Well, I remember once being at a luncheon with Isaac Asimov, who had written 560 books or something at that time. The woman next to me whispered, ‘Mr. Asimov seems very quiet,’ and I said, ‘While you were making small talk he wrote a novella.’ And then I said, ‘It’s got to be some kind of illness writing 560 books. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s got to be some kind of mishegas.’ Then the guy next to me said, ‘I’ve written 178,’ and I said, ‘Oh, well, 178, sure. That’s fine.’ 178 books?

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Michael Meyer is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter at @mcm_nm.