Published March 07, 2008 · Estimated reading time: 2 minutes · Filed under , , ,

This story is just precious. ๐Ÿ™‚

How it Happened
Isaac Asimov

My brother began to dictate in his best oratorical style, the one which has the tribes hanging on his words.

“In the beginning,” he said, “exactly fifteen point two billion years ago, there was a big bang and the Universe–”

But I had stopped writing. “Fifteen billion years ago?” I said incredulously.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m inspired.”

“I don’t question your inspiration,” I said. (I had better not. He’s three years younger than I am, but I don’t try questioning his inspiration. Neither does anyone else or there’s hell to pay.) “But are you going to tell the story of the Creation over a period of fifteen billion years?”

“I have to,” said my brother. “That’s how long it took. I have it all in here,” he tapped his forehead, “and it’s on the very highest authority.”

By now I had put down my stylus. “Do you know the price of papyrus?” I said.

“What?” (He may be inspired but I frequently noticed that the inspiration didn’t include such sordid matters as the price of papyrus.)

I said, “Suppose you describe one million years of events to each roll of papyrus. That means you’ll have to fill fifteen thousand rolls. You’ll have to talk long enough to fill them and you know that you begin to stammer after a while. I’ll have to write enough to fill them and my fingers will fall off. And even if we can afford all that papyrus and you have the voice and I have the strength, who’s going to copy it? We’ve got to have a guarantee of a hundred copies before we can publish and without that where will we get royalties from?”

My brother thought awhile. He said, “You think I ought to cut it down?”

“Way down,” I said, “if you expect to reach the public.”

“How about a hundred years?” he said.

“How about six days?” I said.

He said horrified, “You can’t squeeze Creation into six days.”

I said, “This is all the papyrus I have. What do you think?”

“Oh, well,” he said, and began to dictate again, “In the beginning– Does it have to be six days, Aaron?”

I said, firmly, “Six days, Moses.”


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Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi

16 responses so far

  1. Very funny.


  2. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I bow to your creative genius! Most excellent!


    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    @Margaret Lion, the bowing must be done to Asimov’s creative genius. Someone needs to create this structure as a sci-fi pilgrimage site ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. Asimov was a literary genius. His Foundation series is a brilliant oracle of the origin of religion. It’s absolutely fantastic, and honestly, a must-read for any sci-fi fan and atheist. It’s all too obvious that he was writing about religion’s origins from a science fiction perspective.


  4. Very funny – great post and blog!


  5. Glad to have found this story. I forwarded it to virtually everyone in my address book. Thanks –and God bless you!


  6. This is a wonderful story, with many more avenues of nuance and interpretation than it may seem at first.
    It’s amazing to me how many people see it as an atheist manifesto, when that is not at all what Asimov intended.


  7. This was third on my list of links when I did a Google search which had nothing to do with you. And I’m glad I read it.


    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    haha… that’s pretty random.


  8. Very funny! Loved it!


    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    Really is… great site btw!


  9. Alright you ignorant atheists… if there is no god, then HOW DOES THE SUN KEEP ORBITING THE EARTH? BAM!

    You see people, that’s how you deal with atheist skum. With LOGIC! Hit that bullseye and the rest of the dominoes will come down like a house of cards… CHECKMATE!

    And on that note…

    Dunt dun duuh DAAAAHHHH!

    !!!!!!!!!MY ATHEIST STORE!!!!!!!!!

    Aristotle’s Muse

    This is my store. Maybe wearing an atheist T-shirt won’t change the world, but enough of them just might.


  10. Your observations and writings are delightful….Just stumbled on you while reading neuroanatomy. Recommend you look at the book: “Another Day in the Frontal Lobe” by Katrina Firlik….also a very interesting writer/brain surgeon. What are your future aspirations, if I make ask?


    Marzieh Ghiasi Reply:

    Thank you for your kind/encouraging comment and the *great* book recommendation! I’ve been reading a lot about 19th century neurology (Hughlings Jackson etc.) recently so it will be nice to put a more modern/practical book on the list.

    Quite interested in neuroscience/anatomy and health policy here… hoping to reconcile everything by going into medicine. We’ll see ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Asimov is a genius! He can tell the most complex of tales with humor and style.


  12. As a practicing Roman Catholic I think this is awesome and hilarious!

    The only thing worse than a Christian that takes ALL of the Bible literally is an atheist that thinks he smart when hes beaten one in debate!

    Seriously though, the bible is a collection of books/ documents and are not literal, scientific teaching and should not be taken that way. Its like a library with many different genres- the information can may be valid but not when taken literally.

    Best regards,


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