I am scared and excited about this one. The Foundation was actually the first science fiction book I ever read. Matter of fact it was not only the Foundation but the original trilogy which were all wrapped up neatly in one giant size book. Well for a 11 year old it was giant size. I remember the lasting impact on my young mind back then and how it influence how I looked upon not only science fiction works such as novels , tv , movies or what have you. But how I looked upon everything else including questioning how the world was evolving. Now to hear that it is becoming a movie , well has me like I said excited and scared. Excited to see it on the big screen . Scared that they will take a so called artistic license and butcher a brilliant piece of work. Grant you some of the technology in these novel are dated but that is understandable if you realize the date these were written. But the heart of these books and the books Asimov wrote based off the Foundation that were published after the series (see list of all the foundation series below) are priceless and should not really be tampered with. I guess I am going to have to be one of those stringent critiques when the movie finally is release which is a while away.
I should get to the nuts and bolts of this blog article, shouldn’t I. Well according to Deadline.com Sony Pictures has hired Dante Harper to adapt Foundation to the big screen which Roland Emmerich is developing to direct. Now according to the article and I am quoting here , “Michael Wimer won a multi-studio auction as the rights became available. ” The original foundation book was a collection of five short stories, which were first published together as a book by Gnome Press in 1951. Together they formed a single story plot that would end up being the foundation (excuse the intended pun) of the Foundation series. So if they are just adopting the first novel and then planning to release the film in a trilogy then it may not be so bad. Then again I have images of I Robot in my head with Will Smith and how that was butchered and mangled to the point of non recognition of Asimov’s work. There is so many ways they can kill this it is not funny. Well we will have to wait and see, won’t we. In the mean time here is a list of all the Foundation books written by Asimove taking from Wikipedia with links intact to all other resources. Remember the original trilogy of books that are discussed in this article are the Foundation , Foundation and the Empire, and The Second Foundation. All other books came after those were written.
Prelude to Foundation
Prelude to Foundation opens on the planet Trantor, the empire’s capital planet, the day after Hari Seldon has given a speech at a conference. Several parties become aware of the contents of his speech—that using mathematical formulas, it may be possible to predict the future course of human history. Seldon is hounded by the Emperor and various employed thugs (working surreptitiously) and is forced into exile. Over the course of the book, Seldon and Dors Venabili, a female companion, are taken from location to location by an aide, Chetter Hummin, who introduces them to various walks of life in his attempts to keep Seldon hidden from the Emperor.
Throughout their adventures all over Trantor, Seldon continuously denies that psychohistory is a realistic science and that, even if it were feasible, it may take several decades even to develop. Hummin, however, is convinced that Seldon knows something and, as a result, continuously presses him to work out a starting point to develop psychohistory.
Eventually, after much traveling and introductions to various, diverse cultures on Trantor, Seldon realizes that using the entire known Galaxy as a starting point is too overwhelming to try to accomplish and decides to use Trantor as a model to work out the science, with a goal of using the applied knowledge on the rest of the galaxy.
Forward the Foundation
Eight years after the events of Prelude, Seldon has worked out the science of psychohistory and has applied it on a galactic scale. His notability and fame increase and is eventually promoted to First Minister to the Emperor. As the book progresses, Seldon loses those closest to him, including his wife, Dors Venabili, as his own health deteriorates into old age. Having worked his entire adult life to understand psychohistory, Seldon instructs his granddaughter, Wanda, to set up the Second Foundation.
Called forth to stand trial on Trantor for allegations of Treason (for foreshadowing the decline of the Galactic Empire), Seldon explains that his science of Psychohistory foresees many alternatives, all of which result in the Galactic Empire eventually falling. If humanity follows their current path, the Empire will fall and thirty thousand years of turmoil will overcome humanity before a second Empire arises. However, an alternative path allows for the intervening years to only be one thousand, if Seldon is allowed to collect the most intelligent minds and create a compendium of all human knowledge, entitled Encyclopedia Galactica. The board is still wary, but allows Seldon to assemble whomever he needs, provided he and the “Encyclopedists” be exiled to a remote planet, Terminus. Seldon agrees to set up his own collection of Encyclopedists, and also secretly implements a contingency plan—a second Foundation—at the “opposite end” of the galaxy.
Once on Terminus, the inhabitants find themselves at a loss. With four powerful planets surrounding their own, the Encyclopedists have no defenses but their own intelligence. The Mayor of Terminus City, Salvor Hardin, proposes to play the planets off against each other. His plan is a success, the Foundation remains untouched and he is promoted to Mayor of Terminus. Meanwhile, the minds of the Foundation continue to develop newer and greater technologies which are smaller and more powerful than the Empire’s equivalents. Using their scientific advantage, Terminus develops trade routes with nearby planets, eventually taking them over when their technology becomes a much needed commodity. The interplanetary traders effectively become the new diplomats to other planets. One such trader, Hober Mallow, becomes powerful enough to challenge and win the seat of Mayor and by cutting off supplies to a nearby region, also succeeds in adding more planets to the Foundation’s reach.
Foundation and Empire
The current Emperor of the Galaxy perceives the Foundation as a growing threat and orders an attack on them, utilising the Empire’s still mighty fleet of war vessels. However, the degeneration of the Empire and the scientific advancements of the Foundation are not in sync and as a result, the Foundation’s smaller fleet is mightier. Coupled with political back-and-forths within the Empire leads the Foundation to a victory and the Empire itself is defeated.
Meanwhile an unknown outsider known as The Mule has begun taking over planets belonging to the Foundation at a rapid pace. It becomes known that the Mule is, in fact, a mutant who retains the ability to psychically alter the emotions of people. Using this power to great advantage, the Mule conquers planets simply by visiting them in force, with his own army, instilling the inhabitants with great fear, then again with great loyalty to himself. When the Foundation comes to realize that The Mule was not foreseen in Seldon’s plan, and there is no predicted way of defeating him, Toran and Bayta Darell, accompanied by Ebling Mis, the galaxy’s current greatest psychologist and a street clown named Magnifico (whom they agree to protect, as his life is under threat from the Mule himself) set out to find the Second Foundation, hoping they bring an end to the Mule’s reign.
Eventually, working in the still functional Great Library of Trantor, Mis comes to learn of the Second Foundation’s whereabouts. However, having worked out that the Mule is also attempting to find the secret of the Second Foundation, Bayta Darell kills Mis before he can reveal where the Second Foundation is. Bayta explains that she regrets her actions, but the secret had to be kept from the Mule at all costs. Magnifico reveals that Bayta’s suspicions are correct and that he is the Mule and has been laboring to find the Second Foundation and conquer it along with the original Foundation. He leaves Trantor to rule over his conquered planets while continuing his own search.
As the Mule comes closer to finding it, the mysterious Second Foundation comes briefly out of hiding in order to face the threat directly. It is revealed to be a collection of the most intelligent humans in the galaxy. While the first Foundation has developed the physical sciences, the Second Foundation has been developing the mental sciences. Using the might of its strongest minds, the Second Foundation ultimately wears down the Mule. His destructive attitude is adjusted to a benevolent one. He returns to rule over his kingdom peacefully for the rest of his life, without any further thought of conquering the Second Foundation.
The First Foundation, learning of the implications of the Second, who will be the true inheritors of Seldon’s promised future Empire, greatly resents them – and seeks to find and destroy them, believing it can manage without them. After many attempts to unravel the only clue Seldon had given as to the Second Foundation’s whereabouts (“at the other end of the Galaxy”), the Foundation is led to believe that the Second Foundation is located on Terminus. By developing a technology which causes great pain to telepaths, the Foundation uncover a group of 50 such, and destroys them, believing that it has thereby won. However, the Second Foundation has planned for this eventuality, and has sent 50 of its members to their deaths as martyrs in order to regain its anonymity.
Believing that the Second Foundation still exists (despite the common belief that it has been extinguished), Golan Trevize is sent by the current Mayor of the Foundation, Harla Branno, to uncover the group while accompanied by a scholar named Janov Pelorat. After sharing a few conversations with each other, Trevize comes to believe that the Second Foundation lies on a planet in which Pelorat is an expert—the mythical planet of Earth. No such planet exists in any database, yet several myths and legends all reference it, and it is Trevize’s idea that the planet is deliberately being kept hidden.
Meanwhile, Stor Gendibal, a prominent member of the Second Foundation, discovers a simple local—who lives on the same planet as the Second Foundation—has had a minor alteration made to her mind. This alteration is far more delicate than anything the Second Foundation can do and, as a result, he determines that a greater force of Mentalics is operating in the Galaxy—a force as powerful as the Mule himself. Having shown interest in Trevize earlier (as he is an individual who has spoken out against the Second Foundation frequently), Gendibal endeavors to follow Trevize, reasoning that he should be able to find out who has altered the mind of the native.
Using the few scraps of reliable information within the various myths, Trevize and Pelorat discover a planet called Gaia, which is inhabited solely by Mentalics, to such an extent that every organism and inanimate object on the planet shares a common mind. Having followed Trevize by their own means, Branno and Gendibal both reach Gaia at the same time. Meanwhile, Trevize is made to decide between three alternatives for the future of the human race: the First Foundation’s mastery of the physical world and its traditional political organization (i.e., empire), the Second Foundation’s mentalics (and probable rule by mind control), or Gaia’s absorption of the entire Galaxy into one shared, harmonious intellect.
After Trevize makes his decision, the intellect of Gaia adjusts Branno’s mind so that she believes she has become victorious and conquered the planet (but that she will also continue to leave it alone) and Gendibal is sent back to the Second Foundation under the impression that the Second Foundation is victorious and should continue as normal. Trevize remains uncertain as to why he has chosen Gaia as the correct outcome for the future.
Foundation and Earth
Still uncertain about his decision, Trevize continues on with the search for Earth along with Pelorat and a local of Gaia, advanced in Mentalics, known as Blissenobiarella (usually referred to simply as Bliss). Eventually Trevize finds three sets of co-ordinates which are very old. Adjusting them for time, he realises that his ship’s computer does not list any planet in the vicinity of the co-ordinates. When he physically visits each location, he discovers an uncharted planet: Aurora, Melpomenia, and finally Solaria. After searching each, none have given him the answers he seeks.
Solaria contains a small population which is extremely advanced in the field of Mentalics. When their lives are threatened, Bliss uses her abilities (and the shared intellect of Gaia) to destroy the inhabitant who is about to kill them. Discovering that this leaves behind a small child who will be put to death if left alone, Bliss makes the decision to keep the child as they quickly escape the planet.
Eventually Trevize discovers Earth, but it, again, contains no satisfactory answers for him. However, it dawns on Trevize that the answer may not be on Earth, but on Earth’s satellite – the Moon. Upon approaching the planet, they are drawn closer and then to inside the Moon’s core where they meet a robot by the name of R. Daneel Olivaw. Olivaw explains that he is at the end of his run-time and that, despite replacement parts and more advanced brains (which contain 20,000 years of memories), he is going to die shortly. He explains that no robotic brain can be developed to replace his current one and that to continue assisting with the benefit of humanity – which may come under attack by beings from beyond our Galaxy – he must meld his mind with an organic intellect. Once again, Trevize is put in the position of deciding if having Olivaw meld with the child’s superior intellect would be in the best interests of the Galaxy. The decision is left ambiguous (though likely a ‘Yes’) as it is also implied that the melding of the minds may be to the child’s benefit and that she may have sinister intentions about it.
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