December 21, 1919 |
New York City, US
|Occupation||short story author and writer of comic verse|
Lawrence (Larry) Eisenberg (born December 21, 1919) is a science fiction writer. He is best known for his short story "What Happened to Auguste Clarot?," published in Harlan Ellison's anthology Dangerous Visions. Eisenberg's stories have also been printed in a number of leading science fiction magazines, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, and Asimov's Science Fiction. His stories have been reprinted in anthologies such as Great Science Fiction of the 20th Century, The 10th Annual of the Year’s Best S-F, and Great Science Fiction By the World's Great Scientists. He is also known for the limericks he posts in the comments sections of various articles in The New York Times.
Eisenberg was born in New York City in 1919 to Sidney Eisenberg, a furniture salesman, and Yetta Yellen, and grew up in the Bronx during the Great Depression. Eisenberg attended City College of New York before going to Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, where he received his Ph.D. in Electronics. After serving as a radar operator in the Air Force during World War II, Eisenberg married Frances Brenner in 1950. They have one daughter and one son.
Eisenberg was for many years a biomedical engineer at Rockefeller University, where he and Dr. Robert Schoenfeld were co-heads of the Electronic Lab. He designed the first transistorized radio-frequency coupled pacemaker in about 1960 in collaboration with Dr. Alexander Mauro. It is currently on display at Caspary Hall, Rockefeller University.
Eisenberg and Brenner still live in Manhattan.
Eisenberg published his first short story, "Dr. Beltzov's Polyunsaturated Kasha Oil Diet," in Harper's Magazine in 1962. Shortly after that, he began publishing his stories in many of the leading science fiction magazines of the day, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, and If. Eisenberg's science fiction takes a humorous approach to storytelling. As Eisenberg has said, "I enjoy wedding humor with science fiction, particularly where some unsavory aspect of our society can be pricked."
Many of Eisenberg's stories feature his character Professor Emmet Duckworth, a research scientist and two-time winner of the Nobel Prize. Duckworth's "bright ideas seem great at first but always end in disaster" with one of the professor's many inventions being "an addictive aphrodisiac clocking in at 150,000 calories per ounce—along with a propensity to turn those taking it into walking bombs." A number of the Duckworth stories were collected in Eisenberg's short story collection The Best Laid Schemes, published in 1971 by MacMillan.
Eisenberg is best known for his short story What Happened to Auguste Clarot?, which was published in the anthology Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison. His stories have also been reprinted in anthologies such as Great Science Fiction of the 20th Century, The 10th Annual of the Year’s Best SF, and Great Science Fiction By the World's Great Scientists.
He has published two books of limericks (both with George Gordon), and one collection of short stories, Best Laid Schemes. More recently, he has gained a cult following for the limericks he posts in the comments sections of various New York Times articles and has been called the "closest thing this paper has to a poet in residence."
Eisenberg wrote the following limerick about his life
A nonagenarian, I,With lim’ricks in ready supply.
A sometime writer of sci-fi,
Gen’rally of good cheer,
From a New York Times reader: "The Eisenberg Certainty Principle":
There once was a poet named Larry
Whose thoughts one could never quite parry
For when Larry had spoken
The mold it was broken
Though the topics invariably vary.
Short Story Collection
- The Best Laid Schemes, MacMillan, New York, 1971.
Limericks and other books
- Limericks for Lantzmen (1965) with George Gordon.
- Limericks for the Loo (July 1966) with George Gordon.
- Games People Shouldn't Play (November 1966) with George Gordon.
Selected Short Fiction
- Reginald, Robert (1979). Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature - Volume 2. p. 888. ISBN 094102878X.
- The 6th Floor’s Poet in Residence by Tony Gervino, The New York Times, July 14, 2011.
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Volume 2 edited by R. Reginald, Douglas Menville, Mary A. Burgess, Wildside Press LLC, 2010, page 888.
- "How a 96-Year-Old Limerick Master Became a New York Times Top Commenter" by Britta Lokting, Forward, February 4, 2016.
- Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers, edited by Curtis Smith, St. Martin's Press, 1981, page 171-2.
- "Meet Some of Our Top Commenters" by Bassey Etim, The New York Times, November 23, 2015.
- Lawrence Eisenberg entry in American Men & Women of Science, R.R. Bowker, New York, 1998-99.
- Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-fiction Magazines from 1970 to 1980 by Michael Ashley, Liverpool University Press, 2007, pages 49-50.
- Exclusive Interview: Larry Eisenberg, SF Signal, accessed Nov. 23, 2009.
- "Happy Birthday, Larry Eisenberg" by Andrew Rosenthal, The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2012.
- "The 6th Floor’s Poet in Residence" by Tony Gervino, The New York Times, July 14, 2011.
- Eisenberg, Larry (June 1962). "Dr. Beltzov's Polyunsaturated Kasha Oil Diet". Harper's Magazine: 33–4.
- The 10th Annual of the Year’s Best S-F, edited by Judith Merril, Gnome Press, 1965, page 197.
- Great science fiction: stories by the world's great scientists by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Charles Waugh. D.I. Fine (publisher), 1985, page 219.