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:: View topic - The Foundation Trilogy

http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/

The Foundation Trilogy
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=491
Page 1 of 2

Author:  PeterScott [ Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:23 pm ]
Post subject:  The Foundation Trilogy

(Exercising the "classic" part of this forum's charter...)

I just finished a periodic rereading of the trilogy. (I don't care for Asimov's later additions... at all... and for the additions by other authors even less...)

It's just so delightful, even knowing all the surprises in advance. What struck me this time was the writing style. Asimov was such a consummate expert writer, his vocabulary was amazing for its sheer range and yet he rarely used a word that I don't know. His style is so accessible, the grammar a model of clarity. His characters have distinctive voices without caricatured accents. I was reading this time from the perspective of a writer appreciating the skill of another and it certainly showed.

I never read the trilogy in its original form and it was years before I learned that it had appeared one small story at a time. So I don't know what it would have been like to experience it in that episodic form. But nevertheless, the stories work completely when combined into novels. It's remarkable how Asimov was able to switch the entire cast and set from one chapter to the next and yet maintain the continuity and hold the reader's interest and caring about the future of the Plan throughout all these changes. According to Faulkner, this is supposed to be impossible.

Well, f**k Faulkner.

The few signs of aging are easily forgivable: societies that have lost atomic technology can still run faster-than-light drives? The legend is that the trilogy was based on Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but it transcends that in so many ways, not the least of which is, being, like, readable. But also, Asimov goes way beyond Gibbon with the development of psychohistory, the rogue factor of the Mule, and the extra dimension of the Second Foundation. It deserved the award it got for for best series of all time.

Author:  audrey [ Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy

Also one of my favorites. I do think it dates a little (not nearly as much as Gibbons though!) . Psychohistory is not as far-fetched as he made it sound I believe. The prediction of the behavior of large numbers of people actually is a serious science now, though a lot of it seems to be spent on how to make advertising more effective there are pretty reliable statistics about what percentage of a large group of people is likely to do x, y, or z under given circumstances... economics and other sciences also look at this. In fact some recent studies have made the news regarding how even small peer groups influence the likelihood that a person will smoke or even become overweight.

Author:  sergeial [ Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy


Author:  JamesGifford [ Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy


Author:  PeterScott [ Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy

Yep, definitely agree on advertising.

Now I come to think of it, the closest I have read to modern psychohistory is George Friedman's "The Next 100 Years" (q.v. elsewhere in this forum). He certainly appears to have the knack of extrapolating (primarily geopolitical/military) consequences in a thoughtful and logical fashion.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy


Author:  DanHenderson [ Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy


Author:  PeterScott [ Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy

How timely that a few days ago on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart interviewed Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, author of a new book called The Predictioneer's Game, during which Bruce said, "You must think I'm Hari Seldon." Seems that Bruce has developed predictive models that can tell things like, what Iran is going to do with nuclear weapons, twice as accurately as the CIA can...

Author:  audrey [ Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy

Seems that Bruce has developed predictive models that can tell things like, what Iran is going to do with nuclear weapons, twice as accurately as the CIA can...


course 2 X 0 is still 0.......

Author:  RobertJames [ Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Trilogy

Mr. Scott, can you provide a quote for the Faulkner comment, because I don't recognize that sentiment.

And how odd to discover you're a necrophiliac...

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