Foundation (by Apple)


PLEASE don’t screw it up. One of my all-time favorite reads was this trilogy (and the three pre-quel novels).

I’m cautiously curious and optimistic about this.

My introduction to science fiction when I was a little kid (well after Heinlein of course), they are great stories and if well done will appeal. One appeal of the books is the sense of space, space to think and that IMO would preclude a slow atmospheric movie rather than an action one.

Awesome if done well. If not, the horror, the horror.

I loved the stories when I read them originally, but I re-read some of it a couple years ago and they have not aged well. In particular, the whole premise - that the course of history can be predicted - seems contrary to what chaos theory tells us. Now, I know chaos theory doesn’t mean everything is chaotic (e.g. a controlled system like the Jurassic Park is not subject to it) but it’s hard to argue that human history isn’t a non-linear system that’s highly sensitive to initial conditions.

It’s been a while since I read them, but I seem to recall your objection was a big part of the plot. In other words, history couldn’t be predicted.

At some point I counted the women in the first book. Three, maybe? Women who had a speaking part was either zero or one, I can’t remember. One woman showed up mainly to demonstrate the glorious future in which miniaturized nuclear power plants meant that a housewife could fit an entire laundry into a closet!

So, uh, hoping they’ll update the books a bit.

Especially since most of the characters don’t have any particular reason they need to be male. There’d be no harm in just gender-swapping a few of them.

Most of the characters, IIRC, have no particular personality at all. Asimov did some amazing things and had some spectacular ideas, but he wasn’t exactly a brilliant observer of the human condition.

So Apple is creating this series? How is it going to be distributed? Are they going to sell it on their Store? A new streaming service? Are Android people just going to be out of luck?

They’ll have to wait for the Robots stories to be made.

Yeah, my first reaction was “Whaaa…?” I loved the books, but even as a high schooler I knew they were deep… but boring. They’re going to need some major surgery to make them watchable, but then the nerds’ll be all over Reddit/4chan/SDMB panning them.

As an Apple stockholder, they should’ve asked me. I would’ve said "Hey, you can make movies and cars and hoverboards … after you put out a great, fast, cheap computer. With ports.

They’ll just have to settle for dreaming of electric sheep…

OK that’s true, but I think that only becomes part of the plot in the 3rd book. And if I remember correctly, I think the story was that history could be predicted unless a significant unpredictable anomaly occurred, like a mutant telepath trying to conquer the galaxy.

The Second Foundation was set up at the same time as The Foundation in order to secretly make in-course corrections to address the unpredictability of history. The Mule was just too big of a disturbance to correct for before the opening of Seldon’s Vault.

As I recall, Asimov’s vision of Trantor–a completely enclosed, world-spanning city, with zero need to ever leave its confines–came from his idea of an ideal place to live. Turns out that most people aren’t agoraphobes and look at Trantor with moderate horror.

Semi-cute story. Shortly after I’d graduated college a friend informed me that his statistic professor was planning to base his lecture of that day on the opening section of “Foundation”. Having read the (then) trilogy a few times in my (then) 23 years, I accompanied my friend to the class. The professor saw me and said “Mr. Dub, I was under the impression that you had graduated from this institution.” I replied that I had but when I’d heard that he was planning to speak on the “Foundation” books, I felt compelled to “drop in” as I considered myself a bit of an expert on them as well.

So he gives his lecture about 45 minutes into the hour he makes some point about the necessity to keep the population as a whole in the dark about the fact that their behavior is being psychohistorlcally analyzed. And I said: “I don’t think so.” So he talks about the great secret and if the fact that the use of psychohistory isn’t the secret, what possibly could be. I replied:

“Well, if the secret of psychohistory isn’t that it could predict the future, every citizen of the Second Foundation knew that, and if it wasn’t the general nature of those predictions, Bel Riose knew that, I suggest that the only possible thing remaining that could be the secret of psychohistory would be psychohistory itself, that is, to say, the statistical methodology by which those predictions are made.” Pause. “Perhaps because the possession and use of that statistical methodology by multiple groups, groups that would, over time, invariably work at cross purposes, could introduce variables into the equations with which even psychohistory would be unable to cope.”

He just looks at me and says: “Interesting theory.” And goes right on. Let’s just say I’m glad he’d never have the chance to grade me again.

I’ve heard the criticism that the few female characters Asimov did write had no personality. Which is an odd complaint, because his two most prominent female characters (Dr. Susan Calvin and Arkady) both had a heck of a lot more personality than most of his male characters. And most of the other characters with interesting personalities don’t have any gender at all (he makes it clear in one of his stories that, although most robots answer to gendered (usually male) pronouns, they do so solely for the sake of the humans they interact with, not from any inherent identity).