Foundation, empire and robots

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JoeZhang, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  3. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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. :)
     
  4. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  5. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ah - thanks for that - the epilogue in my copy mentions the denouncement but doesn't feature it.
     
  8. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    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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