Lately I’ve noticed a meme going around spec fiction writer’s groups and conventions. “Isaac Asimov couldn’t get published today.” “Don’t model yourself after Asimov.” “Isaac Asimov was a bad writer.” Sometimes I hear this from the same authors who cite Asimov as one of the authors who got them interested in science fiction in the first place.
Yes, Asimov does not craft words as well as Bradbury (an author who does seem to be making the transition from genre to canon). No, he’s not as much of a page turner as Heinlein. And yes, his characters sometimes read flat compared to characters in more modern fiction. Certainly, like most authors of his generation he overly focused on men (with the really notable exception of Susan Calvin). Nonetheless Asimov did one thing really, really well. Better than probably 99% of pro authors writing today, and that is ideas.