It’s April 2018: What SF book are you reading?

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#2
Just finished Foundation ~Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire~ Isaac Asimoc
Second Foundation ~Isaac Asimov
Robot Visions ~ Isaac Asimov

busy weekend.
So Foundation series is wildly regarded as one of the best sci fi series of all time. If you don't agree we can at least give it a Lord of the Ring status for most influential . if you don't agree with that, you're fooling yourself.

I have read the first two and half of the third previously. and here is your warning, inside my spoiler blocks I will ruin everything I mean everything.
April Fools , okay from here on I will ruin everything

Foundation

the series is based heavily of the decline of the roman empire almost to a point you can probably watch the events without the plot , scfi fi, and with swapped proper nouns, and a summary of the decline. but one thing I also notice is that either the period sci fi influenced him, or the other way around. It's hard to tell when the publication dates overlap as they do.

So Rome is in a downward spiral, but the citizenry in the interior doesn't acknowledge it The signs are there though. The economy is stretched too thin, the complacency is to well defined. it will collapse it is inevitable. soon the outer provinces or Bretogne Germania, and Iberia will start to declare independence and carve out new kingdoms. when Rome collapse we will be sent into a long period of anarchy with a lower value of living. The greatest psychohistorian of all time (a mathematical psychology of the mob which applied correctly can predict reactions to events)Harry Seldon gathers up the greatest minds in Rome to leave and apply their skills outside (very similar to various sci fi books of the time, most notably Atlas Shrugged [I have not read] which is published both before this book, and after some of its individual pieces}

But they are deceived, the foundation is not creating a grand enclyclopedia , but forming a small civilization that will be able to survive through the anarchaic period, and through various crisis' restructure to meet the demands and expand into a second galaxy wide empire 28 thousand years earlier than originally predicted and or 28k less years of anarchy and turmoil.

The rest of the book is about meeting these Seldon ciris' and expanding into various stages of control over the surronding regions each more expansive than the last.

The book ends with the several changes throughout, first the encyclopedia is overthrown and they become the Holy roman empire. or religious center of the five neighboring kingdoms, power and empire without having the title. Then the religion is abandoned as they become a larger trading empire. And finally they are left with evidence that the Empire is still out there.

Foundation and Earth

This one starts in the same way as the last one ended. but.

The approaching Seldon Crisis is only hinted at before it is interrupted, so first time through you might not even notice it until you see Harry Seldon say what it was supposed to be only to be wrong. I was supposed to be that the traders will incite civil war, leaving the foundation in a strnger state of union . the problem, Psychohistory deals with the psychology of the mob but there is a next evolution of man able to manipulate the psychology of the mob. we don't know that initially but when we find out the twist becomes very obvious, before that still pretty easy, but that might be because it has now been copied a thouasand times over..

interesting side not, The Mule, is very much like DC comics Psycho Pirate (the 90s version for sure, the 80s version a little) but that character predates Foundation, it is possible Asimov got his idea from DC, or the same source. but I have not read any Psycho Pirae stuff before the 80s so it might be this psychologist bears little resemblance in his debut .

The ending is very satisfying as a book two of three, an ending copied repeatedly but never this well done.

they lost. the Mule conquers the foundation. Conquers the Empire (one of the future seldom crisis' and virtually becomes the ruler of the Foundation empire over a large quantity of the galaxy, it appears to be inevitable, it appears to look like he might cause the new empire earlier. However it is suggested his empire won't last as long as it should but ruin the plans only to descend into anarchy again.

right at the end, the mule is only stalled, unable to find the second foundation (ironically)

End.

Second Foundation.

less satisfying reveal.

I thought it was pretty clear the second foundation would be n trantor in the last book, especially with the mere students of the universe able to hold off the invasion and the sacking of rome. then again with the mule disabled on trantor. Fondation then inherits the Mule's new empire.

NEXT we have the foundation aware of second foundation two things, this is screwing up the psychohistory results and causing foundation to act like they have a safety net and underreact to everything. meanwhile an undercurrent was people who consider second foundation evil, and want rid of their influence.

I do like the various interpretations of how to find never never land using that nurery rhyme "first star at night.........

the overlaying evidence just keeps piling up that its on trantor but we still need to play a game of clue.

"AHH HAA Trantor was just a red herring, really there is no second foundation"
" AHH HAA you've been manipulated and are the red herring, SF is on this planet.
" AHH HAA that planet was just a red herring SF is on the other planet
" AHH HAA that planet is the red herring really SF was on Terminus the whole time, with us here"
End.
Epilogue
" AHH HAA the audience was deceived Terminus was just a red herring too, SF was really on Trantor the whole time.

Foundation 9/10
Foundation and Earth 10/10
Second Foundation 8.5/10
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#3
nice, I just read an essay by Asimov in 1977 predicting this forum.

or more specifically a meeting place using computers where people can interact and communicate instantly with other people throughout the world on a common interest or topic without having to leave their home.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#4
A Night Without Stars by Peter Hamilton. Good to be back in the Commonwealth, fighting the Void and various aliens.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#5
nice, I just read an essay by Asimov in 1977 predicting this forum.

or more specifically a meeting place using computers where people can interact and communicate instantly with other people throughout the world on a common interest or topic without having to leave their home.
Very interesting!
Had to look up the history of Listserv to find out when the first such construct was created, and that was around 1986, so indeed, Asimov predicted that by quite some time (and certainly not "at your home", then)

I must say that when I personally re-read Foundation (which I had loved as a 13-year old around 1980) around 2014, I was less impressed with the prose, writing and creativity, then I was when I read it first.

Also, whenever I read a review of a Tesla or other automobile with autonomy capabilities, I can not help but think of positronic brains :)
"Sally" on the Internet Archive
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Just finished Foundation's Edge ~ Isaac Asimov
and The Gods Themselves ~ Isaac Asimov

Foundation's Edge apparently was a long expected sequel to the foundation series. But the long period of wait seems to have dulled the inspiration, or maybe it's that Asimov overextended himself with trying tie as many separate stories and series together as possible. don't get me wrong, it is good, but not nearly as good as the trilogy.

we get to see the continuation of the situations set up at the end of Second Foundation, and we get several tie ins to the robot anthology series, and the robot detective series. but these tie ins seem very forced and contrived.
worse still the weird contrived Gaia was just grating to all senses but adding the two robots as progenitors of the world at least adds, as their explanation of future plans needed answering, I just wish they didn't go into the bad fortune cookie horoscope nonsense of the living entwined world.

The gods themselves I almlost count as three separate short stories because of how different the sections are.

first one is one of his best work it recounts the tale of belligerence and science as an incompetent man stumbles of the worlds greatest discovery, accelerates to godhood of infallibility than protects it to the point of intentionally ruining the careers of those who oppose him. or potentially prove him wrong. This part shows the utter revulsion of the blindness of people when given power they don't deserve, earn, or the short sightedness of humanity to those they revere to a godhood. we can certainly apply this many characters in the world today, some things never change.

The second, is as brilliant as it is lousy, but all in a nature that belongs in a spoiler
I have read that this book was written as a response to critic who complained often that Asimov never wrote of aliens or sex, so this story is on alien sex. this might be true, but I have found that Asimov just won't stop writing about sex there are several stories written with gratuitous sex before this, and it becomes an often occurrence that we see his fetishes even more obviously later.

We didn't need this story to make the book work, and in fact it spoils an otherwise great story with useless bits that serve as a red herring, and a distraction.

That said, it is brilliant in its own right. Asimov ponders a universe with a different set of rules of physics. we postulate life in this universe and then create a three gender species, with a good twist (they are the larval stage and merge to one being after reproducing) the story ends with the inability to anything different pertaining to rescuing the other universe.

the third continues with the first and in a new and interesting manner. we do see more into the gratuitous sexual fantasies of Asimov unnecessarily. but we get a satisfactory conclusion in a new direction that has NOTHING at all to do with the distraction of story 2.

I realize now I must read End of Eternity, it was referenced in Foundations Edge and being a time travel novel I think its good with the time travel mystery someone is sending me through the Mystery Box company.

So I will, um rather, I have, or maybe, will have been going to finished, Am currently reading The End of Eternity

Foundations Edge 7.5/10
Gods Themselves. either 8.5 or 7.5 out of ten. hmmmm...
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
I'm about a quarter way in to The Long Earth by Pratchett/Baxter and absolutely love it. The writing style is perfect for me, reminds me a bit of Gaiman.

I've previously purchased the entire series when individual books have been on offer, and very much looking forward to reading them all!
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#9
I absolute
I'm about a quarter way in to The Long Earth by Pratchett/Baxter and absolutely love it. The writing style is perfect for me, reminds me a bit of Gaiman.

I've previously purchased the entire series when individual books have been on offer, and very much looking forward to reading them all!
I absolutely love that series
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#10
Finished The End of Eternity ~ Isaac Asimov

Not entirey familiar with the timetravel subgenre, mostly because its rarely not cheese. This was brilliant though.

This book makes me question origins on a lot of timetravel cliché's it lays out the kill your own gradpa as if it is already part of the IRL culture (books written in 1955) but it also hits on a lot of other nonparadox clichés. I know most robot themes coiches and reoccurrences can all be attributed to Asimov, this makes me wonder if its time travel too.

The book makes references to the foundation series, and is referenced (badly) in foundation edge.

solid time travel novel though, and the if/when/going to was very concise and well thought out (sometimes it gets sooo bad)

I mentioned earlier that psycho pirate (DC comics) resembled exactly "the Mule" . in the same story (is it time crisis?) the aspect of eternity and the time travel craziness is also copyied pretty heavily. someone in DC loves Asimov.

The absolutely best part, that had me howl with delight, made the whole book genius...
It didn't just serve as a dense allegory for Plato's Allegory of the Cave, but right at the end the character of the future who just tolod the protag was wrong, eternity is evil, eternity, hurts and destroys humanity, and sets up the Hiroshima many millennia early (now 1944 instead of 30,000) to destroy eternity, this character who revealed then the possibility (unachievable before) of interstellar travel, and galactic empire , she out right says, this is all the aollegory of the cave with extra words in one solid line.

"come out to the mouth of the cave" right after giving him all that knowledge that makes him unable to return to eternity because he now knows too much.

10/10