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Isaac Asimov's Foundation


Old_Nash
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  • Old_Nash changed the title to Isaac Asimov's Foundation

Definitely worth reading and not Game of Thronsish at all.

 

Basic concept: Guy figures out psychohistory: basically laying out history, sociology, and the statistical laws of large numbers to predict what in general will happen. So it can't predict a particular person being elected, but could predict the *type* of person who would be elected. Guy determines that the galatic empire is going to fall and will undergo a long "dark age" so he establishes the "Foundation" to hold on to knowledge and help shorten the Dark Age.

Lots of crap happens in all the books after that, including Asimov tying that universe back into his Robots universe so that it is all one huge story arc.

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The first three(?) books all consist of old people talking.  Sort of like "My Dinner with Andre", in space, with more people talking...  I think it is the fourth book where we get some dering do.

 

EDIT - ACK!  No way in HADES I'm signing up for anything Apple to watch it.  Maybe if it comes to other platforms later.

Edited by Dynaman
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26 minutes ago, vladykins said:

Definitely worth reading and not Game of Thronsish at all.

 

Basic concept: Guy figures out psychohistory: basically laying out history, sociology, and the statistical laws of large numbers to predict what in general will happen. So it can't predict a particular person being elected, but could predict the *type* of person who would be elected. Guy determines that the galatic empire is going to fall and will undergo a long "dark age" so he establishes the "Foundation" to hold on to knowledge and help shorten the Dark Age.

Lots of crap happens in all the books after that, including Asimov tying that universe back into his Robots universe so that it is all one huge story arc.

Pretty much this.

Spoiler

He essentially predicts major upheavals in society and leaves predictions inside time-capsules for the "foundation" to uncover and act upon.

The majority of the story follows the people far into the future who follow his very loose directives and predictions to help ensure that the future doesn't diverge from predictions too much.

 

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Ooh. As a fan of classic (i.e., <1990) authors (Asimov, Clarke, Niven, etc.) color me interested. Asimov's traditionally difficult to adapt to moving pictures because his novels are talky and idea-based: when there's action, it happens elsewhere. Visualizing Foundation has some of the same challenges of Dune: What does a far-future interstellar human empire that's super-rich but not super-tech (as our computer- and genetic-driven era reckons things) look like?

"I, Robot" (Will Smith) is a pretty good adaptation of a bunch of themes from Asimov's "Robot" stories. "Bicentennial Man" (Robin Williams) is okay, but I had no inclination to re-watch it because the title character's decision to adopt mortality is even more schmaltzy on-screen than on-page (hmm, come to think of it, that theme recurs at the end of Star Trek: Picard).

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It's certainly a challenge to visualize a future that is so detached from our times, especially when you don't have a Lannister's budget. But I like what I see so far, and it will be interesting to see how they'll translate that 50's SF faith in technology into modern perception.

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I imagine there's going to be lots of embellishments, the Robot novels were better for a visual medium like film/series. Not sure I want to be disappointed. I may get the itch to read them again, but I sold my books (prequels/original/sequels) a long time ago.

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  • 1 year later...

I may have to re-read the novels again. Most of the material will be from the prequels, as those contain the most action-y scenes. It's been more than a decade since I read them. I will prepare to be disappointed haha

What are the other Apple-led productions? I'm not familiar with their output.

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I like that they were able to get Jared Harris to play Hari Seldon, Gaal and Salvor seem really interesting interpretations too, even given the noteworthy gender flip. I am wondering if they plan to introduce The Mule in this at all? Maybe if there is enough momentum for an additional season or two? 

I'm also expecting other subtle changes...

Spoiler

For instance, the bit in the trailer where the Galactic Emperors are shown as clones of each other. :blink:

...but I'm hoping these don't pull me too far out of the story.

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19 hours ago, hachi said:

I may have to re-read the novels again. Most of the material will be from the prequels, as those contain the most action-y scenes. It's been more than a decade since I read them. I will prepare to be disappointed haha

There is quite a bit of action in the later sequels as well.  This looks to be all prequel material though and still too much action for a faithful adaptation of any of the books.  Then again maybe the trailers are hyping the action when the show itself will not have nearly so much.

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21 hours ago, technoblue said:

I like that they were able to get Jared Harris to play Hari Seldon, Gaal and Salvor seem really interesting interpretations too, even given the noteworthy gender flip. I am wondering if they plan to introduce The Mule in this at all? Maybe if there is enough momentum for an additional season or two? 

I'm also expecting other subtle changes...

  Hide contents

For instance, the bit in the trailer where the Galactic Emperors are shown as clones of each other. :blink:

...but I'm hoping these don't pull me too far out of the story.

If they introduce the Mule it means they will be rushing through the material, not good.

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4 hours ago, Dynaman said:

There is quite a bit of action in the later sequels as well.  This looks to be all prequel material though and still too much action for a faithful adaptation of any of the books.  Then again maybe the trailers are hyping the action when the show itself will not have nearly so much.

Yeah there are memorable ones in the later sequels. The early part of the original Foundation were a snoozefest in terms of action (pre-Mule).

As for the prequels there's more action actually because they're in the middle of the Empire and lots of friction between people. Whereas in the Foundation itself people were already scattered because of the Empire's 'fall'.

They can actually milk this IP some more if they got the rights to the Robot novels...

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10 minutes ago, hachi said:

If they introduce the Mule it means they will be rushing through the material, not good.

Right. I wouldn't expect him to show up right away or at all in the first season. I'm just wondering aloud how much this will pull from Forward and Prelude and what we will see, if anything, from Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.

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I forgot about this coming up but have been re-reading the novels (did Foundation through Foundation and Earth, plus Robots of Dawn,  Robots & Empire, and the short story collection by other folks Foundation's Friends).  I am now most of the way through the first prequel Prelude to Foundation, so it is interesting to see what they do with the property. While a lot of action happens "off screen" in the books, it shouldn't be difficult for them to milk that action (especially since they can go detailed).

 

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So I finally read a real article about this (haven't really bothered looking things up before).

Quote

Harris plays Seldon, with Lee Pace co-starring as Brother Day, current emperor of the galaxy and part of a long line of emperor clones (the aforementioned Cleons). Lou Llobell plays Seldon's mathematical genius protegé, Gaal; Leah Harvey plays a gender-swapped Salvor, warden of Terminus; and Laura Birn plays Eto Demerzel, aide to Brother Day.

And comparing with the wiki summary...

Spoiler

There's no Dors Venabili???!!!! And Eto Demerzel is a woman??? Wasn't Eto a guy?  Or was it the other persona? There goes my dreams of Robot Novel prequels...

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Here's the chronological reading I stole off one of the article comments.

Quote

The Complete Robot (1982) Collection of 31 Short Stories about robots.
The Caves of Steel (1954) His first Robot novel.
The Naked Sun (1957) The second Robot novel.
The Robots of Dawn (1983) The third Robot novel.
Robots and Empire (1985) The fourth (final) Robot novel.
The Currents of Space (1952) The first Empire novel.
The Stars, Like Dust-- (1951) The second Empire novel.
Pebble in the Sky (1950) The third and final Empire novel.
Prelude to Foundation (1988) The first Foundation novel.
Forward the Foundation (1992) The second Foundation novel. (Not in Asimov's list as it had not been written yet.)
Foundation (1951) The third Foundation novel, comprised of 5 stories originally published between 1942-1949.
Foundation and Empire (1952) The fourth Foundation novel, comprised of 2 stories originally published in 1945.
Second Foundation (1953) The fifth Foundation novel, comprised of 2 stories originally published in 1948 and 1949.
Foundation's Edge (1982) The sixth Foundation novel.
Foundation and Earth (1983) The seventh Foundation novel.

The Robot Novels can be ignored, but I'm starting to have 2nd thoughts of a whole re-read. Just looking at the show's character lists, it doesn't inspire confidence at faithfulness to the story. I've read all Foundation and Robot Novels, so maybe I'll start on the Empire ones I haven't read.

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1 hour ago, hachi said:

So I finally read a real article about this (haven't really bothered looking things up before).

And comparing with the wiki summary...

  Hide contents

There's no Dors Venabili???!!!! And Eto Demerzel is a woman??? Wasn't Eto a guy?  Or was it the other persona? There goes my dreams of Robot Novel prequels...

I missed that, perhaps…

Spoiler

Dors and the alter ego of R. Daneel Olivaw have been combined into one character for the new Apple series? That would be a bit disappointing, as someone who enjoyed the books, but it wouldn’t be the first time book details were edited out in the screen play.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, technoblue said:

I missed that, perhaps…

  Hide contents

Dors and the alter ego of R. Daneel Olivaw have been combined into one character for the new Apple series? That would be a bit disappointing, as someone who enjoyed the books, but it wouldn’t be the first time book details were edited out in the screen play.

 

Oh dear, so they're trying to save costs on hiring another actor for an important character while introducing new ones?  @_@

It doesn't

Spoiler

work well if we based it on the source, since Dors ultimately dies and R. Daneel is just manipulating stuff from the shadows. What feels more plausible is they show that Eto can be a 'man' as a hidden alter ego, because he is ultimately a robot. I hope they show it as downloading his 'consciousness' into a new body, since duh, shapeshifting has been done in Terminator 2 and looks lazy to me.

I looked it up in wikipedia and it seems the first ep director is Rupert Sanders. My expectations are just going into negative territory right now haha. Ghost in the Shell had the right callbacks, but ultimately doesn't capture the essence of the source. But it would be funny if

Spoiler

Scarlett Johansson does a cameo as a 'robot'. Better yet, shifts between being a woman into a man and then back again. For lols

Edit: Reading the description again, they mention only Salvor as the gender-swapped character, and not the other one I was complaining about. Hmm, interesting wording. Or I'm just reading too much into it.

Edited by hachi
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5 hours ago, hachi said:

Oh dear, so they're trying to save costs on hiring another actor for an important character while introducing new ones?  @_@

It doesn't

  Reveal hidden contents

work well if we based it on the source, since Dors ultimately dies and R. Daneel is just manipulating stuff from the shadows. What feels more plausible is they show that Eto can be a 'man' as a hidden alter ego, because he is ultimately a robot. I hope they show it as downloading his 'consciousness' into a new body, since duh, shapeshifting has been done in Terminator 2 and looks lazy to me.

 

Yeah, it's only speculation on my part. Given a choice, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It would be so much better to keep those important characters separate than to try to save cost or cut back the complexity of the interweaving subplots and merge them. Like I mentioned earlier, it will be interesting to see how far things get this first season. It will also be interesting to see which parts of the prequel books get the most focus. 

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It definitely takes away from

 

Spoiler

Eto/Daneel getting Dors to protect Seldon and then becoming "human" by actually falling in love with him.

I don't usually have issues with gender swaps, but pushing multiple characters into a single role is just unnecessary.

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  • 2 months later...

So I saw the 1st episode. The Empire side was well done, it was interesting. Politics are always interesting. The Foundation side was just ok. However I did not like

Spoiler

them veering off and having Raych apparently stab Hari Seldon. And then sending off Gaal in a pod...what was the point???

And they sex it up with Raych and Gaal...I'm not opposed to the idea of 'spicing' up the series, but really, this is all they could think of to have viewers become emotionally invested in characters?

So, the gender-swaps are a non-issue, it's the plots I'm worried about. And I have seen enough that I don't watch any more of it. I am just going to be disappointed as a book reader. Non-book readers, however, might find it more enjoyable. Although from comments on episode 2 it seems inconsistencies are already cropping up in the dialogue/plot. I think that means they're being careless...

In short, I thought it started out good despite some plot changes, then that twist/surprise at the end I just didn't like. Too far off the canon.

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3 hours ago, hachi said:

So I saw the 1st episode. The Empire side was well done, it was interesting. Politics are always interesting. The Foundation side was just ok. However I did not like

  Hide contents

them veering off and having Raych apparently stab Hari Seldon. And then sending off Gaal in a pod...what was the point???

And they sex it up with Raych and Gaal...I'm not opposed to the idea of 'spicing' up the series, but really, this is all they could think of to have viewers become emotionally invested in characters?

So, the gender-swaps are a non-issue, it's the plots I'm worried about. And I have seen enough that I don't watch any more of it. I am just going to be disappointed as a book reader. Non-book readers, however, might find it more enjoyable. Although from comments on episode 2 it seems inconsistencies are already cropping up in the dialogue/plot. I think that means they're being careless...

In short, I thought it started out good despite some plot changes, then that twist/surprise at the end I just didn't like. Too far off the canon.

Plot changes for the sake of the story are one thing; plot changes for the sake of "ratings" usually fail and result in jump the shark moments. I personally think that the writers and show-runners panic whenever ratings even fluctuate slightly, and so try to keep everything pumped up artificially. The end result: you lose the core viewership and any potential new ones as well.

As for being a "book-reader": I hear you. While any series may never be 100 percent "like the book" (our imaginations will always be more vivid than the SFX of Hollywood), getting too far "out of the ballpark" is a dangerous place for any show to be.

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