Watching and reading Asimov
Initial takes on the Foundation book and the TV series
This was among the first science fiction books I read back in College.
A scientist and an academic, Isaac Asimov is one prolific writer who churned out more than 500 books including the Foundation series, a set of books about a ruling Galactic Empire, robots (humanoids), a mathematician, and a group of people responsible for creating an encyclopedia of human knowledge.
Published in 1951, Foundation begins with an entry in the Encyclopedia Galactica. It introduces Hari Seldon, a mathematician, psychologist, and father of psychohistory, a branch of mathematics which can accurately predict the future.
Set in the future and a universe teeming with life, you will find the human race populating planets. They travel to other galaxies light years away through space “jumps.”
The Galactic Empire is run by three clones of the emperor (who has ruled for several millennia) and his closest adviser, a humanoid.
Inspired by the real Roman Empire, the Galactic Empire is at its greatest until Seldon predicted its impending fall.
Based on his psychohistory-born prediction, Seldon said the Galactic Empire (which is seated in the planet Trantor) will collapse in 5 centuries (500 years). This will be followed by 30,000 years of dark ages.
Unless, Sheldon and his protege can slow down or even reduce the dark years to a millennium, or 1,000 years.
TV series treatment
The TV series starts similarly but introduces major shifts in characters. It also still begins in the provincial planet of Synnax, where Gaal Dornick was raised, not in Trantor.
Unlike the book, Gaal is now a young woman in the TV series. (As many observed, Asimov’s characters were mostly men).
Gaal would later become Seldon’s protege and biographer. But first, she was invited by Seldon himself to Trantor to join a project, not knowing the troubling fate that she had to face when she lands.
We also are introduced to Demerzel, a humanoid, who is also now played by a woman.
Not to give away the story or to drop spoilers, Foundation is my introduction to science fiction writing, where space, aliens, and warring planets are the main themes.
The story, however, is very much like any other human drama of love, hate, fear, plotting, scheming (the politics) and destruction–or decay of a civilization. Add to this are moral questions which the author raises, and hopefully answers, as the story unravels.
(To be expanded when I finished reading)