Encore un livre d’Asimov? Bah, j’ai le droit, particulièrement cette année, puisque c’est le 20e anniversaire de sa mort, et qu’on en parle déjà partout (du moins quand on est maniaque de lui comme moi, on le remarque). Entre autre, Asimov est l’auteur choisi pour le festival Québec en toutes lettres cette année (voir mon billet à ce sujet). De plus, ce n’est pas tout à fait un livre d’Asimov, mais plutôt un ramassis des trop peu nombreux entrevues/conférences/débats qui ont été transcrits au fil des années.
Why someone whose talents were so suited to the interview form have so generally avoided it – especially inasmuch as the demand for Asimov interviews was always considerable, from the 1960s until his death in 1992? "I hate giving interviews," he confesses in one interview; and upon reflection the reason why are not (…) difficult to infer. In the first place, Asimov, as he repeatedly made clear (and his total literary productivity stands as awesome evidence of the fact), loved writing above all other things. He wrote all day, every day, to the maximum extent feasible; and despite that famously jovial good humor, he tended to resent anything and anyone that interrupted his writing. He seems, indeed, to have felt at least a little consternation even when the point of the interruption was a convivial luncheon with old friends, or spending time with his much beloved second wife. How much more must he have resented the intrusions of total strangers seeking to interview him – who, moreover, wanted him to do something that was very like writing but that was not actually writing itself? (…) the same sort of thing that he could do (…) as well or better all by himself. (Carl Freedman, éditeur)
Vous retrouverez dans ce livre toutes sortes de réflexions, sur divers sujets, qui s’échelonnent de 1968 à 1990. Vous y trouverez également une analyse psychologique de son acrophobie par un psychologue spécialisé dans les psychobiographie.
Je vous laisse sur quelques passages qui m’ont particulièrement plu (et je me retiens de trop en mettre).
Asimov ou l’importance d’avoir des connaissances de base en science:
Well, I don’t expect everybody to be a scientist or to understand every new development. After all, there are very few Americans who know enough about football to be a referee or to call the plays… but many, many people understand the sport well enough to follow the game. It’s not important that the average citizen understand science science so completely that he or she could actually become involved in research… but it is very important that people be able to "follow the game" well enough to have some intelligent opinions on policy. Every subject of worldwide importance – each question upon which the life and death of humanity depends – involves science, and people are not going to be able to exercise their democratic right to direct goverment policy in such areas if they don’t understand what the decisions are all about.
Asimov ou la définition de l’immortalité:
I used to worry about that. I said, I’m gradually managing to cram my mind more and more full of things. I’ve got this beautiful mind and it’s going to die, and it’ll be gone. And then I say, not in my case. Every idea I’ve ever had I’ve written down, and it’s still there on paper. And I won’t be gone; it will be there.
Asimov ou le besoin viscéral d’écrire:
People say to me that I must be very disciplined in order to stay with the typewriter as much as I do. But that’s not it at all. If I were disciplined properly, I could force myself to stay away from the typewriter, live a more normal life. The fact that I’m not disciplined – that I’m a slave to whatever it is that bubbles in me that keeps me at the typewriter – I suppose is the same thing that keep some people doing nothing, instead of doing something, but it keeps me doing something instead of doing nothing.
(Once asked what he would do if a doctor gave him only 6 months to live, Asimov answer promptly:) Type faster!
En passant, vous remarquerez que je ne publie pas beaucoup de billets ces derniers temps, et c’est un peu à cause de ma Asimovmanie, car je suis en train de me taper son autobiographie en 2 tomes (écrite bien avant I Asimov)… de 800 pages chacun…
Merci à mon cher époux, qui m’a déniché ce volume dans la vente de débarras d’une autre bibliothèque obscure du Connecticut…