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Old July 6 2013, 09:45 AM   #16
RJDiogenes
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
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The Killer Bs Trilogy was as good as you would expect from authors of that caliber-- but totally inappropriate for the Foundation Universe. [SNIP] And their explanation for the all-human galaxy was mind-boggling SF, but turned the greatest SF future history ever written into a sickening holocaust.
But that goes to the point of the Kiiler B trilogy, that the inescapable logic of the Three Laws was more harmful than good because in their efforts to uphold the First Law the robots could do impossibly unfathomable evil. And further, that humanity doesn't need keepers.

Personally, I loved the revelation in Foundation's Triumph that Olivaw stacked the deck in Foundation's Edge so that his preferred solution to the problem of humanity would be imposed. I love the subtle way the book points out that Hari Seldon's viewpoint, that humanity can make its own way with the Foundation, is the viewpoint that wins out; what need is there of an Encyclopedia Galactica in a Galaxia?

Yes, the revelation that the robots sterilized the galaxy was chilling. That was the point. The First Law doesn't allow a robot the flexibility to see another intelligence as anything but a potential threat to a human being. It's the proactiveness of the thing that is so breathtaking.

It's funny. When Caliban came out, I really wanted Caliban to meet Daneel Olivaw, and I hoped that would happen in one of the later books. Obviously, it didn't, and after Triumph I'm glad it didn't. Olivaw never would have suffered Caliban or the New Law robots to live. He couldn't. They were uncontrollable rogue elements. He would have destroyed them immediately.

I guess one's reaction to the Second Foundation trilogy depends strongly on how one feels about R. Daneel Olivaw because, frankly, the Killer Bs portray Olivaw, though not without justification, as a genocidal monster. For me, that's not an illegitimate interpretation of the character we see in Earth and Prelude.
I don't disagree with any of that. As I said, it's a mind-boggling SF concept-- just totally inappropriate for Foundation. To me, it violates the artistic integrity of the concept and should have been done in a separate venue.
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Old July 6 2013, 12:56 PM   #17
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Why did the authors feel the need to write Foundation novels to explore Robotic story themes, though?
Asimov spent almost as much, if not more, wordcount on Foundation-with-Robots (Prelude, Forward, Earth... maybe Edge, I don't remember) than Foundation-without-Robots (Foundation, Empire, Second, possibly Edge).

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Foundation was prominent in the title. I expected novels of Foundation-based stories, not another exploration of Hari Seldon and Daneel Olivaw, or the implications of the Three Laws.
I felt the trilogy was no less Foundation-based than either Prelude or Forward had been. Besides, this way Daneel only has one "confidant"; why go back to the Empire and make up a new character when Hari already exists and makes more sense in this scenario?
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Old July 6 2013, 03:14 PM   #18
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

But didn't Asimov himself explain the humans-only galaxy as a result of time travel, saying that Eternity from The End of Eternity, or an equivalent group, had adjusted the galaxy's history so that there were no other intelligent species? Is the "Second" trilogy reconcilable with that, or is it deliberately an alternate continuity?
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Old July 6 2013, 03:23 PM   #19
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

End of Eternity's take was that humanity was the oldest race in the galaxy. It was because of Eternity's meddling in space exploration via their time alterations that doomed humanity to never reach the stars. By the time, they had achieved space exploration and FTL travel in the far future, other empires were already there and there was no space for humans.

The 2nd Foundation Trilogy's view was that there were always other races out there, but that they were in a dormant phase when the Settlers begun expanding outwards. The robots were fingered as the ones that sterilized many of these planets that had life on them. So it qualifies as a retcon.
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Old July 6 2013, 03:28 PM   #20
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

^I'm not talking about The End of Eternity itself. In Foundation and Earth, IIRC, Asimov took the idea of Eternity and reworked it, explaining that a time-travel organization similar to Eternity (if not Eternity itself) had worked to create a humans-only galaxy.
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Old July 6 2013, 04:01 PM   #21
Allyn Gibson
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Christopher wrote: View Post
^I'm not talking about The End of Eternity itself. In Foundation and Earth, IIRC, Asimov took the idea of Eternity and reworked it, explaining that a time-travel organization similar to Eternity (if not Eternity itself) had worked to create a humans-only galaxy.
It's actually Foundation's Edge. Dom explains to Trevize and Pelorat on Gaia that they, the Gaians, have a legend, that they don't know is true or not, that a group of humans manipulated time to prevent evolution of sentients on other worlds. If you accept the Second Foundation Trilogy story, then this would be a story created by Olivaw and his followers for the benefit of the Gaians to paint over the original sin of a human-only galaxy. Why look for the truth if you have a perfectly good story that suffices?

A few years later in Robots and Empire, there's a different explanation given for why only Earth developed complex and intelligent lifeforms -- the presence of the Moon and its gravitation influenced plate techtonics which brought radioactive materials closer to the surface (and thus, closer to life), causing more mutations and, thus, faster evolution. Other habitable planets in the galaxy lacked an Luna-sized moon and they were thus less geologically active.
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Old July 6 2013, 04:19 PM   #22
Pavonis
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

ATimson wrote: View Post
I felt the trilogy was no less Foundation-based than either Prelude or Forward had been. Besides, this way Daneel only has one "confidant"; why go back to the Empire and make up a new character when Hari already exists and makes more sense in this scenario?
But they didn't need to use Daneel or Seldon! It's possible to write an excellent story in the Foundation universe without using Daneel and/or Seldon. Donald Kingsbury did it. Benford, Bear and Brin are great authors, among my favorites, and could've added greatly to the universe Asimov created, rather than edit it as they did.
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Old July 6 2013, 04:40 PM   #23
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Pavonis wrote: View Post
But they didn't need to use Daneel or Seldon! It's possible to write an excellent story in the Foundation universe without using Daneel and/or Seldon. Donald Kingsbury did it. Benford, Bear and Brin are great authors, among my favorites, and could've added greatly to the universe Asimov created, rather than edit it as they did.
I think they were constrained by the same problem Asimov faced in 1986 -- where do you go after Foundation and Earth? He had made the Foundation too powerful by 498 FE (which is one of the problems the galaxy faces in Foundation's Edge; the Foundation can militarily achieve a Second Galactic Empire without any great difficulty, five centuries in advance of when the Seldon Plan says it can). Asimov himself didn't know, that's why he went back to explore Hari Seldon's life.

I also think that there were doing things to set up future Foundation books that, for whatever reason, haven't happened. Asimov (chronologically) leaves things at a point where the reader assumes that Galaxia will triumph. Brin makes clear that it's the Foundation that will ultimately triumph -- but he doesn't explain how. I think the Second Foundation Trilogy was designed to get readers to that point, to write the series out of the dead-end that Asimov had written it into. If so, then subsequent books, which would necessarily have to take place post-Earth, would likely explore the conflict between the Foundation (representing free will and individualism), the Second Foundation (representing predestination), and Gaia/Galaxia (representing collectivism) and how the Foundation ultimately triumphs over both. The problem is, we haven't seen those subsequent books.
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Old July 6 2013, 04:58 PM   #24
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

At the end of F&E, the Foundation controls about half the galaxy, and has the most powerful military. They could try to conquer the other half of the galaxy, but socioeconomic forces would have prevented them. Does the Foundation populace want to conquer the galaxy? Would they have the resources to hold half the galaxy against their will? I think there were lots of potential stories to tell. Part of the problem may have stemmed from Asimov having the Encyclopedia Galactic cite the war with Kalgan in the fourth century FE as the last significant battle of the Interregnum. There was no need for that. He was just getting tired of the Foundation stories even back in the '40s.

The Robots-Empire-Foundation universe is a rich one, and a work-around to the "dead end" of F&E could've been found. They only went back to Daneel and Seldon because they're two of Asimov's most famous characters. But Daneel is better in small doses, IMO, and Seldon would not have time to develop psychohistory if he was out having adventures all the time. Giving Hari a secret life wasn't necessary to justify his in-universe contributions to galactic society. It's like giving Einstein a secret life as a spy on top of developing relativity.
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Old July 6 2013, 06:20 PM   #25
JoeZhang
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post



I also think that there were doing things to set up future Foundation books that, for whatever reason, haven't happened. Asimov (chronologically) leaves things at a point where the reader assumes that Galaxia will triumph. Brin makes clear that it's the Foundation that will ultimately triumph -- but he doesn't explain how. I think the Second Foundation Trilogy was designed to get readers to that point, to write the series out of the dead-end that Asimov had written it into. If so, then subsequent books, which would necessarily have to take place post-Earth, would likely explore the conflict between the Foundation (representing free will and individualism), the Second Foundation (representing predestination), and Gaia/Galaxia (representing collectivism) and how the Foundation ultimately triumphs over both. The problem is, we haven't seen those subsequent books.
Brin also sets up future story-lines, there are hints that Daneel is slightly outwitted by his enemies and that either the Seldon we see at the end of the book is a clone/robot or they have a clone/robot of him - what else to make of the sequence where Seldon notices that the rejuv machine they put him in has another chamber which seems to contain another body? That is the logical fit I think (unless I missed something?) and allows seldon to travel 500 years into the future without the time machine *and* still be officially dead.
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Old July 6 2013, 06:41 PM   #26
Allyn Gibson
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Brin also sets up future story-lines, there are hints that Daneel is slightly outwitted by his enemies and that either the Seldon we see at the end of the book is a clone/robot or they have a clone/robot of him - what else to make of the sequence where Seldon notices that the rejuv machine they put him in has another chamber which seems to contain another body? That is the logical fit I think (unless I missed something?) and allows seldon to travel 500 years into the future without the time machine *and* still be officially dead.
Have you read Brin's epilogue? He intended payoff to that, but then cut it.

Personally, I think it's a Ganger Seldon we see in the third act of Triumph. I'm not quite sure where the switch was made, however.
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Old July 6 2013, 06:46 PM   #27
JoeZhang
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Brin also sets up future story-lines, there are hints that Daneel is slightly outwitted by his enemies and that either the Seldon we see at the end of the book is a clone/robot or they have a clone/robot of him - what else to make of the sequence where Seldon notices that the rejuv machine they put him in has another chamber which seems to contain another body? That is the logical fit I think (unless I missed something?) and allows seldon to travel 500 years into the future without the time machine *and* still be officially dead.
Have you read Brin's epilogue? He intended payoff to that, but then cut it.

Personally, I think it's a Ganger Seldon we see in the third act of Triumph. I'm not quite sure where the switch was made, however.
Ah - thanks for that - the epilogue in my copy mentions the denouncement but doesn't feature it.
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Old July 7 2013, 09:22 AM   #28
RJDiogenes
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Re: Foundation, empire and robots

Yeah, I figured they had created a copy of Hari. I didn't like that idea, either-- it would diminish the original, in my opinion. I'm glad no more books were done in that series.
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