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SYFY WIRE Isaac Asimov

Janet Asimov, sci-fi writer, psychiatrist and wife of Isaac Asimov, dies at 92

By Don Kaye
Janet Asimov Hyperspace

Janet Asimov, one half of one of science fiction literature's great power couples, has passed beyond the realm of human understanding.

The official blog of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) reports that Janet Asimov died on Feb. 25 at the age of 92. A cause of death was not revealed. Born Janet Opal Jeppson on Aug. 6, 1926, Asimov enjoyed a long career as a psychiatrist, a non-fiction and science writer, and a science fiction and mystery author, the latter both on her own and in collaboration with her late husband, sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov.

Many of her early stories — including her first novel, 1974's The Second Experiment — were published under the name J.O. Jeppson, but she switched to using her married name after she and Isaac were wed. The two were married on Nov. 30, 1973 and remained so until Isaac's death in 1992.

Together, the couple penned a series of 11 children's sci-fi books based around a robot named Norby. Isaac was later quoted as saying that Janet did 90 percent of the work on the stories, but that his name was also wanted on the book by the publisher for marketing purposes. In addition, Janet continued her husband's popular science column in the Los Angeles Times after his death.

The Asimovs also wrote a handful of non-fiction books together, while Janet published six novels and a collection titled The Mysterious Cure, and Other Stories of Pshrinks Anonymous. Among her novels were The Last Immortal (1980), Mind Transfer (1988), The Package in Hyperspace (cover image above, 1988) and Murder at the Galactic Writers' Society (1995). Her last novel, a historical fiction tale called The House Where Isadora Danced, came out in 2009.

Although Isaac's reputation has come under more scrutiny recently, Janet seemed devoted to curating his legacy: She edited a collection of her late husband’s letters, called It’s Been a Good Life: Isaac Asimov (2002), and wrote Notes for a Memoir: On Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing (2006).

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