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The Foundation Series
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Author:  Doom [ Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:25 pm ]
Post subject:  The Foundation Series

Was Second Foundation originally intended to be the end of the series?

I ask because the ending seems rather anticlimactic. The story ends 377 years after the death of Hari Seldon, with more than 600 years left to go before the rise of the Second Empire.

Ummmm.....was that originally supposed to be 'it', or was there always an intention to continue the series after the events of Second Foundation?

It seems like such an odd ending, if it was indeed intended to be the last word on the Foundation series.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

It's hard to say. Given the gap between Second Foundation and the sequels, I don't think Asimov intended to continue. Given the quality of the sequels, I wish he hadn't.

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Foundation's Edge won the Nebula award for best novel in the year it was published.


It does seem like an odd place for the story to end, and based on what I've read, apparently, he stopped going ahead in the timeline and started going backward because he no longer had any idea where to take the story.

Although, truthfully, I find it hard to believe that a guy who wrote more than 300 novels could possibly have suffered from writer's block.

Author:  GKC [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
It's hard to say. Given the gap between Second Foundation and the sequels, I don't think Asimov intended to continue. Given the quality of the sequels, I wish he hadn't.



I agree. The first three novels left things opened ended, as THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SF says, but they represented work from the early 40s-early 50s. At that time, they certainly looked complete. And Asimov certainly took a vacation from major SF fiction, for about 20+ years (except for THE GODS THEMSELVES). The hiatus from SF, he said, in I. ASIMOV, was not due to writers block, but for a sense that he could help lift the scientific sophistication and general cultural level of Americans, via non-fiction.

He says that in 1981, Doubleday pounded him to produce a SF novel for them, and specifically a Foundation novel. And he had been majorly out of the SF novel business for 20+ years, and the Foundation series for 30+. There were no loose ends he needed to tie up or flesh out. He feared that he was not the same brash young man, and had no John Campbell to drive him and he would produce a mess.

Rereading the series, he saw it held up well, and as readers had told him, it really needed more of the same. So, he went to his files (his files were legendary) and pulled out a 14 page, abortive idea for a fourth novel, that he had set down, years before. Apparently lost interest, or couldn't find a plot driver. And he started from there. And was happy with the result. And so were the fans. And then things went on.

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

GKC wrote:

I agree. The first three novels left things opened ended, as THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SF says, but they represented work from the early 40s-early 50s. At that time, they certainly looked complete.



Complete in what sense exactly? The story doesn't seem to conclude so much as it seems to just stop. I assumed that the story would be the story of the founding of the second empire, but the story ends at least 600 years before that.

Author:  GKC [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:

I agree. The first three novels left things opened ended, as THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SF says, but they represented work from the early 40s-early 50s. At that time, they certainly looked complete.



Complete in what sense exactly? The story doesn't seem to conclude so much as it seems to just stop. I assumed that the story would be the story of the founding of the second empire, but the story ends at least 600 years before that.


Complete in the sense that no one in SF, Asimov included, expected him to return to the series. He had said what he wanted to. Or so he thought. Possibly the $50,000 advance. from Doubleday in 1981, played a part.

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

I guess that my problem is that I am unable to identify any specific narrative thread where I would be able to complete the following sentence that 'The Foundation Trilogy is a story about ___'

Author:  GKC [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

[quote="Doom]I guess that my problem is that I am unable to identify any specific narrative thread where I would be able to complete the following sentence that 'The Foundation Trilogy is a story about ___'[/quote]

" ...Hari Seldon and his crystal ball".

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

But Hari Seldon dies at the end of the first chapter, and the Foundations that Seldon founded go on for thousands of years after the trilogy ends.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Doom wrote:
I guess that my problem is that I am unable to identify any specific narrative thread where I would be able to complete the following sentence that 'The Foundation Trilogy is a story about ___'

210,000 words long.

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Is it really that long? It seems rather short. Each volume is under 300 pages long, and you can read through the entire trilogy in a week if you really want to, taking only 2 or 3 hours to get through each volume.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

So it says here: http://www.readinglength.com/book/isbn-0380508567/

Author:  GKC [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Doom wrote:
But Hari Seldon dies at the end of the first chapter, and the Foundations that Seldon founded go on for thousands of years after the trilogy ends.



"...and his crystal ball".

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
But Hari Seldon dies at the end of the first chapter, and the Foundations that Seldon founded go on for thousands of years after the trilogy ends.



"...and his crystal ball".


Meaning what? It's not a full history of either of the Foundations. I guess what I'm saying is, that whether it was planned or not, I can understand why fans wanted to go back and write more Foundation books because it really doesn't feel like a complete story. And I guess....even today, it still isn't a complete story, even though the series has been continued by other authors since Asimov's death.

So then, I take it that the consensus is that the Foundation books are not worth reading beyond the original trilogy?

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Up until the final few chapters, which are an enormous disappointment, Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis is a much better continuation of the Foundation series than anything Asimov wrote.

Author:  GKC [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
But Hari Seldon dies at the end of the first chapter, and the Foundations that Seldon founded go on for thousands of years after the trilogy ends.



"...and his crystal ball".


Meaning what? It's not a full history of either of the Foundations. I guess what I'm saying is, that whether it was planned or not, I can understand why fans wanted to go back and right more Foundation books because it really doesn't feel like a complete story. And I guess....even today, it still isn't a complete story, even though the series has been continued by other authors since Asimov's death.

So then, I take it that the consensus is that the Foundation books are not worth reading beyond the original trilogy?



My opinion: the books beyond the original trilogy add nothing useful to the original idea. Mind, I've not read much of it.

Asimov had the idea of the science and how it unfolded through the 3rd book, and no ideas beyond it, as shown in the abortive start he made, at some unspecified time before 1980. Perhaps if Campbell had been the driving force, rather than Doubleday, something might have come of it. But Campbell had been dead 10 years.

Author:  Doom [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

So, would you recommend anything that Asimov wrote after about 1960 or so?

Author:  GKC [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Doom wrote:
So, would you recommend anything that Asimov wrote after about 1960 or so?



Maybe THE GODS THEMSELVES. Maybe. He was very pleased with the aliens.

I always enjoyed his short stories. Nothing book length comes to mind.

I've never read PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION, but I thought I might like to. I think I read ROBOTS OF DAWN.

For me, the Trilogy, the Robots, most short stories, are the essential Asimov. I greeted his return to SF about like I later did Miller's sequel to CANTICLE. Less initial enthusiasm, but a later similar sense of "meh".


Maybe I ought to try some of it again.

Author:  Peregrinator [ Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

GKC wrote:
He says that in 1981, Doubleday pounded him to produce a SF novel for them, and specifically a Foundation novel. And he had been majorly out of the SF novel business for 20+ years, and the Foundation series for 30+. There were no loose ends he needed to tie up or flesh out. He feared that he was not the same brash young man, and had no John Campbell to drive him and he would produce a mess.

Not only that, but IIRC he said that Lester del Rey offered to write a Foundation novel for Doubleday if he (Asimov) would not. So that lit a bit of a fire under him.

I like Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth OK, but they really are products of their time, whereas there is a certain timelessness to the original stories, even though they belong firmly in SF's golden age.

Author:  Peregrinator [ Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Foundation Series

Doom wrote:
So, would you recommend anything that Asimov wrote after about 1960 or so?

Fantastic Voyage

Also, I liked Robots and Empire, FWIW.

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