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    The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

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    The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 09 Sep 2013 00:11

    Hi

    New member here, and first time poster.

    Has anyone read the Second Foundation Trilogy by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear and David Brin?

    They do a great job of continuing the Foundation series, and explains a lot of unresolved issues like-
    Why there are no non-human intelligences
    Why robots have not been reinvented in 20,000 years.
    Why technology has remained stagnant for so many millenia and has regressed by the time of the original trilogy.
    They also tell us Asimov's intended ending.

    If you have read it, do you feel that is the right way to go about it, or are you opposed to continuing Frank's work in any manner whatsoever?
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Sep 2013 08:13

    I think most of us would like to see a GOOD author take a stab at it.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 09 Sep 2013 09:23

    Freakzilla wrote:I think most of us would like to see a GOOD author take a stab at it.


    Bill Ransom or McNelly should have done it.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Sep 2013 09:38

    Almost anyone would be better than what we got.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby lotek » 10 Sep 2013 08:01

    Haven't read those new Foundation, but I read stuff from Bear and Brin that I really enjoyed, so I guess their take has a good chance of pleasing fans both new and old.

    (we lost the draw big time with Dune, we got the worst writer ever and that's it... oh, and Bobo)
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Freakzilla » 10 Sep 2013 11:37

    I read all of Asimov's Foundation novels, including the Robot and Empire series', several times but I've never had any desire to read the books in that universe by other authors. I guess I felt I had closure after Foundation and Earth.

    I've read a few Greg Bear novels and liked him, though.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Serkanner » 10 Sep 2013 12:24

    Freakzilla wrote:I read all of Asimov's Foundation novels, including the Robot and Empire series', several times but I've never had any desire to read the books in that universe by other authors. I guess I felt I had closure after Foundation and Earth.

    I've read a few Greg Bear novels and liked him, though.


    Same here. I have not ever read any continuation of a series by a another writer.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Freakzilla » 10 Sep 2013 13:32

    Serkanner wrote:I have not ever read any continuation of a series by a another writer.


    Me neither, except for the Morons of Dune.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 10 Sep 2013 13:47

    How did Foundation and Earth give you closure? I was pissed of that there wasn't more. In that sense, the new trilogy was disappointing because it was about Hari Seldon's life

    Asimov had made it clear in Foundation and Earth that Gaia was going to fail, and David Brin makes this even clearer in Foundation's Triumph. See this passage from Foundation and Earth-
    Bliss raised her eyebrows. “I understand that. I merely mean we have no records of the type that Trev—Trevize—is talking about, or was at all likely to come across. I/we/Gaia have no writings, no printings, no films, no computer data banks, nothing. We have no carvings on stone, for that matter. That’s all I’m saying. Naturally, since we have none of these, Trevize found none of these.”
    Trevize said, “What do you have, then, if you don’t have any records that I would recognize as records?”
    Bliss said, enunciating carefully, as though she were speaking to a child. “I/we/Gaia have a memory. I remember.”
    “What do you remember?” asked Trevize.
    “Everything.”


    Since Asimov quotes from the Encyclopedia Galactica published after 1000 F.E., and Galaxia would have no books, obviously Daneel's plan has failed.

    I want to know what happens next!
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Freakzilla » 10 Sep 2013 15:09

    It's been years since I've read them, I don't remember that. I just thought that was the end of the story. :?
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Serkanner » 10 Sep 2013 15:28

    Freakzilla wrote:
    Serkanner wrote:I have not ever read any continuation of a series by a another writer.


    Me neither, except for the Morons of Dune.


    I have had that memory lobotomised.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 10 Sep 2013 21:02

    Freakzilla wrote:
    Serkanner wrote:I have not ever read any continuation of a series by a another writer.


    Me neither, except for the Morons of Dune.


    Some day the hacks will write Muadru of Dune.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Hunchback Jack » 10 Sep 2013 21:28

    I have read the second foundation trilogy, and I think that in principle, that's the way to do it. Get some good authors who write in the same genre, who will be respectful of the work.

    I didn't particularly care for the implementation, in this case, though. The authors seemed not to have collaborated enough to make the overall story arc cohesive, and they each had their pet themes to explore even then. Perhaps there would have been a better result had just one author been chosen. Nevertheless, I think the series better serves Asimovs creation than McDune serves Herbert's.

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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 10 Sep 2013 22:25

    Freakzilla wrote:It's been years since I've read them, I don't remember that. I just thought that was the end of the story. :?


    I did'nt notice it either, until I read this passage in Foundation's Triumph-
    “I’ll tell you what, Daneel. Let’s make a wager.”
    “A wager?”
    Hari nodded. “If you have your way, and Gaia assimilates everybody, eventually creating a vast unitary Galaxia, tell me this—will there be any more need for books ?”
    “Of course not. By definition, all members of the collective will know, almost instantaneously, anything that is learned by the others. Books, in whatever form, are a technique for passing information between separate minds.”
    “Ah. And this assimilation should be complete, by say, six hundred years from now? Seven hundred, at the outside?”
    “It should be.”
    “On the other hand, suppose I am right. Imagine that my Foundation turns out to be stronger, wiser, and more robust than you, Wanda, or any of the robots expect. Perhaps it will defeat you, Daneel. They may decide to reject outside influence by robots, or human mentalics, or even all-wise cosmic minds.
    “Or else, maybe they will accept Galaxia as a marvelous gift, incorporate it in their culture, and move on. Either way, human diversity and individualism will continue in some form. And there will still be a need for books! Perhaps even an Encyclopedia Galactica. ”
    “But I thought the Encyclopedia was just a ruse, to get the Foundation started on Terminus.”
    Hari waved a hand in front of him. “Never mind that. There will be encyclopedias, though perhaps not at first. But the question that now lies before us—the subject of our wager—is this.
    “Will there still be editions of the Encyclopedia Galactica published a thousand years from now?
    “If your Galaxia plan succeeds, in its pure and simple form, there will be no books or encyclopedias in one millennium’s time. But if I am right, Daneel, people will still be creating and publishing compendiums of knowledge. They may share countless insights and intimacies through mentalic powers, the way people now make holovision calls. Who knows? But they will also maintain a degree of individuality, and keep on communicating with each other in old-fashioned ways.


    After that, I re-read Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth, and came across the passage I posted earlier.

    Another thing I also noticed was that Asimov gives the Second Foundation the same structure that he gave the eternals in End of Eternity. They have identical recruitment processes, and designations like Cubs and Observers. Coincidence? I think not.
    Asimov rejected micro-managemebt of human affairs by a shadowy elite in The End Of Eternity.

    Also noteworty is Hari Seldon's final speech in the tine vault, contained in the story 'Foundation's Conscience' which was part of the anthology Foundation's Friends, a book which contained short stories based in Asimov's fictional universes. This collection was published in Asimov's lifetime with his approval, but neither he nor his heirs have stated whether the stories therein are canonical.

    So with that caveat, here is Hari Seldon's final speech in the Time Vault.

    “I am Hari Seldon,” he said softly, giving the usual impression of a lively voice that was restraining itself, “and this will be my final appearance in the Time Vault. “ He paused and I leaned forward excitedly. This was it. I glanced at the record function. It was running.
    “A few of you may have wondered by now,” Seldon continued suddenly, “what use, if any, these appearances of mine will have been. They should have coincided with a series of crises and helped you over the difficult times when it might have seemed that psychohistorical projections were having nothing to do with actual events. I hope that this was only apparent, not real. “ The shrunken old man smiled. “For all I know, I may be speaking to an empty chamber in a fragmented galaxy which is still in a dark age. But if you are hearing me, then let me now claim that these appearances of mine had to have been useful, one way or another.”
    He pointed a bony finger at me, and it seemed that he would stand up from his chair and touch my face. An open book fell out of his lap onto the floor of that distant time.
    “Let me explain what I mean,” he went on. “Either I was in touch with the way things went, or my failure moved those of you who were in touch to act. Psychohistory could envision large possibilities correctly, but it could not project a picture of specific future details and the actions needed to bring them about. For the large is composed of countless small things, and most of the time we all live in small details. Some of you may now be saying that psychohistory was not what I made it out to be, and you will be right, in the way that most shortsighted minds are right. But it was, I hope, enough of what it had to be-a rallying cry against the irrational darkness that threatened to plunge the Galaxy into thirty thousand years of barbarism. In all human life, every day, the irrational has threatened to establish its reign, and has been held back by the two foundations of intellect and good will.”
    He paused and sat back contentedly, as if he knew that he had succeeded. “There are a few basic features to the exercise of free will in history,” he continued confidently. “Only probabilities can be predicted, but not perfectly or always. Yet in retrospect all developments are seen as having been caused, including those brought about by free choices. All historical developments flow from a variety of factors, and are therefore explainable-but not exhaustively. Free will can operate only among a finite number of possible choices. No free choice is unconditional, or we would be able to create matter and energy from nothingness according to our whims.” He smiled at me, as if he knew all my most foolish thoughts and vain ambitions.
    “I focused your free will,” he said, “by helping you to choose with a greater awareness of possibilities, with the habit of looking ahead, and I am sure that it has brought you through your millenium of struggle.” He sighed. “What you will do in your new Galactic Era is not for me to predict. Perhaps humankind will become something better. For me that would be a rational intelligence which would be immune to psychohistorical prediction. I hope so-because otherwise your new age will also decay and fall, and humankind may disappear from the Galaxy, to be replaced by new intelligences that are even now gestating in those countless star systems where the worlds are not congenial to humanoid biologies. Our human history doesn’t even span one hundred thousand years, even though we filled a galaxy with our kind. Planetary species have existed for two hundred million years and passed away without attaining self-conscious intelligence. Do not let the accomplishment of a galactic culture lull you into a sense of security. Become a truly free culture, one which will not be susceptible to psychohistorical laws, but can fully shape its own form and destiny.”
    He smiled again, and seemed bitter. “Yes, that is my ideal of a mature species-one that does not need to be led by the hand. And yes, psychohistory does predict its own downfall as a useful way of looking ahead, and I do not mourn it. It worked because it counted on the darkness rising out of a given human nature, for as long as human nature remained unchanged. More than anyone, I was aware of psychohistory’s potential for the control of human life by the manipulative, which is why I always withheld a full understanding of its laws from my kind. Against psychohistory’s dangers as a tool of tyrants, I weighed thirty thousand years of darkness, which will not have happened, because I applied just enough of what I knew to the problem. “
    He peered around the bare chamber. It seemed to oppress him. “I don’t know what else I can tell you… except, perhaps to say that I have loved the noble impulses in my humankind, even as I watched you struggle against your inner being. You have among you positronic intelligences, which may already be free of human psychohistorical tendencies, and may help you to become free…” He leaned forward, as if trying to peer across time.


    So I think the series was left incomplete abruptly on a note completely opposite to the intended final ending. It is as if the series had been left incomplete after the Mule's victory over the First Foundation. It jars, and that is why I want a competent author to finish tbe series.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Naïve mind » 10 Sep 2013 23:42

    I think it's my obligation to mention Psychohistoric Crisis by Donald Kingsbury at this point. It's an unofficial continuation of Foundation, and I think the fact that it was published at all speaks volumes about the level of grace exhibited by Isaac Asimov's heirs.

    But, it basically ignores the events in Foundation's Edge and later(*), and skips ahead well into the Second Empire. There are some deviations (Trantor, for example, is now named 'Splendid Wisdom', but it's done gracefully--it's implied that the name has been changed).

    His writing style is basically Asimov turbocharged--dialogue-heavy, idea-driven, but at a much faster pace. Kingsbury is a retired mathematician, and it shows.

    I can recommend this book, and I wish Dune continuations would be like this--a great number of them, by different authors, with different continuities.

    (*) Which doesn't contradict those novels, as I believe it is mentioned that the Second Foundation would continue to exist for a while, unknowingly doing the work of Gaia.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 11 Sep 2013 00:20

    Naïve mind wrote:
    (*) Which doesn't contradict those novels, as I believe it is mentioned that the Second Foundation would continue to exist for a while, unknowingly doing the work of Gaia.


    It does not contradict canon at all, as I have pointed out. Gaia was always intended to fail. The Second Empire will be formed.

    I have not managed to procure a copy of Psychohistorical Crisis yet, so I can't comment on it, but I have heard again and again that it is brilliant.

    If you have read Psychohistorical Crisis, can you tell me how he ties Nightfall into the series? I have heard he does this but have not been able to find any details.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 11 Sep 2013 00:37

    Naïve mind wrote:
    It's an unofficial continuation of Foundation, and I think the fact that it was published at all speaks volumes about the level of grace exhibited by Isaac Asimov's heirs.


    Compare that to how the HLP treated McNelly.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 11 Sep 2013 03:29

    I don't know whether Asimov intended this from the beginning, but one of the things I liked the most about this trilogy was this shocker-

    Hari lifted a finger again. “Zorma was right. Your real constituency, the ones you must convince, are robots. You foresee, in five centuries or so, that they will be the ones able to thwart your plan if you can’t satisfy their positronic drives. And since you’ll be replacing the old familiar humanity with something new and strange, it will take some convincing! No wonder you gave in so easily, and made that promise to Zorma. Human volition must appear to play a role in the decision, or else you’ll have a hard time getting all robots to agree.
    “And yet, I know you, Daneel. I know what you and Giskard did here”—Hari motioned at the radioactive wasteland—“rationalizing that it was for our own good, without consulting even one of us. You’ll also want the Gaia decision to be a foregone conclusion. Would you mind telling me how you’ll arrange that, in five hundred years?”
    Silence lasted over a minute before Daneel answered.
    “By presenting a human being who is always right.”
    Hari blinked.
    “I beg your pardon? A human who is always what? ”
    “One who has always made correct decisions, from childhood onward. One who, in a crisis, reliably chooses the winning side, and has always been proved right by the test of time. And who always will.”
    Hari stared at Daneel, then burst out laughing.
    “That’s impossible! It violates every physical and biological law.”
    Daneel nodded.
    “And yet, it can be made convincing. Perhaps even more credible than your grasp of human affairs through psychohistory, Hari. All I have to do is start out with a million bright boys and girls, with just the right traits, and present them with challenges from puberty until age thirty or so. Many of those challenges will be rigged for success…or else mistakes can be smoothed over. Despite that, many of them will fail visibly and be dropped out of the pool. But over time, I am statistically guaranteed at least one who suits my needs. Who looks, superficially, far too successful to be explained by natural means.”Hari recalled a classic stock-market scheme that had been successful in duping the inhabitants of Krasner Sector—seven hundred billion people—about eighty years ago. Daneel’s approach was a clever version of this old shell game, which only worked when practiced with immense patience. It was also nearly impossible to detect when done properly.
    “So there won’t be an investigative commission, after all. No need to report to sovereign human institutions for a decision. If this fellow has always been right, that will give him enough credibility to impress most robots, who will simply accept whatever he decides!
    “Of course, some will be wary that you are influencing him mentalically, and they’ll watch for that trick. They’ll check his brain for signs of tampering. But you won’t have to touch him! You can use psychological techniques to sway him in advance toward the right decision, especially if you control his upbringing…as you did mine.”
    Hari paused, chewing on a thought. “So, most robots will have their Second Law itch scratched. Getting ‘human approval’ for your plan, without actually having to consult humanity at large.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Hunchback Jack » 11 Sep 2013 22:39

    Psychohistorical Crisis is very good, but I don't think it's meant to be a continuation of Asimov's universe. Rather, it takes the basic premise of that universe and explores some of its ideas and ramifications in a universe very much like Asimov's. That's why the names - and some important aspects of the history - are different, and why it would never be considered canon.

    A distinction without a difference, perhaps. But there is it.

    Speaking of canonicity, the stories in Foundation's Friends are not. So it's a tricky business trying to infer Asimov's plans for his universe from them. A fun exercise in speculation, though.

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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 11 Sep 2013 22:57

    Hunchback Jack wrote:Psychohistorical Crisis is very good, but I don't think it's meant to be a continuation of Asimov's universe. Rather, it takes the basic premise of that universe and explores some of its ideas and ramifications in a universe very much like Asimov's. That's why the names - and some important aspects of the history - are different, and why it would never be considered canon.

    I did not say it was canon, just that it does not contradict canon.
    Hunchback Jack wrote:Speaking of canonicity, the stories in Foundation's Friends are not. So it's a tricky business trying to infer Asimov's plans for his universe from them. A fun exercise in speculation, though.

    HBJ

    I did mention that the canonicity of those stories was questionable. Certainly some of them are definitely non-canonical. But there is no official word on this, is there? Did Asimov say that they are not canonical?

    Besides, notwithstanding that, there are several clues that Gaia was going to fail. One was the fact that books are being published in 1017 F.E., whereas a galactic superorganism would not need them. Asimov explicitly tells us in Foundation and Earth that Gaia has no bookd. That is a pretty strong clue.

    Also, in one issue of Asimov's SF magazine, there was a letter from a reader faulting Robert Silverberg for making Gilgamesh homophobic in his novels, and Asimov reied that a characters views dp not necessarily represent those of the author who created him. Asimov then recounts a story about how a man asked him why he chose Gaia in Foundation's Edge, and Asimov replied "I didn't choose Gaia, Golan Trevize did. Why don't you ask him?"

    The context in which Asimov recounts this story strongly implies he disagreed with the concept of Gaia.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 11 Sep 2013 23:24

    Also, can you telk me how Nightfall is brought into the foundation chronology in Psychohistorical Crisis?
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 Sep 2013 07:43

    Lord Nightstalker wrote:Also, can you telk me how Nightfall is brought into the foundation chronology in Psychohistorical Crisis?


    Wikipedia says it was a spoof:

    George Alec Effinger wrote a spoof of Nightfall involving his Maureen Birnbaum character. The story, "Maureen Birnbaum After Dark", appeared in both Foundation's Friends and Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson.

    I've read Nightfall but not Foundation's Friends, so I can't say.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 12 Sep 2013 08:24

    No that's a different story,Maureen Birbaum After Dark which I have read. I was talking about Psychohistorical Crisis, which supposedly ties Nightfall into the Foundation Timeline.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Naïve mind » 12 Sep 2013 11:09

    Lord Nightstalker wrote:No that's a different story,Maureen Birbaum After Dark which I have read. I was talking about Psychohistorical Crisis, which supposedly ties Nightfall into the Foundation Timeline.


    I don't think it does, but if it did, the reference is so subtle and brief I've glossed over it three times, or fail to remember it. Don't get your hopes up. Psyschohistorical Crisis, whatever its qualities, was written by someone with his own ideas, who didn't have the intention of completing Asimov's vision in every detail.
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    Re: The Asimov Estate - The Right Way To Do It?

    Postby Lord Nightstalker » 12 Sep 2013 11:16

    Naïve mind wrote:
    Lord Nightstalker wrote:No that's a different story,Maureen Birbaum After Dark which I have read. I was talking about Psychohistorical Crisis, which supposedly ties Nightfall into the Foundation Timeline.


    I don't think it does, but if it did, the reference is so subtle and brief I've glossed over it three times, or fail to remember it. Don't get your hopes up. Psyschohistorical Crisis, whatever its qualities, was written by someone with his own ideas, who didn't have the intention of completing Asimov's vision in every detail.

    I read it on the internet,which is a notoriously unreliable source of information. The idea of integrating Nightfall into the Foundation universe perked my interest, that is all. It is not necessary and may nit even be a goid idea.

    Don't worry, I am under no illusions about Kingsbury's book.It is fanfiction, albeit by a competent author. It is certainly not canon.
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