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科幻大师:艾萨克·阿西莫夫 – 译学馆
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科幻大师:艾萨克·阿西莫夫

Isaac Asimov - Master of Science - Extra Sci Fi - #1

几乎没有巨人能像艾萨克•阿莫西夫一样
Few giants tower over our understanding of science fiction
凌驾于我们对科幻小说的理解之上
the way Isaac Asimov does.
没有他 我们不可能
Without him, it’s unlikely that
突破纸质杂志时代的太空西部科幻和各种冒险小说
we would have charged away from the space westerns and gadget adventures of the pulp era,
迅速进入他打造的“社会科幻小说”
and raced towards what he himself coined “social science fiction”
阿西莫夫为我们理解机器人和太空帝国奠定了基础
Asimov laid the foundation for our understanding of robots, and space empires.
他引领科幻小说脱离对原子时代新技术的简单猎奇
He led science fiction away from simply marveling at the new technology of the Atom Age,
相反 迫使我们质疑我们该如何利用新科技
instead, forcing us to question HOW we use it,
以及新技术对我们人类有什么意义
and what it means for us as a species.
他使科幻小说成为促使你思考的东西
He made science fiction something that ask you to think
而不是简单地作为日常生活的一种消遣
rather than leaving it to simply serve as a distraction from everyday life.
没有他 现代科幻小说将不复存在
Without him, we wouldn’t have modern science fiction.
而这一切险些从未发生
But it almost didn’t happen.
[额外科幻小说知识]
[Extra Sci Fi Theme]
革命席卷俄罗斯
Revolution sweeps Russia.
在内战的纷乱当中
In the midst of the chaos of civil war,
一个婴儿诞生了
a child is born,
他就是日后我们熟知的艾萨克·阿西莫夫
a child who will be someday known as Isaac Asimov.
他的父母决定 革命的纷乱不适合孩子
But the chaos of revolution was no place for a child,
尤其是来自犹太家庭孩子的成长
especially not one from a Jewish family, his parents decided.
所以 在可以离开时他们离开了
So they got out while they could.
阿西莫夫三岁时
By the time the child was three,
他们一家搬到了美国纽约
they had moved to America, to New York.
阿西莫夫聪颖过人 五岁便开始读书
A precocious child, Asimov learned to read at the age of five.
由于俄罗斯内战期间普遍缺少出生记录
And because of the nearly universal lack of records from the Russian civil war,
他的母亲为了安排他早早入学
his mother got him into school early
向学校谎称他比实际年龄大一岁 也许是一岁
by telling them he was born a year earlier than he was, maybe.
也许 比实际出生日期只早了一个月
Maybe, it was just a month earlier than he was actually born.
你看这个孩子 艾萨克·阿西莫夫
You see this child, Isaac Asimov,
最早真正探索蝴蝶效应的重要作家之一
one of the first major writers to really explore the butterfly effect,
他的生活以及我们中许多人的生活
would have his own life, and thus so many of our lives,
将被这件小事永远改变
forever altered by this one small fact.
没有关于他出生日期的记录
There was no record of his date of birth.
没有人 甚至连他父母都不清楚他具体的出生日期
No one, not even his own parents, knew for certain when he was born.
他的生日大约是1919年10月初到
It was somewhere between early October, 1919,
1920年一月初之间的某一天
and the beginning of January, 1920.
当小阿西莫夫知道
And when young Asimov learned
母亲谎报年龄让他入学时
that his mother had fibbed to get him into school,
他坚持要学校更正记录 改成他“真正”的生日
he insisted that the school change the recordsto give him his”real” birthday.
他选择让他最为年轻的那天作为他“真正”的生日
And for his”real” birthday, he chose to be the youngest he might have been,
也就是1920年1月2日
choosing a birthday of January 2nd, 1920.
这个决定将产生预料不到的后果
A decision that will have unforeseen consequences.
但这都是后话
But those consequences are years away.
在他成长期间
As he grew up,
他父母开了一家糖果店 他经常在那里帮忙
his parents ran a candy store where he worked frequently.
对于我们所有人来说幸运的是 他们也卖杂志
And there, fortunately for all of us, they sold magazines.
值得注意的是 不是其他杂志 而是科幻杂志
Not just any magazines, mind you, Science Fiction magazines,
小阿西莫夫将他的所有空闲时间都花在科幻杂志中
which young Isaac poured over in all of his free time.
当阿西莫夫考大学时
When it came time for college,
他知道他想学习科学
Asimov knew he wanted to go into the sciences.
所以他选择了动物学专业
So, he enrolled to be a zoologist.
但他很快发现他并不喜欢解剖猫
But he soon found he disliked dissecting cats
于是他转到了化学专业
and so became a Chemistry major instead.
正当他致力于攻读大学学位时
And as he was plugging away at his college degree,
有一天他决定去参观一下《惊人故事》杂志办公室
one day he decided to take a trip down to the offices of Astounding Stories,
在那儿他认识了约翰·坎贝尔
where he met one John W. Campbell.
他们坐下来聊了一个小时
They sat and talked for an hour,
谈话结束之际
by the end of which,
坎贝尔答应看一看阿西莫夫写的故事
Campbell had promised to take a look at one of Asimov’s stories.
他看过之后 拒绝出版
This he did, and rejected it.
但这次经历却让两人决定定期会面
But this did lead to regular meetings between the two
阿西莫夫一次又一次地投稿
and time and again, Asimov submitted writing,
直到 他的一部作品成功出版
until at last, he got one accepted.
终于他因一篇名为《逐出灶神星》的科幻小说
Finally, with a story called Marooned off Vesta,
成为了出版作家
he became a published author.
但有趣的是 作品并非坎贝尔出版
Though, amusingly, not by Campbell
而是由他的竞争对手《惊奇故事》杂志出版的
but by his rival publication, Amazing Stories.
从那以后 受到坎贝尔的鼓励
After that, encouraged by Campbell,
他热情洋溢开始创作 并四处发表文章
he wrote fervently and began being published everywhere,
其中包括他最喜欢的杂志 由坎贝尔主编的《惊人故事》
including his favorite magazine, Campbell’s own Astounding Stories.
那时 他已经毕业了
By now, he had graduated,
但是却一直被医学院拒收
and was busy getting rejected by medical schools.
因为从医希望渺茫
With medicine not seeming to be in the cards,
他不得不另择出路
he had to choose another path.
当他正考虑攻读化学硕士学位时
As he was mulling over getting his Masters in chemistry,
他的老朋友坎贝尔给他读了爱默生的金句
his old friend Campbell read him an Emmerson quote.
句中写道 “如果繁星每隔千年
It said:” If the stars should appear
才出现一晚
one night in a thousand years
人类会如何景仰 崇拜 并世代保留
how would men believe, and adore, and persevere for generations,
上帝之城的回忆呢?”
the remembrance of the city of God?”
读完这段话 坎贝尔却表示他不认同
After reading the passage, Campbell exclaimed that he thought instead
他认为星星一千年才出现一次会令人抓狂
the stars appearing once in a thousand years would drive people mad.
于是 他邀请阿西莫夫写一则关于星星的故事
And then asked Asimov to write a story about THAT.
并支付了双倍稿费
Campbell offered Asimov double pay,
阿西莫夫开始创作坎贝尔一直相信他能写的故事
and Asimov set off to write the story that Campbell always knew he could.
他创作了《夜归》
He wrote Nightfall.
这部作品立刻让他跻身一流科幻小说家之列
This instantly propelled him intothe first rank of science fiction writers.
尽管故事备受追捧
While demand for his stories grew,
粉丝的信件蜂拥而至
and letters from fans started pouring in
科幻写作依旧无法确保收支平衡
science fiction writing still wasn’t making ends meet.
阿西莫夫想要结婚
He wanted to get married,
他一直在寻求更稳定的工作
and was looking for something more stable
随着美国加入二战
and with America entering the Second World War
他决定放弃写作
he decided to put away writing,
并在费城海军基地开始真正的工作
and start a real career down at the Philadelphia Naval Yard.
他整整一年没有写作
For a year, he didn’t write.
值得我们大家庆幸的是二战期间
But lucky for all of us, during the war,
很多东海岸痴迷科学的人
a lot of people with a bent for science on the east coast
最终都去了费城海军基地
ended up at the Philadelphia Naval Yards.
所以 他的两位同事兼密友
So two of his coworkers and close friends
李·斯普拉格·德·坎普和罗伯特·海因莱因
ended up being L. Sprague de Camp
以及那个帮他找到工作的人罗伯特海伦
and the man who helped get him the job,Robert Heinlein,
他们不希望他放弃所喜爱的事情
and they wouldn’t let him just give up on the things he loved.
所以 他再次拿起了笔
And so again, he picked up the pen.
但又一次 命运的逆转将他带走
But once more, a twist of fatepulled him away.
1945年 他应征入伍
In 1945, he was drafted.
他本不应该被征兵 但的确发生了
He shouldn’t have been, but he was.
还记得吗? 当他还是个孩子时
Remember when, as a child,
他的母亲为了让他入学 虚报了他的年龄
his mother had claimed he was olderthan he was to get into school
之后 他提出抗议
and then later, he rebelled
并坚持说 他的出生日期就是
and insisted on saying his official birthdate was
让他看起来最小的那一天
the one that made him seem as young as possible?
那样 他刚好略小于法定最高征兵年龄26岁
Well, that instance put him just below the oldest legal draft age of 26.
因此 他随船去了夏威夷
And so, he was shipped off to Hawaii.
但是 在科幻小说史上最奇特的一次命运逆转中
But, in one of the strangest twists of fate in sci-fi history.
九个月后 办事员记录错误 使他光荣退伍
Nine months later, a clerical error gave him an honorable discharge
他回到了东海岸
and he was back on the east coast,
重新投身写作
and throwing himself back at writing.
正是这段时期 他写出了许多伟大的作品
It’s this period that gave us some of his greatest works.
在他决定成为一名全职职业作家之前
and while he’ll go on to get a doctorate
他将继续攻读博士学位
and serve as a professor
并当一名教授
before deciding to become a professional writer full time.
这期间发生的故事 我们会在
It’s this period we’re going to talk about
接下来的两集中谈到
for the next two episodes.
因为阿西莫夫在科幻上的极大天赋
Because Asimov’s great gift to sci-fi
是他接受理论或汲取前沿科学观点的能力
was his ability to take theories or cutting edge scientific ideas
并且提问 “人类可以用科学干什么”
and ask, “What would humanity do with this?”
“科学到底是怎么运作的”
and, “How would this really play out?”
因为奇特的人生经历
Due to his life of peculiar experiences,
阿西莫夫并不将科技视为独立的工具装备
Asimov saw technology not as gadgets and gizmos in isolation…
而是人类前进道路上的一部分
…but rather as a part of the march of human progress.
他意识到 你不能孤立地看待科技
He saw that, you couldn’t look at technology
而是应该观察其社会意义
without looking at what it would mean to society…
以及研究人类使用科技的方法
…and how we would use it as human beings.
正如此后作家所指出的 他的失败
Now his failing, as later writers would point out… …
在于他没有意识到人的本性
is that he didn’t realize that human nature,
会随着社会的基础而发生改变
along with the foundation of societies, can change.
他的许多书和书中人物都受到
Many of his books and many of his characters came
美国二战后文化的影响
out of the culture of a post World War 2 America…
他的看法 价值观和偏见也受其影响
…with his perspectives, values, and biases.
甚至当他评价
And even when he was commenting on,
或者批评这些价值观时 他也无法撼动这些偏见
or critiquing those values, sometimes he couldn’t shake those biases.
从科技角度讲 他也不是一个伟大的作家
He also — and here I am committing a great blasphemy
在这里 我这样讲
in the science fiction world by saying this — wasn’t…
是对他在科幻小说界的极大亵渎
…a great writer… in the technical sense.
他的散文十分功利 笔下的人物带有戏剧性
His prose are utilitarian, and his characters are often histrionic… …
很少单纯充当角色 更多的作为推动情节发展的手段
serving less as characters, and more as devices to propel the plot.
但是他的想法却是前所未有的
But his ideas, his ideas were revolutionary.
他是具有伟大思想的现代科幻小说家
He was the first great ideas writer of modern Sci Fi,
或许也是最优秀的作家
and perhaps the best.
每本书都探求特定的主题和概念
Every book played with some theme or concept,
探索一些对我们思维产生长达几代影响的概念
exploring some notion that would impact our thinking for generations.
有时 这使得他的书如今很难读懂
At times, this makes his books hard to read today… …
因为他的想法已经成为当今社会的一部分
because his ideas have become so much a part of of our society… …
他的想法中包含的启示
that the revelations in them,
在它们刚刚发表时一定会给人留下深刻的印象
which must have been mind-blowing when they were first released… …
这些启示很容易就被他们
are hard not to have spoiled by their mere act
在当今现世界的存在所破坏
of existing in the modern world.
机器人 AI 经济 政治理论
Robotics,AI, Economics, Political Theory…
所有这些使得他精妙的思想展露出来
…all of these bare the stamp of his incredible mind.
他是现代最高产的作家之一
And he was one of the most prolific writers of the modern age… …
他留下了大约500本书 从推理小说
leaving behind roughly 500 books, ranging from mystery novels,
到硬科学
to books on hard science…
到成页的污秽散文诗
…to folios of dirty limericks.
我们将会在接下来几周内持续关注
But it’s the two greatest pillars of his idea-centric science fiction we’ll be focusing
他以思想中心的科幻小说中的两大支柱
on for the next few weeks:
机器人系列小说
Robotics…
基地系列小说
…and The Foundation.
我们到时再见!
We’ll see you then!

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