Asimov's Foundation novels

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Well, I decided to re-read the three original Foundation novels over the holidays.
(Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation.)

I first read them when I was 15 or so (do the math...it was a long time ago; I was freshman in HS)
The only thing I remembered about the series was that involved the writing of a Galactic Encyclopedia, and there was a character called The Mule.
But I recalled no other details at all, so it was like reading them for the first time.
Wow.
This series can and should be dramatized in a mini-series.
There is nothing in the stories that is beyond the capability of current cinema technology.
And there would be no need to keep the same actors on payroll year after year because the story spans 400 years.
As long as the people who write the screenplay and direct it don't make up stuff or, God forbid, try to make it "socially relevant", it would be absolutely riveting.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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I re-read those every few years. Great books. There have been several failed attempts at making them into movies, but I'm sure they would have added a bunch of action scenes that had nothing to do with the story to make it marketable.

A mini series would definitely be the way to go, and there have been several attempts at that too, including at HBO. Skydance is currently developing one. I'm sure they will add some type of protagonist, a robot or something, that spans all the books, just to make it relatable to the average viewer.
KRDS

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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I first read Asimov's Foundation books probably shortly after I finished college (which was a long time ago but probably not as long ago as when Deimos was in high school ;) ). I've reread them a number of times since then, most recently about three or so years ago. The original trilogy is hugely acclaimed and does contain some interesting ideas; however, to me it seems rather dated in its story-telling (ducking from furious brickbats now). I can't recall specific examples of what I mean, but I think in some regards science has already surpassed some of what was presented in the book. We don't have interstellar travel or psychohistory yet, though I recall reading a few years ago that psychohistory may be possible.

As acclaimed as the original trilogy is, I actually prefer Asimov's other Foundation books, written in the 1980s and early 1990s: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, Prelude to Foundation, and Forward the Foundation. The first two are sequels and contain continuing characters. The latter two are prequels and contain continuing characters, no less than Seldon and his wife. The four books serve to tie many Asimov works into one universe: I Robot, the Robot Novels, the Galactic Empire Novels, and the Foundation Series.

The Asimov estate has licensed quite a few novels based on Asimov works. Probably the most prominent was what they termed the Second Foundation Trilogy, written by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin. I thought they were, uh, crap. Mickey Zucker Reichert wrote a trilogy of books serving as a prequel to I, Robot. She is a medical doctor in addition to being an author. Her books are based on Susan Calvin's years in med school and her experiences with robots and their enemies. I very much enjoyed her books. I liked her writing style and she also was capable of writing authoritatively and understandably about technical topics, much as Michael Crichton used to. There are a number of other licensed novels, none of which I've read.

The adaptation of Asimov into moving pictures has a spotty track record. I am aware of three such attempts: Nightfall (1988), which I thought was dreadful; Bicentennial Man (1999), which I never saw but which got poor reviews; and I, Robot (2004...jeez, is it that old already?), which got mixed reviews but which I enjoyed. So, any attempt to film any Foundations stories must be anticipated in light of those previous adaptations. As Kit mentions, HBO was going to produce Foundation episodes a few years ago with Jonathon Nolan, but he ended up doing Westworld instead. This was pretty disappointing to me. I'd been very excited about it because first of all, it supplanted the previous proposed adaptation, to be done by Roland Emmerich (!!!), and also because of Nolan's work with brother Christopher in producing some pretty good flicks. Unfortunately like many projects, Nolan's Foundation never got past the vaporware stage. And as Kit also mentioned, Skydance is supposedly now going to try it with David Goyer and Josh Friedman. Similarly, a Caves of Steel (the first Robot novel) movie has been bouncing around development hell for a few years now. Who knows if either will come to anything?

I think it would be great if some entity with the bucks and drive to tackle a many-season or many-movie adaptation of Asimov's Foundation universe would do so. I think TV would be the proper venue for this, though if Denis Villeneuve decided he wanted to devote the rest of his career to theatrical adaptations, I would not protest. However, I'll believe in any Asimov adaptation when I sit down to watch it, and not much before.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Here's a timely piece on Asimov, his works, and how his notorious groping behavior would have him in big trouble today if he weren't already dead.

https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/02/readi ... ov-at-100/

It also raises the question of how will his works stand the test of time. The thing that struck me when I last read the original Foundation trilogy was how dated they were in that everyone was smoking, and that the work in other ways evinced a 1940s feel. This article goes on to mention how he never envisioned anything like the Internet. Personally I would hope that his other ideas, like robots and psychohistory, things that respectively are coming true and may come true, will cement his place in the sci fi pantheon.

It is a bit disturbing to read about how someone who was a favorite author practiced a behavior that was at best boorish and at worst, well, fill in your own adjectives. It is true that pinching or slapping butts was viewed in a different light then than it is now, but it sounds like he went beyond the pale of what was usual (note I don't say acceptable) even in his time. Deimos, I'd be interested to read your thoughts, as a woman of a certain age who has lived through a less enlightened time to a slightly more enlightened time, on this topic, as well as of course anyone else's.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Olorin wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:45 am Here's a timely piece on Asimov, his works, and how his notorious groping behavior would have him in big trouble today if he weren't already dead.

It is a bit disturbing to read about how someone who was a favorite author practiced a behavior that was at best boorish and at worst, well, fill in your own adjectives. It is true that pinching or slapping butts was viewed in a different light then than it is now, but it sounds like he went beyond the pale of what was usual (note I don't say acceptable) even in his time. Deimos, I'd be interested to read your thoughts, as a woman of a certain age who has lived through a less enlightened time to a slightly more enlightened time, on this topic, as well as of course anyone else's.
Let me think about it.....it may take some time for me to organize my thoughts and so keep my response precise and on point.
It may be a week or so before I reply, but as the topic is current and has a long shelf life, the delay, I think, will not much matter.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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There are a couple of things that need to be set forth at the outset, which should always be stated in any discussion where disagreement is possible.

1) Rebuttal(s) should argue from the presenter’s (that’s me) premise.
I.e., argument should not be “Well, I think your premise is invalid , so this is why I think you are mistaken in all you have said.”
If one disagrees with my premise (my starting point, as it were, aka my “worldview” ) then there can be no discussion.
Acknowledging/respecting the other person’s premise doesn’t imply agreement with it, only the acceptance of it as the starting point of the discussion.

2) Define terms, especially politically loaded terms. Even the word “enlightened” needs to be defined because it lacks specificity...”unenlightened” in what way?
Some folks think anyone who lived in mediaeval times was “unenlightened”.
JRRT would have disagreed and we have tons of evidence that prove it, in so far as you first accept his premise(s).

So, Olorin, do you still want my thoughts on this?

Just thought of something....
We can begin the discussion from your premise which is very likely implicit in your (at the moment undefined) use of the word "enlightened".
So if you will define what you mean by "enlightened" that would help.
And do you want my opinion starting at that point (your "worldview" ) or do you want my opinion based on my "worldview"?
(FWIW the philosophical term for "worldview" is weltanschauung )
Last edited by Deimos on Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

7
Not to deliberately get in the way of this but I came here to tell people that Apple are producing a series based on the novels and I was prompted when I saw the thread title. I haven’t read them myself but discovered them when I was going through the list of upcoming Apple content and the article Olorin posted also mentions it.

It’s unfortunate but if the novels are as great as people have said, I’m a believer in the art being far more important than the artist and I’m willing to give this series a watch when it’s eventually filmed. But I do suspect this news will cause issues when the series comes close to release.

As for the quality of Apple TV, I’ve watched SEE and really enjoyed that. Haven’t gotten round to their other programming just yet but there’s a few things I wanna try out. Although, there’s only really those few things currently. But if SEE is anything to go by, I think this series has a lot of potential. Do you guys recommend reading the novels before watching the series or should I wait and watch and then read them after?
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Lindir wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:16 am
... I’m a believer in the art being far more important than the artist ...
.... :thumbs_up
Lindir wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:16 amDo you guys recommend reading the novels before watching the series or should I wait and watch and then read them after?
Whenever I have found "post viewing" that there is/was a novel on which the movie was based, and then read the novel (or series as the case may be) I have come away thinking that, had I known in advance, I would have read the book first. So without getting into all the reasons --maybe three or four--- I would say read the books first.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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OK, easiest first, then harder and harder to answer....

Lindir, I've always found that if I have not already read the book a movie or TV show is based on, it's best to wait until after I've viewed it to read the book. That way, I can enjoy the movie on its own merits, without any preconceptions from having read the book. But you probably needn't worry yourself in this particular instance. This Foundation project has been through so many would-be creators that I'm going to consider it vaporware right up until I'm thumbing the remote on my Apple TV to start watching it.

Also at Lindir, I am undecided on whether the art should take precedence over the artist, or misdeeds thereof. Fortunately this is something I do not have to struggle with very often, as I usually know little enough about the artist to be aware of anything that would pose a moral dilemma. But there are exceptions, and here's a recent example. An old Hammer Horror spoof called The Fearless Vampire Killers was recently released on BluRay. I'd wanted to see this movie again for a long time, having seen it on TV as a kid and enjoyed it. However, it starred and was directed by Roman Polanski, a sex offender who's been living abroad in Europe for many years to escape receiving a sentence in the US. It's been hotly debated whether he should have fled or not; supposedly the judge was going to throw at an agreed plea bargain under which Polanski would have been sentenced to time already served and instead sentence him to 50 years. But point being, he did plead guilty to statutory rape, and subsequently became a fugitive. In any event, I finally decided that the chances of Polanksi making any money off my purchase were slim, so I bought it.

And now on to Deimos. First, although I anticipated a serious answer, I did not anticipate so much preparatory groundwork on your part, so apologies for that. Second, by way of "enlightenment," I meant merely that these days most people would agree that petting or pinching a person on a personal body zone, said person not being in a relationship with you where such behavior is anticipated and accepted, is wrong, whereas back in the day there would have been more of a tendency for people to shrug it off as harmless lechery or "boys will be boys." Third, I can only want this from your point of view, as a woman who has seen society's changing views on this. We don't know each other well enough, indeed really at all, for you to have much notion of what my world view might be. And I don't anticipate trying to rebut your feelings on it. I am not you and don't have your experiences, so it would be pretty presumptuous to tell you that you feel the wrong way based on those experiences (I only do that when a friend feels very badly about something and I'm trying to make them feel better). Above and beyond that, the whole topic of sexual harrassment is so inherently charged that it is risky enough to ask the opinion, let alone attempt to gainsay it.

So, is the stage sufficiently set? :) If so, please proceed!
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Olorin, you do raise a good point about the author profiting from their work. And It’s difficult. As someone who is trying hard to be considered an artist (a photographer in my case) I get annoyed with the current fixation on the artist and not the work they produce. I guess because I’m a more reserved person and really would be what most people consider shy so I don’t post about myself and I’ve made a conscious decision for images of myself to never be seen on the internet in any capacity where I can control it. Not having anything to hide but rather valuing my privacy and again being irked by that fixation on the artist.

I guess it’s motivated by some of the modern YouTube artists who’s work is often subpar but they get by on personality and clickbait alone. In some ways you could boil it down to jealousy but when I think of any artistic piece that has inspired me or elevated me in some way, I care very little about who made it. The work has to stand on its own merit.

So that context is to explain how I can easily justify my comment above, that I value the final output more than the author. It’s in no way me trying to gloss over what he did or denying that he did anything wrong because it’s wrong no matter how you look at it and I know I’d feel uncomfortable. Admittedly I’ve found myself in positions of being touched inappropriately, but not by other men. At the time I didn’t think much of it beyond the normal uncomfortable feeling but technically what they did was inappropriate but I shrugged it off because it was a girl and we were in school.

As for profiting from his work, the author is now dead so I don’t think I’d feel as guilty about buying his books or watching the TV show if it gets made than I would if he were alive. It would definitely be more tricky.
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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OK...a [relatively] short response compared to the time it took me to reply. But I tried to edit (or excise) a lot of extraneous “thoughts” about this and just hit the really pertinent matters.

Olorin: I'd be interested to read your thoughts, as a woman of a certain age who has lived through a less enlightened time to a slightly more enlightened time, on this topic,....by way of "enlightenment," I meant merely that these days most people would agree that petting or pinching a person on a personal body zone, said person not being in a relationship with you where such behavior is anticipated and accepted, is wrong, whereas back in the day there would have been more of a tendency for people to shrug it off as harmless lechery or "boys will be boys."

These ill-behaved louts (most are male) knew what they were doing was unacceptable.
Not just the Harvey Weinsteins but the early Hollywood studio moguls (cf. “casting couch”), and, I daresay, Henry VIII, the depraved Popes (there were a number of those), Roman Emperors and generals and ...oh...how far back shall we go?....

And they all knew it was unacceptable because all you had to do was ask any one of them (even 2000 years ago): “Would you accept your wife/mother/sister/ daughter being treated like this?”
If the answer is “no” (and except for some really depraved brutes, that would be the answer you got) you can see that everyone, men and women alike, always knew what behavior was acceptable—moral/ethical if you will—and what wasn’t/isn’t.

So modern folks (21st C vs early mid 20th ) aren’t more enlightened....it’s that women and decent men are finally willing (and brave enough) to call these jerks out publicly; and that is largely , if not exclusively because of the presence of social media.
No longer do you have one secretary (now Admin Assistant) or actress (‘female actor’ sounds labored) just telling another A-A or actress about how the boss or producer groped her.
You have them posting on Twitter or Facebook what some highly positioned man did to them. Literally the whole world knows what the creep did.
So now men who were inclined to take advantage of their position/authority are going to think twice about it...is getting a few jollies worth the implosion of their career?
To be cynical about it, I think it’s more the case of “enlightened self interest” rather than just the ethically noble sounding “enlightened”.

To elaborate (and here we come to my weltenschuung) I don’t believe human nature can change.
It has always been driven by three appetites. From lowest to highest: :

1) appetite of the flesh, i.e, behavior having to do with preserving one’s life at it’s most basic, which is pretty much about getting food and having sex , (and not getting killed in the process)
2) appetite for material acquisition: getting “stuff” like shelter, property, livestock, clothes, money (gold, silver, precious stones, ).
3) appetite for power i.e., the control of the behavior of others.

I put them hierarchically for a reason.
Someone who is fighting for his very survival to keep from starving is not concerned about money, property , etc unless it is the immediate means to get food.
Someone who has enough food for a while (is no longer starving) , now looks for ways to keep getting that food and keeping safe . And he does that by acquiring money or good or animals to barter / sell etc.
He is NOT (at that time) looking at commanding/manipulating others except in so far as doing those things ensure his survival, that is to keep his life secure (his mate’s life too) and ensure a steady supply of food.

Once he has a steady source of food (and sex), once he is protected from the elements and marauders (who want his food and mate and property and livestock) he starts to consider how to control the wider situation to increase his security or at least maintain the status quo.
He can do that by looking around him and seeing others are in the same boat, and thus come up with a [more-or-less] win-win plan for everyone, because they all have pretty much figured out it is easier to fight off the sabre tooth tiger as a group than as a loner. So they get together and live in a group to support each other, and you now have a society.

But there always seems to be some yahoo who thinks he is the most qualified to tell everyone else what to do, (and by the way your mate looks like a pretty hot number [a la ‘David and Bathsheba]) and by force with his stooges ( who may not get your mate, but sure could use a few more horses) set up society where they run things and benefit the most or even exclusively.

So humankind knowing this was possible came up with the Golden Rule to mitigate the more pernicious behaviors associated with the 3 appetites.

Here it is easier quote Wikipedia
NOTE: I know Wikipedia is not a primary source and can even be wrong. But in this case it states exactly what I’ve known my whole life and says it very concisely, much more coherently than I could.
I’ve edited it a bit but the gist is there. Anyone can Wiki it to read the whole thing.

The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as you want to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures. It can be considered an ethic of reciprocity in some religions, although other religions treat it differently. The maxim may appear as a positive or negative injunction governing conduct:
• Treat others as you would like others to treat you (positive or directive form)
• Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form)
• What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form)

The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BC)....This concept appears prominently in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and "the rest of the world's major religions". The concept of the Rule is codified in the Code of Hammurabi stele and tablets (1754-1790 BC). 143 leaders of the world's major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic"....It is "a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely", but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it....The Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition."


So if 143 leaders of the different religions think it necessary to reiterate the GR in 1993 (after more than 3500 years) , I think it safe to say, human nature doesn’t change very much.
Which is why I say we are really no more enlightened about “good behavior” than we have ever been. We are just more circumspect about what we do, knowing that what we do can be broadcast to the whole world. If you want to say that is being enlightened , then OK.

Going to address the “good art by depraved artist” question soon...give me another few days to marshal my thoughts.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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You make a lot of good points and I do agree. I hope you're wrong about human nature not being able to change, or we'll never see the perfect society of Star Trek's Federation. Perhaps we can learn to control our nature, though we cannot change it.

If you are indeed correct about social media being the factor allowing women to come forward and call foul on this behavior (that's something I hadn't pondered), then I suppose we have discovered a positive use for social media. I don't do social media myself and never "got" people's desire to put it all out there. And all this was before Facebook become the cesspool of political disinformation that it is. To me, Facebook was supposed to be about posting pictures of kids and kitties, and it turned into something much darker. We truly did not need another divisive force in our society.

In any case, I'm now very intrigued to hear your judgment on "good art/bad artist," as it relates to our fan-designated Good Professor, Isaac Asimov.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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I read yesterday that production of the Foundation Apple TV+ series is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not much of a surprise, that. But what I found interesting is that it is being touted as the biggest production ever in the history of Ireland. My instantaneous thought was, 'Whoa, bigger than Game of Thrones?" And then I immediately realized, Game of Thrones was produced in Northern Ireland, while Foundation is to be produced in the Republic of Ireland, Limerick to be precise. So, two different countries and no implied topping of GoT for scale.

Before the pause button was hit, a number of actors were cast. Jared Harris, son of Richard "Dumbledore" Harris and a very good actor in his own right, will play Hari Seldon and Lee Pace, aka Thranduil from the Hobbit trilogy, as "Brother Day." Not sure who "Brother Day" is; he may be an invented character. On the other hand, in the Foundation stories, there is a period of time as the Empire collapses that the Foundation sends out "priests" to control planets and keep them from collapsing completely into barbarism. So maybe Brother Day is one of them. I also see that a Finnish actress has been cast as Eto Demerzel. This is, uh, interesting, because in the book Eto Demerzel is a man. I can well understand the motivation, because in the original Foundation trilogy there is only one major character who is female, and women are pretty scarce as well in the prequels and sequels. The thing is, and I'm trying to figure out how not to turn this into a spoiler for those who haven't read all the books, Eto Demerzel is a continuing character under different names throughout the Asimov Robot/Empire/Foundation universe, and this character has always been male. However, treading ever closer to spoilers, due to his nature it would be relatively easy to present as female. So I'm not sure where the producers are going with this or if there are familiar with the details of the broader Asimov universe. Someone on Reddit stated that Apple only has rights to the original trilogy and if that is the case, the producers may not care. The Reddit user gave no source of justification for that claim, however, and it would strike me as a bit odd for an entity with the financial resources of Apple to go after the rights to Foundation and not get as much as they could.

In any event, this series like pretty much every bit of entertainment is now on hold because of the pandemic, and it's anyone's guess when it will restart, indeed whether it will restart at all, and what form it will take if if does restart and come to fruition.

On a related note, and this is what actually caused me to check om the status of Foundation, last night I watched Bicentennial Man on HBO Max. It was a 1999 adaptation of Asimov's short story of the same name and the Robert Silverberg expansion thereof, called The Positronic Man. I had never watched it before, because it got poor reviews, Asimov adaptations have a poor track record, and I've never really been a fan of Robin Williams. However, I thought I'd give it a shot, and I was very pleasantly surprised. The story, in a nutshell, is of a robot who wants to become human. Sound familiar? It should. Gene Roddenberry was friends with Isaac Asimov and explicitly based Data to some degree on Asimovian ideas (though notably NOT the Three Laws). Williams was very good, the various robot effects were very impressive and the visual effects in general were good, and it had a ton of heart. And it was quite funny in places. I literally laughed loudly a few times, something I almost never do while watching a movie alone at home. So, I was quite glad I watched it and would definitely be putting the BluRay on my wishlist...except it never got a standalone release on Bluray. The only way to get it is on DVD, or on a BluRay paired with Mission to Mars. Cue curse-words....
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Hey Olorin, remember when you wrote this?
Olorin wrote: Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 am ...The adaptation of Asimov into moving pictures has a spotty track record.....However, I'll believe in any Asimov adaptation when I sit down to watch it, and not much before.
I am with you ....only when I see the finished product will I have anything to say.
Meantime, the trailer? Meh.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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I'll start by saying that somehow a clumsy keystroke blew away a semi-lengthy response, so arghhh!!

But getting back into the saddle.....

Meh? Meh? Oh Deimos, you're so jaded! :P I sent that trailer to several friends who were quite impressed, and based on the very limited number of articles I've read and YouTube videos I've seen, it sounds like it's getting a favorable reaction. And I certainly thought it looked cool. What I was trying to express, I guess, was my surprise that the project got this far before the pandemic shutdown. Just goes to show that the last article I'd read wasn't very up to date. Of course, Apple is notoriously secretive, and obviously they wanted to drop a big surprise at WWDC yesterday.

And sure I remember my comment about believing it when I sit down to watch. That's precisely what was in mind when I said it had taken a big step away from being just vaporware. I'm not yet planning my menu for debut night. And I'm not yet ready to say, based on the teaser, that I think it'll be good. There are too many instances of bad movies with great trailers and vice versa. However, they officially have my attention now, and I'm guardedly optimistic they'll at least put a few episodes in front of our eyeballs.

Normally, I'm somewhere on the cynical to pessimistic spectrum. Paradoxically, however, there is still some innocent part of me that thinks eventually there will be a faithful limited-series adaptation of I Robot, adaptations of the Robot novels, adaptations of the Galactic Empire novels (though they weren't that great), and adaptations of all seven Foundation novels. And they'll all be good! If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true? (Line from Happy Talk from South Pacific).

Deimos wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:48 am Hey Olorin, remember when you wrote this?
Olorin wrote: Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:42 am ...The adaptation of Asimov into moving pictures has a spotty track record.....However, I'll believe in any Asimov adaptation when I sit down to watch it, and not much before.
I am with you ....only when I see the finished product will I have anything to say.
Meantime, the trailer? Meh.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Olorin wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:35 am ...Meh? Meh? Oh Deimos, you're so jaded! :P
Yes, as regards trailers I are definitely jaded.
Trailers are "store windows" designed to draw you in.
And trailers (like store windows) showcase the best visuals of the product.
It is not that I put little stock in trailers but, rather, that I put no stock in them.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Olorin wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:46 pm
Deimos wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:19 pm It is not that I put little stock in trailers but, rather, that I put no stock in them.
But.... But.... But.... Sometimes trailers are right! The store really is full of good things! :lol:
OK...fair enough. Blanket statements are seldom true per se.
But I would maintain that few stores are full of good things.
And I have been so often disappointed by what is almost a "bait-and-switch" scenario -- i.e. the trailer scenes being the only good scenes in the whole movie--well, I hope you can understand my cynicism.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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The trailer pushed me to pickup the book. Tbf I didn’t pay attention to the page count so when it got here I was surprised by how thin it was. Not that that matters much as it’s the story that counts.

I’m looking forward to reading it and I’ll have to pickup the other two books in the main story. But there are more books aren’t there? How do they fit into the overall story? Is it better to start with Foundation or is there another starting point?
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

Re: Asimov's Foundation novels

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Lindir wrote: Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:35 am The trailer pushed me to pickup the book. Tbf I didn’t pay attention to the page count so when it got here I was surprised by how thin it was. Not that that matters much as it’s the story that counts.

I’m looking forward to reading it and I’ll have to pickup the other two books in the main story. But there are more books aren’t there? How do they fit into the overall story? Is it better to start with Foundation or is there another starting point?
Read my post here: viewtopic.php?p=111864#p111864

Bear in mind the first few books are VERY dated in some regards...everybody is still smoking, for example. It's also quite easy to imagine everyone being white guys in 1940s attire. Actually, the guy part requires no imagination. I don't think a major female character shows up until the third book or maybe late in the second book. But the story is what to read it for, not the writing. As I've said before, I find the sequels and prequels much easier to read in terms of how they are written.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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Thanks, Olorin!

I’ve started reading and though I’m only a few chapters in I’m finding it to be very enjoyable so far.

I wonder how different the series will be from the novels? I’ve started with Foundation and already it feels pretty different to what the trailer shows. Of course there’ll be dramatic emphasis placed on different things but I’m curious as to Lee Pace’s role. In the trailer he shares scenes with Jared Harris - so I wonder if he’s replacing Linge Chen?

I wonder if the name of Brother Day is just to obscure his role? I guess we won’t know for certain until we see it when it’s officially released.


EDIT: Never mind. I found it. He is playing the Emperor - https://tvline.com/2019/10/22/foundatio ... e-tv-plus/

Odd that they changed the name though? Is there a story reason? Though maybe I should continue reading :P

FURTHER EDIT:

I wonder if they’re going to show multiple timelines at once so you keep series regulars. So far I’m nearly fifty pages (or maybe a few beyond 50) in and we’ve already moved past who I thought would be the main characters. Showing multiple storylines at once could be a way of getting round a new cast of characters every episode. I’m thinking something along the lines of the Cloud Atlas movie.
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

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Bear in mind that article was written in October and is probably pretty out of date, perhaps just wrong about some facts.

Yeah, there was never an emperor named Brother Day, or at least not according to this list: https://asimov.fandom.com/wiki/Galactic_Emperors. From my last reading of the books, the only emperor I remember much about is Cleon I, who is emperor during the time of Forward the Foundation, the immediate prequel to Foundation. According to the list I linked, though, the emperor at the time that matters come to a head regarding establishing the Foundation (trying to be vague and spoiler-free for you!) is someone called Daluben IV. None of this to say that they might not have changed the name, but that would be a pointless change. Brother Day certainly does not sound...imperial. I don't have problems with changes done for a reason, like re-envisioning characters to increase the racial and sexual diversity of the cast. Gaal Dornick is a (presumably white) man in the book but a black woman in the trailer. That doesn't affect the story and helps make the population of the Galactic Empire more diverse, like the actual population of Earth (something I thought the Matrix sequels did very well, love them or hate them otherwise).

So, I hope it is a fake name, but I doubt it. Now there is an element of the series, where the Foundation implements a fake religion to help manage the populace of worlds sliding toward a more primitive condition, and so possibly Lee Pace is playing one of them (though again, I don't recall a Foundation priest named Brother Day). To me, in his two seconds in the trailer he looks more imperial than priestly, but who knows. I should learn to stop trying to interpret so much from 30 second trailers and 9 month old articles, but anytime there's a whiff of alteration of the proper story, it tends make me obsess on it. I guess if nothing else, next year, God willing, the creek don't rise, and Covid doesn't claim us, we'll know.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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OK, good, I got that posted before anyone scooped me. ;-)

Some thoughts....

I read back in this thread from about this time last year. It's amazing it's been a full year since the first trailer dropped, and now my anticipation will build that the debut is only three months away. Now it's time to start thing about my debut night menu, to riff off a comment I made last year.

Lindir, did you ever finish reading? Did you read just the first book, or several? How did you like what you read?

It's pretty obvious from the trailer that they have changed some things. I won't say anything I consider too spoilerish, but if you want to be completely unspoiled in how the series compares to the books, look away now.

Brother Day (Lee Pace, with his magnificent voice) is indeed the Emperor, or rather, the co-emperor with his younger and older clone "brothers." In the books, the emperors were not clones. It was just like any Earth monarchy. You're succeeded by your child, or sometimes the rule passes to a different house. From the articles I read, these clone emperors are of the house of Cleon. In the books, Cleon was the emperor during the period of the Foundation prequels. He was good natured but a bit ineffectual IIRC. The dialog in the trailer makes it sound like the Empire is only 400 years old. If that's the case, that's a big change from the books, where the Empire is 12,000 years old. I hope they are not going in for some Peter Jackson-style timeline compression.

In one of my earlier posts, I said I'd read something in a reddit thread where someone stated Apple only had the rights to the original trilogy. I think this is now demonstrably false (or Apple disregarded rights), as Alfred Enoch ("Dean Thomas" from Harry Potter) is in it and is being described as playing Raych, a character who appears only in the prequels (but who could logically be inserted into this story...there's enough timeline overlap).

I think the visuals look stunning...though that one black hole (or whatever it is) scene still looks little better than pre-viz.

They are going to show the first three episodes back to back on Sept. 24 then drop one a week. My big question to myself is whether I will be able to wait till the whole thing has aired and then binge it, or whether I will watch each week.

So at this point, I think we are nearly out of the vaporware phase. Of course, it could still end up vaporware (sometimes things get shelved), or it could come out and be lousy. But I am definitely getting drawn in by the trailers. My hope is that they have enough humility to recognize that when you're adapting one of the towering epics of sci-fi, you need to be respectful.

Which brings up another interesting thing...who would have thought that the two towering epics of all of sci fi literature, Foundation and Dune, would hit screens within a month of each other?
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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So the immediate series is going to encompass the original three books?
The original three and any prequels?
Only the prequels?
The Prequels, original three and sequesl(s) ?

You see what I'm asking....for how many seasons is the series planned, and which books are going to be dramatized in each season?


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

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IIRC, 80 episodes are planned, which presumably translates to 8 seasons, or 7 longish seasons. IMHO that's somewhere between "long enough" to "ideal length" to cover all seven books. As I've stated before, I greatly prefer the sequels and prequels over the original trilogy, because in the 1980s and 1990s, Asimov was a much better writer than he was in the 1940s and 1950s. Moreover, the sequels and prequels have continuing, fleshed-out characters, something the OT does not. And before someone says, "but the story/ideas," the sequels and prequels do not lack there, either. Sure, psychohistory was the Macguffin of the OT, but the S and P have their own ideas: who else is out there tinkering with the fate of humanity, and elements that explicitly tie Foundation into the same universe as the Robot novels. So they make the series a richer, more rewarding experience. And as they are including a character from the prequels into the first season, they are obviously going to incorporate at least some elements (either that, or they just stole a name).

As a side note, it is somewhat mindboggling to me that at the very outset, they can say, there are going to be 80 episodes. Do you really have it planned out in that much detail already? Or at you just guessing?
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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Oh wow that trailer looks incredible.

I stopped reading Olorin, even though I was really enjoying it, as I’d like to see the story play put on screen and then revisit the books after the series is finished.

I’m very excited for this, and glad my Apple subscription is still running. I’m hoping there’ll be a good response to it so we can get the entire story told and they NEED to release an art book for this.
"All those moments will be lost, in time... like tears, in the rain..."

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Do these series--- Game of Thrones, the MCU Series ,Star Trek Series , the Mandalorian stories (SW), the upcoming Bezos ME stories, the Foundation series, the Dune series --- that is, are all these streamed series ever made available on BD/DVD?

I do not stream anything except music (and that is on my computer). I don't watch TV at all except for those movies of which I have DVDs (and a few BDs).
I didn't even get a flat screen TV (40 inch) until 2007. It's the one I currently use to watch my DVDs. (And I only have one TV).
Yes, I'm stuck in the late 20th C. :rolleye:
Yes I'm really a closet Luddite. :rolleye: ("Hello, my name is Marie, and I am a Luddite.")

But be all that as it may... Some day I may want to watch some of those aforementioned series (and NOT via streaming).
So I was just wondering if they eventually are made available in a hard format.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

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@Deimos:

Disney+ stuff (Star Wars, MCU) so far is NOT being made available on physical media so far, and they've announced no plans to do so. Disney is notorious for trying to manipulate people to maximize Disney profits (I know, business, but they seem much more crass about it). All of Star Trek in its many forms and Game of Thrones are on disc. I'd assume Amazon's LOTR series will be also at some point, but that remains to be seen. Dune is going to be a major theatrical release (if they ever stop bumping the date) in addition to day and date streaming, and I have no doubt it will be on disc by early 2022.

So do you live in an area where your connection isn't fast enough for streaming, or are you just willfully being a Luddite? Kidding aside, the fallacy of "cord cutting" is being laid bare already. It was always somewhat of a farce, because you were always going to have to pay an ISP. I ditched Evil Comcast a couple of years ago, and ditched my ATT landline at the same time. I now get service from a local ISP, and I get fiber internet, local channels, and landline from them. I had been paying comcast and ATT together a total of about $135 a month. I now pay the local ISP $100 (and that's $10 or more higher than it used to be, because the local channel pass-through fee went up). I also subscribe to HBO Max for $15/month. So I'm currently paying $115/month for the amount of content for which I used to pay $135. Not a huge savings, but some. However, I now also subscribe to Paramount+ ($10/mo) and Philo (which is essentially the cable expanded basic tier...HGTV, etc...., $16/mo). I also get Disney+ but I'm on a family plan with someone else, so I'm not paying anything for that. Anyway, I'm now paying almost exactly what I paid Comcast and ATT, though I get a lot more content. But point being, I'm not saving any money. The only way I might be able to do that, other than canceling streaming services, is to put an antenna in the attic to get the local channels over the air, and eliminate the $25 local channel tier (and $10 pass-through fee) from my ISP. But not all of our local channels are in our city...one is 50 miles west, and another is 50 miles east, so I'd have to have either an omnidirectional antenna or one I could manually rotate for the more remote channels...and that would be a pain. I can actually get the local affiliates' programming for CBS and PBS on their respective apps, and as for Fox, ABC, and NBC, I can get local affiliate programming for two of the three on their apps, except that for them "local" is New York City or some other very distant locale. Sigh.

@Lindir:

Actually, what you're doing is probably for the best. I've typically found that I enjoy the movie or TV show better if I watch it before I read the book. Otherwise, I'm constantly judging the movie against the book and it rarely measures up.

Of course, in the case of Foundation, where the earlier novels are very threadbare in terms of characterization and anything other than the bones of the story, the reverse may be true. It looks like the series is going to invent a lot of meat to put on the bones of the book.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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Well, of course I'm being a "willful Luddite", in that I've freely chosen to forego certain technologies.
There are a number of reasons but at the very top of the list is that I want to have access to movies (or a series) at my discretion and not on someone else's schedule.
This is especially true for older movies and series. If I decide to watch The Seventh Seal at 3AM , I want to be able to do it.

Also, whoever is streaming you something can control the content. Again, I want to be the one in control of content.
I read that when you watch a movie via Netflix, the end credits are no longer shown in full, or maybe at all.
Maybe that doesn't matter to a lot of viewers, but when it comes to movies, you are either a "credit watcher" or you aren't. There is no in between position.
I'm a credit watcher, always have been since I was in 4th grade, even at the theatre. ( Obviously this was long before the studios started inserting "post-credit" scenes.)
I am willing to sit though the entire scrolling of the credits, even ones as long as Star Wars or any of the LOTR movies.

Farther down on the list is that there is not very high speed streaming where I live and Cox Cable has no intention of upgrading its lines. There is no fibre optic cable either. Fastest Cable speed where I am is 50Mbs.
Same is true for the local phone company. The fastest internet/streaming speed Century Link (the Phone Co) can provide where I live is 12Mbs. Yep, you read that right.
I live in an older suburb (houses date to 1970) and the phone and cable companies want to devote their resources to the newer (and more upscale) communities on the outer, growing communities in the Phoenix metro area.
In other words, I live (in their opinion) on "the wrong side of the tracks." When I asked both companies if they were going to upgrade their lines in my area, they flat out said that had no plans to do it, ever.
They repair, but they don't replace.

But to be honest, the speed wouldn't matter, because the "schedule" and "content" reasons would still apply.
Faster connection would be nice for the computer per se, but that would be all.

Just an aside.... I have a LL (via Centruy Link) and have no plans to ditch it, ever.
You do know, don't you, that if your electricity goes out, say in a thunderstorm, that a LL will still work (unless the "Hub" is right there in the same neighborhood.)
Most phone companies LL are powered from some other site, usually from a larger metro area.
Mine is powered from somewhere in downtown Phoenix. And if one part of Phoenix is hit with a power outage, the phone company can access power from the part of the city that still has it.
So when my electricity goes out during monsoon storms or when the demand for power for A/C gets extreme in the summer, my LL stays active.
That can be important if you have any serious health problems. Or maybe if you have to call the fire dept.
And don't say you have a cell/smart phone.... you still have to charge it. What if you were just preparing to charge it and the power goes out?
Sure, you can use your car battery...until that goes dead.

I do have a "Star Trek" (Flip) phone. It lives in my purse. I use it for outgoing calls only, such as when I have car trouble (which is rare). Otherwise it is turned off.
If someone wants to talk to me, they call me at home.
If I'm not at home I am either 1) driving, 2) shopping, 3) visiting with friends, 4) engaged in some solo sport like hiking or swimming or biking.
In none of those cases would I answer a phone call because 1) dangerous , 2) I want to get the shopping done with as quickly as possible, without distraction, 3) it is rude beyond measure to take a phone call while you are visiting with someone in person,and 4) I prefer my present activity to any conversation, because I'm engaged in it to get away for some "alone time".
But for routine phone calls I use the LL.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

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I stream, but I am and will always be a fan of physical media (until they pry it from my cold, dead hands). I have over 800 titles on Blu-Ray or DVD, including many seasons of TV shows. When it gets to the point that there is only streaming, if they want to pull the plug on that "stream this movie anytime, forever" option that you bought, you're SOL. Disney actually tried that with movies they had put on Apple TV. Apple caught flack for it but quickly said, hey, we had to do what the content owner dictated. There was enough blowback that Disney relented and people got their digital movies back. But companies are always pushing the envelope on this, trying to see how close then can get to making people pay every time they watch a movie.

I pondered the emergency scenario when ditching my landline and decided that the chances of both my ISP and Verizon wireless being out at the same time were pretty slim.

Most streaming services seem to take you out of the end credits after a few seconds but the services I have give you the option to watch the full credits.

I saw The Seventh Seal for the first time a few months ago...I streamed it on HBO Max. I have loved having that because not only do they have a lot of new movies (and sometimes ones that are totally brand new, like Godzilla vs. Kong) but they have many older movies and I am slowly filling in gaps in my movies history with things like The Seventh Seal, Casablanca, Bette Davis movies, foreign movies, and so forth. Ironically, when I had HBO as part of my Comcast package, I never watched it unless there was a new episode of Game of Thrones or Westworld. HBO was part of the cheapest package Comcast would give me so I felt like I wasn't paying for it. Now that I am actually paying a separate charge for it, every month I go through everything that is available and pick things to add to my watch queue. It's great...I've got something to watch every night. And some of these I will end up buying on Blu-Ray. :inlove:

I share many of your reservations about cell phones. I only used to have a flip phone and held of getting a smart phone until 2014. However, they are so convenient to me in being able to access the internet remotely, use apps to display concert passes, shop remotely with, text friends, take photos and videos of my cat or places I'm visiting and immediately send those to friends, and so forth, that I never want to be without out it. And any picture or video I take on my iPhone, I can also view on my big TV, because my streaming hardware is Apple TV. I didn't realize how great iPhone pictures looked until I looked at one on my TV. Any picture looks good on a 6" phone screen...but when it looks just as good on a 65" TV screen, then you know it's really good. And it's been a godsend during the pandemic While it's true I could shop remotely on my computer and call the store to bring it out when I arrive, the smart phone makes it so much easier. I put they order in, they message me when it's ready, I hit the "I'm on my way" button before I leave the house, and as I pull into their parking lot they know I'm there and they're bringing my groceries out and putting them in my trunk. I will continue to shop this way to some extent after the pandemic is over. Also, FaceTime (video call) has been wonderful during the pandemic. But I don't yakk on the phone with one friend while visiting with another, or pull out the phone and start browsing the internet while visiting a friend.

And now to tie this back to Foundation, I was watching some YouTubers' trailer reaction video (they were actually reacting to the year-old teaser) and they really reacted negatively to the producer's praise of Apple during his interview segment. They were ripping on Apple for it, but hey, it wasn't an Apple employee that injected that in there, it was a movie writer/producer. Granted, what he said was a little over the top, but still....
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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Well, I am in effect ignoring my usual advice regarding read the book first or see the show first, and (re)reading Foundation. What triggered me to do so was a reaction video on YouTube where the poster was stating "right out of the book" to some of the dialog in the trailers. This person either has a very good memory for dialog or their malleable memory was conforming to what they were hearing. Thus I thought, if the show really is getting the dialog right, perhaps I should refresh myself on the books before I watch. So, I am about 3/5 of the way through Foundation and encountered no dialog that was presented verbatim or even nearly so in the trailers. Also, as the trailers deal mostly with Hari Seldon in his latter days on Trantor, I noted that that section of the book, the only part of it to feature Seldon as a living person, is only 35 pages.

On the whole, I am enjoying my re-read, incredibly dated dialog and visions of the future (cigars and newspapers 25,000 years in the future?) aside. But it does reconfirm my memory of the Foundation series: 95% of it is people talking to each other, and most of the remaining 5% is people talking to each other at blaster-point. I realize one tactic in adaptation is showing things that books only mention in passing but even allowing for that, this series is going to be a real challenge to adapt while capturing the essence of the books. I don't know how much patience a modern audience will have for something that is short on explosions and long on exposition.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

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I'd love to watch this, but with a cable subscription and Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Netflix services to pay for every month, I'm not adding yet another subscription. That, and I can't stand Apple as a company so I will not buy any of their products or services (I still have an iPod I bought in '05, but that was before I became aware of their despicable business practices and predatory attitude).

* cue someone pointing out how badly Amazon treats their employees - yes, I'm aware but Apple has a mile-long laundry list of grievances in my book that go well beyond poor labour practices. Sorry for the off-topic but I feel someone was bound to ask.
This Space for Rent

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Olorin wrote: Mon Jul 05, 2021 11:14 am I would say, if you buy a new Apple product you get Apple TV+ free for a while, or if you don’t do that, it’s only five dollars a month, but since you feel so strongly about it… I won’t. ;-)
Yeah, no... they can keep their crap.

Also, the deal is coming to an end... or being shrunk down, at least: https://www.darkhorizons.com/apple-cuts ... ce-offers/
This Space for Rent
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