Saturday, January 02, 2010

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

Jessie pulled out a small mirror and the silver-chased cosmetokit that Baley had bought her on the occasion of three birthdays before. The cosmetokit had several orifices and she used each in turn. All but the last spray were invisible. She used them with that finness of touch and delicacy of control that seems to be the birthright of women even at times of the greatest stress.

The base went on first in a smooth even layer that removed all shininess and roughness from the skin and left it with the faintly golden glow which long experiencw had taught Jessie was just the shade most suited to the natural coloring of her hair and eyes. Then the touch of tan along the forehead and chin, a gentle brush of rouge on either cheek, tracing back to the angle of the jaw; and a delicate drift of blue on the upper eyelids and along the earlobes. Finally there was the application of the smooth carmine to the lips. That involved the one visible spray, a faintly pink mist that glistened liquidly in the air, but dried and deepened richly on contact with the lips.

"There," said Jessie, with several swift pats at her hair and a look of deep dissatisfaction. "I suppose that will do."

Isaac Asimov, The Caves of Steel, 1953

January 2nd was the date Isaac Asimov considered as his birthday for lack of any official birth certificate documenting his birth. A scientist, humorist, humanist and one of my very favorite authors would have been 90 today if it weren't for his untimely death of AIDS (he was given a contaminated blood transfusion during heart surgery in the early 80s).

He was often criticized for his lack of substantial female heroines, yet he's given us the unforgettable Dr. Susan Calvin from his short robot stories. The paragraph above, from his space detective novel, The Caves Of Steel, shows that while he might not have had much direct experience with women in his earlier years (by his admission), he has definitely been watching us and paying attention.

The cosmetokit sound like a fun idea. Maybe it's the future of Bobbi Brown's palettes. Light blue earlobes? Why not? Would you?

Photo of Isaac Asimov:
Fashion and Makeup picture by Bert Stern, Vogue 1964.


  1. Ah, I absolutely love Asimov! He wasn't just a wonderful, creative writer, he was gifted at really creating characters of the future that rang absolutely true.

    I think his prediction of the cosmetokit is getting closer, though I thought of the $200 goofy airbrush makeup machine Sephora's carrying instead of Bobbi Brown. If that keeps evolving, we may have little spray kits in no time.

  2. I'm another sci-fi fan...enjoy Asimov but right now I am into Linnea Sinclaire. Guilty pleasure reading, perhaps, but I love a good kick-ass space woman!!!

    The cosmetokit sounds just like the Chanel make-up box in the movie "The Fifth Element." Has anyone seen that? It's really cool and I would definitely use it. You basically hold it up to your face (it looks like a big camera), press the button and FLASH! you're perfectly done-up. I do enjoy the application process but I'd use this if I were in a rush.


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