Please – no preferential treatment

As well as writing approximately 500 novels and many articles and essays, prolific and now legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov somehow found the time to work for The Horn Book Magazine — a well regarded publication in which he reviewed and commented on science books — for nine years. The following letter, written by Asimov to then-Horn Book editor Ruth Hill Viguers following a pay increase, perfectly illustrates his passion for the craft, and is an example of why he will always be remembered as a man of morals and a perfect gent.



28 November 1964

Mrs. Ruth Hill Viguers
The Horn Book, Inc.
585 Boylston Street
Boston, Mass., 02116

Dear Mrs. Viguers,

It is very good of you to increase my payment again. As you know, I have never asked for an increase or even hinted that an increase might be in order for I know that The Horn Book is not a vast money-making concern and because my return for the work I do is, in any case, chiefly the pleasure of my association with the good people of the magazine.

Consequently, I hope you will be able to assure me, for the sake of conscience, that this increase (from an original payment of $25 to the present one of $65) does not seriously affect the magazine budget, and — if it turns out that the general prosperity of the magazine is increasing — that others are also sharing in the benefits and that I am not receiving favored treatment.