‘WITH BEST REGARDS AND CROSSED FINGERS AGAINST BOREDOM”: FIRST EDITION OF I, ROBOT, INSCRIBED BY ASIMOV TO “FIRST FAN” LESTER MAYER IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION
ASIMOV, Isaac. I, Robot. New York: Gnome Press, (1950). Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $16,000.
First edition, first issue, of Asimov’s influential collection of nine robot stories, inscribed in the year of publication by the author, “For: Lester Mayer with best regards and crossed fingers against boredom. 12/3/50. Isaac Asimov.”
Asimov's robot stories were among his most successful and popular, and helped establish his reputation as a pioneer of the science fiction genre. "I, Robot is by most critical accounts one of the most influential books in the history of modern science fiction because it established new conventions for writing robot stories… Asimov did much in his stories to counter the Faustian image of science that had arisen in the public imagination. Prejudice against machines and technology is in fact the constant background, if not the subject matter, of the robot stories… Asimov's robot stories also have predicted certain real developments. Robotics is now recognized as a field of study, and computer-controlled machines are now in industrial use. In addition, Asimov added two new words to the English language through these stories. The Oxford English Dictionary credits him with the earliest uses of robotics and positronic" (Touponce, Isaac Asimov, 32). These nine stories first appeared in the early 1940s in Astounding magazine. I, Robot is "the first major break-away from the robots-as-menace cliché… Asimov broke another genre cliché in this series by introducing a high-powered scientific thinker who was not male, Susan Calvin" (Anatomy of Wonder II-49). First issue, in cloth binding (second issue was bound in paper wrappers). Currey, 13. Recipient Lester Mayer, a "golden era" or "dinosaur" genre fan, was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 2013 for his decades of contributions as a fan writer, editor and organizer (particularly through the Eastern Science Fiction Association of Newark, New Jersey).
Dust jacket lightly rubbed, with light pencil notation to rear panel. Book clean, bright and fine. A lovely and desirable inscribed copy, scarce in such very nearly fine condition.