The Greatest Asset

The Greatest Asset

"The Great Asset" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was written as a counterpoint to his story 2430 A.D. with the intention of refuting, rather than illustrating, the same quotation by writer and social commentator J. B. Priestley. It was published in the January 1972 issue of Analog and reprinted in the 1975 collection Buy Jupiter and Other Stories.

The quotation by Priestley runs:

Between midnight and dawn, when sleep will not come and all the old wounds begin to ache, I often have a nightmare vision of a future world in which there are billions of people, all numbered and registered, with not a gleam of genius anywhere, not an original mind, a rich personality, on the whole packed globe.

2430 A.D. had been commissioned by Think, the house magazine of IBM, but was rejected because it confirmed Priestley's quote. Think requested another story refuting the quote. The rejection of 2430 A.D. came when Asimov's marriage to his first wife was coming to an end. On July 3, 1970, he moved out of his house in West Newton, Massachusetts and took up residence in the Cromwell Hotel in New York City. After settling in, Asimov felt the need to write something, to prove to himself that the disruption of his life had not impaired his writing ability. Thus, on July 8, he wrote The Greatest Asset, mailing it to Think the following day. On July 22 Asimov received word that Think had rejected The Greatest Asset and would, instead, be running 2430 A.D.. Having the first piece of writing he produced after moving to New York rejected came as a blow to Asimov. On July 27 he visited John W. Campbell, editor of Analog magazine, and told him of Think's rejection of "The Greatest Asset". Campbell told him that his own needs and judgment were different from Think's and asked to see the story. Within a week Campbell accepted it, and The Greatest Asset appeared in the January 1972 issue of Analog.

Read more about The Greatest Asset:  Plot Summary

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