Portrait of the artist as an overachiever: Asimov is renowned for his prodigious output, but readers will also learn here that he is an original thinker, not just a re-cycler of other peoples' ideas. Largely propelled by material from his autobiographies (two volumes, so far), Erlanger's smooth, coherent presentation slips neatly between the Scylla of hype and the Charybdis of didacticism; a clear sense of Asimov's bubbly personality enlivens without overwhelming the biographical and literary detail. Plentiful b&w photos show him at work and play, with his family and fellow writers; one caption notes recent health problems. Literary comments are brief but well-chosen. Partial lists of his books for young people are appended.