I've just about finished Second Foundation
(having completed Foundation
and Foundation and Empire
). Loving it, loving it, loving it.
be applied to Wiki?
I'll tell you if you show me the equations. Then we'll stick them in the Prime Wiki.
- "If a science of history were achieved, it would, like the science of celestial mechanics, make possible the calculable prediction of the future in history. It would bring the totality of historical occurrences within a single field and reveal the unfolding future to its last end, including all the apparent choices made and to be made. It would be omniscience. The creator of it would possess the attributes ascribed by the theologians to God. The future once revealed, humanity would have nothing to do except to await its doom."
Charles Austin Beard, 1933, "Written History as an Act of Faith".
Annual address of the president of the American Historical Association, delivered at Urbana, Illinois. December 28, 1933. From the American Historical Review
In case you were wondering, Isaac Asimov began Foundation
in 1941 when he was only 21 years old; it's hard to know whether he would have read the American Historical Review when he was thirteen. If it was anybody but Asimov, you'd say absolutely not.
An interesting analysis of PsychoHistory
as presented in the original Foundation trilogy resides at http://www.zompist.com/psihist.html
Interesting reviews of the other
Foundation novels (see below) reside at http://www.zompist.com/asimov.htm
If you're loving the Foundation novels, you'll love the robot novels as well. In fact, the robot and Foundation books (and Empire books) all fit together in a coherent future history of the galaxy. Here they are in future historical order:
- I, Robot: collection of short stories about robots that are noticeably more primitive than those in the robot novels. The ThreeLawsOfRobotics are first spelled out in "Runaround." Side note: the Will Smith movie has very little to do with these stories.
- The Caves of Steel: first robot novel, a detective story, starring Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel Olivaw ("R." stands for robot)
- The Naked Sun: more detective work by Daneel and Lije
- The Robots of Dawn: Daneel, Lije, R. Giskard, and Gladia
- Robots and Empire: Daneel, Giskard, and Gladia. The Zeroth Law of Robotics (see ThreeLawsOfRobotics) is introduced.
- The Currents of Space: takes place during the Galactic Empire era
- The Stars, Like Dust: another Galactic Empire novel
- Pebble in the Sky: yet another Galactic Empire novel
- Prelude to Foundation: Hari Seldon presents his paper on predicting the future at a mathematics conference on Trantor
- Forward the Foundation: Seldon develops PsychoHistory and establishes the Foundations
- Foundation: the original Foundation "novel" depicts the beginning of the fall of the Galactic Empire
- Foundation and Empire: more fall, and the Mule appears
- Second Foundation: the Mule and the Foundation search for the secret Second Foundation
- Foundation's Edge: searching for Earth and the Second Foundation
- Foundation and Earth: searching for Earth and robots
The above books are not
listed in the order they were written. In fact the writing spans about 50 years: some of the robot stories go back to 1940, Foundation
was begun in 1941, and Forward the Foundation
was published posthumously in 1993. The three original Foundation "novels" (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation
) are actually collections of short stories and novellas first published in Astounding Science Fiction
then later tied together a bit to form novels. And so the earlier works are a lot more PulpFiction
-ish than the later ones. It's also comical to watch "relays" come and go and see depictions of other technologies vary when you read the books in the order listed above.
- If you're loving the Foundation novels, you'll love the robot novels as well. In fact, the robot and Foundation books (and Empire books) all fit together in a coherent future history of the galaxy.
Er, maybe. You'll probably love the original robot novels, but perhaps not the later "combined" ones. I think the later novels are mostly dross. There seems to be a commandment that all major authors towards the end of their career have to merge their various book's plot lines into some force-fit turgid and over long set of novels (cf. Heinlein). The "Robots" and "Foundation" series were not really intended to fit, IMO, except perhaps in the most tenous way. The "dumbing down" infection is just one of the silly ways they're made to fit. Asimov should have left the classic series alone.
Sure. Some are drossier than others. I can do without some themes in
Foundation and Earth but but I enjoy the search for Earth nevertheless. And all told I get tired of Daneel. But
Robots and Empire is interesting and downright touching. If I remember correctly, the Foundation books didn't sell well until the 1970s. Asimov's publisher Doubleday was clamoring for more Foundation books in the 1980s, so he started cranking them out again. Blame Doubleday, perhaps. (And blame Putnam? for RobertHeinlein, perhaps.) The publishing houses want to spew out bestsellers; Asimov's Foundation and robots are page turners and they sell.
The novel PsychohistoricalCrisis?
is intended as a direct response to the Foundation series and Asimov's imaging of psychohistory.