Isaac Asimov always celebrated January 2, 1920 as his birthday, even though the exact date was not technically known as a result of a combination of poor memories and lost records. Asimov was born to Judah and Anna Rachel Asimov in Petrovichi, Russia, about 250 miles south of Moscow. After his parents had a daughter in 1923, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where another son came along. Asimov officially became an American citizen at the age of eight. At this point, he had already been recognized as being a very bright child in the public school he was attending. He had already become a very avid reader, and he experienced his first science fiction story in a magazine called Amazing Stories in 1929. His father initially would not allow him to read these magazines, as he felt that only "bums read the pulps. but when Science Wonder Stories appeared, the word "science" convinced him of the new publication's value" (Paradowski). These publications sparked an interest in Asimov not only in science but in writing itself, and by the age of eleven he was already writing stories of his own.
Asimov graduated from high school at the age of fifteen and enrolled in Seth Low Junior College, a college that was then a part of Columbia University, as a premedical student with a zoology major. He changed his major to chemistry during his sophomore year. Asimov continued to write throughout college, his father even purchasing a typewriter for him to make the writing easier. In 1938, Asimov wrote a story titled 'Cosmic Corkscrew' about time travel, and wanted to take it to the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, John W. Campbell. On his father's suggestion, he took the story to Campbell in person. After speaking to Asimov for over an hour, Campbell rejected the story but encouraged Asimov to continue writing and trying to get published. After twelve more rejected stories, Asimov finally made his first sale to Amazing Stories in October of 1938, a story called "Marooned off Vesta.