Petition to get a plaque commemorating Isaac Asimov in Philadelphia

Science fiction author Michael Swanwick sez, "In my adopted hometown of Philadelphia there's a move afoot to put up a plaque where Isaac Asimov lived while he was working (and writing seminal Foundation and Robot stories) at the Naval Yard during WWII. Asimov hated Philadelphia while he lived here but came back for the conventions year after year. He gave back. Now it's time to Philadelphia to give back to him. The petition seems to have stalled at 364, 136 short of its goal. This despite the fact that you don't have to be a citizen of Pennsylvania to sign it. I don't want to be a part of a genre that can't give Isaac five hundred signatures. I'm betting the author of 'I, Rowboat,' agrees with me."

Indeed I do, Michael.

(Image: Isaac Asimov painted portrait _DDC4972, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from home_of_chaos's photostream)


  1. Asimov doesn’t need no stinking plaque in Philadelphia, or anywhere else for that matter.  The guy is what he was.  The Foundation Trilogy will last much longer than any silly brass monument.   

    1. I guess that you don’t get invited to many “plaquings”. Unveiling a plaque is usually a grand occasion and sometimes leads to perks like personal tours of interesting places.

    2. Actually, the Historical Commission recommends that you just buy your own plaque rather than getting an official one sanctioned.  Plus, the official ones cost a couple grand…

  2. Hey it’ll get done. We got our Noam Chomsky mural up,  (that will soon be covered up by a new building)

  3. We had a small rally at Barkan Park, 50th and Chestnut, across the street where Asimov rented an apt. We also made a video, viewable at

    I’m warming to the idea of a mural depicting Philadelphia’s legacy of science fiction, which includes Poe, Lovecraft (he honeymooned here), the Navy Yard think tank of Heinlein, Asimov and de Camp, and that Asimov’s and Weird Tales were edited here. And isn’t our number one citizen, Ben Franklin, sort of a science fiction hero in his own right? 

  4. What a coincidence.

    I signed the petition, but not only for his sci-fi. Also for his science writing. Probably the most influential book in the direction of my entire life was Asimov’s “Life and Energy” (1962). My father suggested I read it when I was in 9th grade. It gives, in the form of an account of chemical thermodynamics, biochemistry, and the question of “what is life, anyway?” the most compelling introduction I can think of of what science is. I became a scientist.

    On the other hand, my father passed along the Foundation trilogy at an early age also. And I became a scientist who makes mathematical models.

    So, yeah. Give the man a plaque.

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