot, ASIMO, and four literary awards.

Isaac Asimov’s books – First edition identification points and criteria

Guide to identifying Asimov’s First Edition Books. Contains works prior to 1978.

How to Identify First Edition books by Isaac Asimov Guide
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1968ASIMOVS MYSTERIESGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1968First edition so stated on © page.
1976AUTHORIZED MURDERLondon: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1976Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Issued earlier in the U.S. as MURDER AT THE ABA.
1973THE BEST OF ISAAC ASIMOVLondon: Sidgwick & Jackson, [1973]Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1973 on © page. ALSO:Garden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1974. First edition so stated on © page. Deletes bibliography compiled by Gerald Bishop and portion of introduction.
1971THE BEST NEW THINGNew York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Co., 1971Boards. First printing-1971 on © page.
1976THE BICENTENNIAL MAN AND OTHER STORIESGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1976Boards. First edition so stated on © page.
1975BUY JUPITER AND OTHER STORIESGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1975Boards. First edition so stated on © page.
1954THE CAVES OF STEELGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1954Boards. First edition so stated on © page.
1952THE CURRENTS OF SPACEGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1952Boards. First edition so stated on © page.
1952DAVID STARR SPACE RANGERGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1952Boards. First edition so stated on © page. Paul French, pseudonym. Collected later in AN ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE.
1958THE DEATH DEALERSNew York: Avon Publications, Inc., [1958]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Avon T-287 (35c). Reissued as A WHIFF OF DEATH.
1976"THE DREAM" "BENJAMIN'S DREAM" and "BENJAMIN'S BICENTENNIAL BLAST" THREE SHORT STORIES...New York: Privately Printed, Nineteen Hundred Seventy-SixBoards. No statement of printing.
1972THE EARLY ASIMOVGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1972First edition so stated on © page.
1957EARTH IS ROOM ENOUGHGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1957First edition so stated on © page.
1966EIGHT STORIES FROM THE REST OF THE ROBOTSNew York: Pyramid Books, [1966]Wrappers. Pyramid edition, January 1966 on © page. Pyramid Books R-1283 (500). Reprint. Abridged collection.
1955THE END OF ETERNITYGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1955First edition so stated on © page.
1966FANTASTIC VOYAGEBoston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966First printing so stated on © page.
1951FOUNDATIONNew York: Gnome Press Publishers, [1951]Two bindings, priority as listed:
  • (A) Cloth; sheets measure 20.3 x 13.5 cm; sheets bulk 1.9 cm across the top;
  • (B) Boards,; sheets measure 20.3 x 12.5 cm; sheets bulk 1.4 cm across the top.
First edition so stated on © page. Reissued with abridged text as THE 1,000 YEAR PLAN.
1952FOUNDATION AND EMPIRENew York: Gnome Press Publishers, [1952]Three bindings, priority as listed:
  • (A) Red boards lettered in black; publisher's imprint on spine measures 2.2 cm across.
  • (B) Red board's lettered in black; publisher's imprint on spine measures 2.8 cm across.
  • (C) Green boards lettered in black; publisher's imprint on spine measures 2.8 cm across. Two issues (printings?), priority as listed: (1) Sheets bulk 1.8 cm across the top. (2) Sheets bulk 2.3 cm across the top.
Two states of the dust jacket, priority as listed:
  • (A) Printed in four colors; 26 titles listed on rear panel.
  • (B) Printed in blue and black only; 32 titles listed on rear panel.
First edition so stated on © page. Reissued as THE MAN WHO UPSET THE UNIVERSE.
1963THE FOUNDATION TRILOGY[Garden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1963]Boards. Full printing details not determined; earliest printing code and total number of printings not established. Note: A copy without a printing code has been observed and it may represent the earliest printing if no copy bearing an "E"(the letter indicating 1963) can be located.
Located printings are as follows, sequence of first listed not established. Others later: (A) No code; (B) Code 19G on page 221; (C) Code 34G on page 221; (D) Code 44M on page 221.
No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE, and SECOND FOUNDATION. Note: Issued by the Science Fiction Book Club. Issued later in Great Britain as AN ISAAC ASIMOV OMNIBUS.
1972THE GODS THEMSELVESGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1972First edition so stated on © page.
1977GOOD TASTE: A STORY...[Topeka, Kansas: Apocalypse Press, 1977]Wrappers. 1012 copies printed. Three issues, no priority: (A) 12 proof copies (not seen); (B) 500 numbered copies signed by the author; (C) 500 numbered copies with author's signature in facsimile. No statement of printing on © page.
1974HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?Boston: The NESFA Press, 1974First edition so stated on © page. 500 numbered copies only, signed by the author.
1975THE HEAVENLY HOSTNew York: Walker and Co., [1975]Boards. First published. . . 1975 ... on © page. Code "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on © page.
1950I, ROBOTNew York: Gnome Press, Inc. Publishers, [1950]Two bindings, priority as listed:
  • (A) Cloth;
  • (B) Wrappers.
First edition so stated on © page. ALSO: London: Brown, Watson Limited, [1953]. Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Digit Books D164 (2'-). Abridged reprint. Collects seven of the nine stories.
1972AN ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE[London]: New English Library, [1972 ]Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Save for author's note, a reprint. Collects DAVID STARR, SPACE RANGER and THE PIRATES OF THE ASTEROIDS.
1966AN ISAAC ASIMOV OMNIBUSLondon: Sidgwick & Jackson, [1966]Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects FOUNDATION, FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE, and SECOND FOUNDATION. Issued earlier in the U.S. as THE FOUNDATION TRILOGY.
1969AN ISAAC ASIMOV SECOND OMNIBUSLondon: Sidgwick & Jackson, [1969]Boards. First published in Great Britain 1969 on © page. Reprint. Collects THE CURRENTS OF SPACE, PEBBLE IN THE SKY, and THE STARS, LIKE DUST. Issued earlier in the U.S. as TRIANGLE.
1977THE KEY WORD AND OTHER MYSTERIESNew York: Walker and Co., [1977]Two bindings, no priority: (A) Trade binding (advertised by the publisher but not seen); (B) Reinforced blue cloth. Library binding. Code "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on © page.
1977LIAR![Cambridge: Published by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1977]Wrappers. This edition first published 1977 on inside rear cover. Revised and simplified text. A different version appeared earlier in I, ROBOT.
1977LITTLE LOST ROBOT[Cambridge: Published by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1977]Wrappers. This edition first published 1977 on inside rear cover. Revised and simplified text. A different version appeared earlier in I, ROBOT.
1956LUCKY STARR AND THE BIG SUN OF MERCURYGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1956Boards. First edition so stated on © page. Paul French, pseudonym . Collected later in A SECOND ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE.
1957LUCKY STARR AND THE MOONS OF JUPITERGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1957Boards. First edition so stated on © page. Paul French, pseudonym. Collected later in THE THIRD ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE.
1954LUCKY STARR AND THE OCEANS OF VENUSGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1954Boards. First edition so stated on © page. Paul French, pseudonym. Collected later in A SECOND ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE.
1953LUCKY STARR AND THE PIRATES OF THE ASTEROIDSGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1953Boards. First edition so stated on copryright page. Paul French, pseudonym. Collected later in AN ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE.
1958LUCKY STARR AND THE RINGS OF SATURNGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958Boards. First edition so stated on © page. Paul French, pseudonym. Collected later in THE THIRD ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE.
1955THE MARTIAN WAYGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1955Boards. First edition so stated on © page. Note: All examined copies have AZIMOV for ASIMOV on spine.
1976MORE TALES OF THE BLACK WIDOWERSGarden City: Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1976Boards. First edition so stated on © page.
1976MURDER AT THE ABAGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1976Boards with cloth shelf back. First edition so stated on © page. Issued later in Great Britain as AUTHORIZED MURDER.
1969THE NAKED SUNGarDen City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1957First edition so stated on © page.
1969NIGHTFALL AND OTHER STORIESGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1969First edition so stated on © page.
1957NINE TOMORROWSGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1959First edition so stated on © page.
1957ONLY A TRILLIONLondon New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1957No statement of printing on © page. Essays plus three satires.
1969OPUS 100Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969First Printing on © page. Fiction and nonfiction, most reprinted from earlier works.
1950PEBBLE IN THE SKYGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1950First edition so stated on © page.
1964THE REBELLIOUS STARSNew York: Ace Books, Inc., [1954}Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Double Novel Books D-84 (35c). Bound with AN EARTH GONE MAD by Roger Dee. Reissue with unauthorized cuts of THE STARS, LIKE DUST.
1964THE REST OF THE ROBOTSGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1964First edition so stated on © page.
1971THE ROBOT NOVELSGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., [1971}Boards. Code 12 M on page 401. No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects THE CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED SUN. Note: Issued by the Science Fiction Book Club.
1953SECOND FOUNDATION[New York}: Gnome Press, Inc., [1953]Four bindings, priority as listed:
(A) Blue boards lettered in brown;
(B) Green boards lettered in black;
(C) Gray cloth lettered in red;
(D) Boards with cloth shelf back; DOUBLEDAY/SCIENCE/FICTION at base of spine.
First edition so stated on © page.
1973A SECOND ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE[London}: New English Library, [1973]Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects LUCKY STARR AND THE BIG SUN OF MERCURY and LUCKY STARR AND THE OCEANS OF VENUS.
1951THE STARS, LIKE DUSTGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc:, 1951First edition so stated on © page. Issued later with unauthorized cuts as THE REBELLIOUS STARS.
1974TALES OF THE BLACK WIDOWERSGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1974First edition so stated on © page.
1973THE THIRD ISAAC ASIMOV DOUBLE[London}: New English Library, [1973]Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects LUCKY STARR AND THE RINGS OF SATURN and LUCKY STARR AND THE MOONS OF JUPITER.
1955THE 1.000 YEAR PLANNew York: Ace Books, [1955]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Double Novel Books D-l 10 (350). Bound with NO WORLD OF THEIR OWN by Poul Anderson. Reissue of FOUNDATION with abridged text.
1967THROUGH A GLASS, CLEARLY[London]: A Four Square Book, [1967]Wrappers. This collection first published in Great Britain ... in April 1967 on © page. Four Square Science Fiction 1866 (3/6). ALSO:[Hornchurch, Essex]: Ian Henry Publications, 1977. Boards. This hardback edition, 1977 on © page. First hardcover edition.
1961TRIANGLEGarden City: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1961Two issues, priority as listed: (A) Boards; No price on front dust jacket flap; BOOK CLUB/EDITION in lower right corner of front dust jacket flap. Book club issue. (B) Cloth; $4.95 in upper right comer of front dust jacket flap. Trade issue. Code C13 on page 516 of both issues. No statement of printing on © page. Note: Both produced from the same print run, but the book club issue was released as a May 1961 selection while the trade issue was published 2 June. Reprint. Collects THE CURRENTS OF SPACE, PEBBLE IN THE SKY, and THE STARS, LIKE DUST. Issued later in Great Britain as A SECOND ISAAC ASIMOV OMNIBUS.
1965A WHIFF OF DEATHNew York: Walker and Co., [1965]Boards. No statement of printing on © page. First hardcover edition. Issued earlier as THE DEATH DEALERS.

Isaac Asimov’s First Printings Dust Jacket Identification Guide

Guide to identifying First Printing Dust Jackets.

Reference:

  • Wikipedia
  • L. W. Currey, Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography of First Printings of Their Fiction and Selected Nonfiction

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