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Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

Two Owls posted:

Did Asimov do that short story about a world where everyone had forgotten how to do arithmetic, and when it's rediscovered the government goes "Excellent, now we can put cheap humans in our guided missiles instead of expensive computers".

I remember getting a kick from the idea of Thiotimoline

yes, that one is hilarious
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Feeling_of_Power

quote:

In the distant future, humans live in a computer-aided society and have forgotten the fundamentals of mathematics, including even the rudimentary skill of counting.

The Terrestrial Federation is at war with Deneb, and the war is conducted by long-range weapons controlled by computers which are expensive and hard to replace. Myron Aub, a low grade Technician, discovers how to reverse-engineer the principles of pencil-and-paper arithmetic by studying the workings of ancient computers which were programmed by human beings, before bootstrapping became the norm—a development which is later dubbed "Graphitics". The discovery is appropriated by the military establishment, who use it to re-invent their understanding of mathematics. They also plan to replace their computer-operated ships with lower cost, more expendable (in their opinion) manned ships to continue the war.

Aub is so upset by the appropriation of his discovery for military purposes that he commits suicide. As Aub's funeral proceeds, his supervisor realizes that even with Aub dead, the advancement of Graphitics is unstoppable. He executes simple multiplications in his mind without help from any machine, which gives him a great feeling of power.

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Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

Rutibex posted:

every famous sci-fi writers final form is the sex pervert. i assume that all scifi writers have it within them, but only the famous ones have enough money to make it work

speaking of that i found this cool video of Asimov as a Star Trek convention:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekg0LZJWg5c#t=136s

See, I'm going to contest this, and I think that this is the best reason for having an Asimov thread: would "every famous sci-fi writers final form is the sex pervert" be something we'd seen so far if Asimov himself hadn't become the ur-sci-fi writer? I don't think this requires a metaphysical explanation. I think it is a result of historical and social forces, and that Asimov himself is a good place to center the conversation.

It's not just that Asimov personally chased women out of the industry with vigor, it's that he both shaped the institutions around him and became deified in sci-fi as a community. He was called out, regularly, in his own time and to his own face for degrading the women around him, and the sci-fi community reshaped themselves to be exceptionally misogynistic in response. This reverberates to our own time, and while we can point to the failing reactionary "sad puppies" as evidence that the past is past, it is irresponsible to be smug about how far we've come if we're also going to say that sex pests are just a natural part of the sci-fi environment.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

Tulip posted:

See, I'm going to contest this, and I think that this is the best reason for having an Asimov thread: would "every famous sci-fi writers final form is the sex pervert" be something we'd seen so far if Asimov himself hadn't become the ur-sci-fi writer? I don't think this requires a metaphysical explanation. I think it is a result of historical and social forces, and that Asimov himself is a good place to center the conversation.

It's not just that Asimov personally chased women out of the industry with vigor, it's that he both shaped the institutions around him and became deified in sci-fi as a community. He was called out, regularly, in his own time and to his own face for degrading the women around him, and the sci-fi community reshaped themselves to be exceptionally misogynistic in response. This reverberates to our own time, and while we can point to the failing reactionary "sad puppies" as evidence that the past is past, it is irresponsible to be smug about how far we've come if we're also going to say that sex pests are just a natural part of the sci-fi environment.

That is entirely fair, and I was more saying that as a joke than an endorsement. I don't expect Cory Doctorow to end up the same way as Asimov, he exists in a very different society. Though I do think there is something to be said for sci-fi writers becoming more "sexually interesting" than the average person. You don't become a sci-fi writer without having a bit of an unconventional personality, and a lot of creativity.

That doesn't necessarily mean abusive towards women, it could just mean weird kinks.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



It's also one of those things where--by the nature of the job-- you end up expressing and codifying your kinks in a way that other sex pests in business, finance, or politics won't.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

Rutibex posted:

That is entirely fair, and I was more saying that as a joke than an endorsement. I don't expect Cory Doctorow to end up the same way as Asimov, he exists in a very different society. Though I do think there is something to be said for sci-fi writers becoming more "sexually interesting" than the average person. You don't become a sci-fi writer without having a bit of an unconventional personality, and a lot of creativity.

That doesn't necessarily mean abusive towards women, it could just mean weird kinks.

Yeah fair enough. I just don't think it's something to throw our hands up and give up over, since it is in fact something we can approach.

Maybe two years ago I read a bunch of Harlan Ellison stories and wow they got absurdly, irritatingly horny after he got established.



v lol

Sodomy Hussein
Oct 9, 2005

Everything is subject to the needs of intelligence, for geniuses like me. If we actually solve problems, people won't need me and people like me, and this is a travesty without end. You have to squeeze the poor so they know their place, and you fucking commies forget that.


mind the walrus posted:

Yuck I'm getting shades of Frank Herbert there. Do modern writers still do that? Now that we live in a post-scarcity world for porn and getting your fetishes catered to, do writers still feel the need to interject in their works?

I'm thinking here of Patrick Rothfuss (who wrote the Cool Sexy Guy That Everyone Admires First Year Lit Student's Rejected Story Trilogy and a bit of George R.R. Martin.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga


https://deadline.com/2020/03/founda...mic-1202882010/

quote:

‘Foundation’ TV Series Suspends Production In Ireland Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

EXCLUSIVE: Add Apple TV+ and Skydance Television’s high-profile Foundation drama series to the growing list of TV series that have shut down production in face of a global coronavirus pandemic. The adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s dci-fi novel trilogy, starring Jared Harris and Lee Pace, had been filming in Ireland as the country’s largest-scale production ever,

For a list of TV shows that have been halted across broadcast, cable and streaming, click here.

The shutdown decision follows the announcement by Irish Prime Minister An Taoiseach of COVID-19 restrictive measures, which include the cancellation of any indoor mass gatherings of 100 people or more and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people.

“Skydance, along with Apple, have made the decision to temporarily suspend filming on Foundation, the studio said in a statement to Deadline Thursday night. “The health and safety of our cast and crew is our top priority and we are closely monitoring the situation.”

The 10-episode series chronicles the epic saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwhbMz-CgZ8

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Aw that's a shame that's a show that actually sounds like it could be really good... mostly because I have a really hard time imagining how even the hackiest producers could engineer NuTrek-style garbage into it.

Tighclops
Jan 23, 2008

Unable to deal with it


Grimey Drawer

mind the walrus posted:

Aw that's a shame that's a show that actually sounds like it could be really good... mostly because I have a really hard time imagining how even the hackiest producers could engineer NuTrek-style garbage into it.

I bet you they will find a way.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

mind the walrus posted:

Aw that's a shame that's a show that actually sounds like it could be really good... mostly because I have a really hard time imagining how even the hackiest producers could engineer NuTrek-style garbage into it.

there is a lot of room to insert big flashy action sequences, so i donno about that. there are a lot of huge epic space battles in Foundation that asimov just sort of glosses over. i feel like a Foundation TV series would focus a bit more on those, and expand it a bit

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Tighclops posted:

I bet you they will find a way.

"I see... a girl... and she's the key to all of this. And she's young, and hot, and badass. She kicks dude's asses. But she feels bad sometimes. So it's complex...

Rutibex posted:

there is a lot of room to insert big flashy action sequences, so i donno about that. there are a lot of huge epic space battles in Foundation that asimov just sort of glosses over. i feel like a Foundation TV series would focus a bit more on those, and expand it a bit

My memory of the novels is super fuzzy, I read them during a time in my life where I was binging huge quantities of stuff and retaining maybe 30% at best. Isn't most of the space battle stuff always happening far off from where the central narrative is? I'm sure a dedicated hack could find a way to insert the characters into it, but my recollection was that the entire point of Foundation was about all the eggheads deep on the sidelines.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

mind the walrus posted:

"I see... a girl... and she's the key to all of this. And she's young, and hot, and badass. She kicks dude's asses. But she feels bad sometimes. So it's complex...


My memory of the novels is super fuzzy, I read them during a time in my life where I was binging huge quantities of stuff and retaining maybe 30% at best. Isn't most of the space battle stuff always happening far off from where the central narrative is? I'm sure a dedicated hack could find a way to insert the characters into it, but my recollection was that the entire point of Foundation was about all the eggheads deep on the sidelines.

I read through them last year so they are fresh in my memory. You are quite correct, almost all of the space battles are throw away lines. The main characters are never involved in any kind of big military action. But that stuff is happening, and it would be so easy to invent a character "General So&So" and cut to their adventures periodically. They will find an excuse to show us some Atomic Blasters.

The only question is how much.

The Butcher
Apr 20, 2005

and it was all going so well...


Nap Ghost

Rutibex posted:

Oh, I dont remember reading that one! I have a short story compilation to read.

Might also have been thinking about The Light of Other Days, they did the same idea. Interesting book.

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

Y'know how Verhoeven read like 5 pages of Starship Troopers, said "this is dumb lol" and then made a movie that had only the surface trappings of Starship Troopers while undermining all the right-wing shitlord opinions Heinlein had? They can make a Foundation movie that's just like a Snyder movie.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

Tulip posted:

Y'know how Verhoeven read like 5 pages of Starship Troopers, said "this is dumb lol" and then made a movie that had only the surface trappings of Starship Troopers while undermining all the right-wing shitlord opinions Heinlein had? They can make a Foundation movie that's just like a Snyder movie.

that is what I assume studio executives see when they look at the Foundation license, budget Star Wars. just focus on the space battles, make the galactic emperor a little more sinister, and turn the Second Foundation into samurai Jedis. bing bang boom, you got a Netflix original series!

Pick
Jul 19, 2009



Nap Ghost

Tulip posted:

Y'know how Verhoeven read like 5 pages of Starship Troopers, said "this is dumb lol" and then made a movie that had only the surface trappings of Starship Troopers while undermining all the right-wing shitlord opinions Heinlein had? They can make a Foundation movie that's just like a Snyder movie.

Lmao arrrrrgghhhhhh

cda
Jan 2, 2010


I think about The Mule more than almost any other fictional character. I think he captures something about the way history works that is kind of otherwise inexplicable.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



The Mule is gonna be "cool" and blatantly fascistic and we're gonna have to listen to CHUDs masturbate about it aren't we?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007






Biscuit Hider


I first encountered "The Feeling of Power" when I checked out the short story collection Nine Tomorrows from my school library. They're all hits.

Tnuctip
Sep 25, 2017



As a giant dork it always irked me that the FTL mechanics were never hinted at in the foundation series.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

Tnuctip posted:

As a giant dork it always irked me that the FTL mechanics were never hinted at in the foundation series.

it works like Battlestar Galactica

Midjack posted:

I first encountered "The Feeling of Power" when I checked out the short story collection Nine Tomorrows from my school library. They're all hits.

this is one of the few physical books that i own. i have had it since childhood. "All the Troubles of the World" feels very prescient right now, considering what we are doing with neural networks

Rutibex fucked around with this message at 00:13 on May 22, 2020

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

mind the walrus posted:

The Mule is gonna be "cool" and blatantly fascistic and we're gonna have to listen to CHUDs masturbate about it aren't we?

The comparison has been made dozens of times already, including in these very forums in an extremely funny post that I can never find.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

the mule interfering with psychohistory is half the reason i pursued a history degree. i was extremely interested in what forces shape history, and the conflict between The Mule and The Seldon Plan mirrors a big question in history (and I guess philosophy in general). Do "great men" create history? or does history create great men? did Caesar by virtue of his special quality change the fate of the roman republic or did historical forces place Caesar into a fortunate position (a position that any man could have occupied, if history lacked Caesar in particular)?

this is not an answered question obviously, though most historians i encountered don't like the idea of "great men" shaping history (mostly because they are marxists, and therefor believe in historical materialism ). i think it might hold water, that particular people actually can shape history. but there is no way to test this obviously. psychohistory can't be developed without 10,000 years of demographic and statistical data provided by the galactic library

Rutibex fucked around with this message at 20:31 on May 22, 2020

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Based purely on my layman's "bullshitting for bullshit's sake" understanding, it seems like historical materialism creates the soil in which great men can sprout who are then able to influence history and it stands to reason that one could theoretically recognize those conditions with enough processing power and guess where a Ceasar or a Mule would be more likely to rise.

The stories of great men though, they tend to have a bit of a same-ness to them don't they? That's the limiting factor, that even the best man is still just one man, and will inevitably run into issues of loyalty and logistics relative to the scale of the tools available to him and either be deposed and/or fail to ensure a proper legacy. Even their biggest changes to the course of nations and history ultimately turn into echos within a generation or two and the gears that great men set into motion eventually fall prey to other variables.

Of course The Mule himself will be presented on any show as that Liberal idea of fascistic where "hey he's making the trains run on time" until "oh no it turns out he has border camps" or some similarly milquetoast horseshit.

Schwarzwald
Jul 27, 2004

Don't Blink


IUG posted:

I'm re-reading the Foundation Trilogy (just finished Foundation) as I picked it up as a hard cover at a B&N. Anything outside the triology isn't worth reading, right?

Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth have good stuff in them, but that good stuff is the speculation of possible future Earths and future humans rather than the plot or the characters. They're maybe most comparable with Dougal Dixon's "After Man" series in that regard.

Designated male space-ship pilot navy veterin protagonist Golan Trevize is utterly unremarkable as a character, but his growing connection with the gravitic space ship is intriguing in a conceptual sense — that First Foundation is heading almost imperceptibly toward a cyborg transhumanism.

Likewise, super-psychic-kung fu monk Stor Gendibal and placid Sura Novi show that the end of Second Foundation ideology is an Eloi and Morlock human divergence, and the whole Gaia brouhaha is roughly "what if everyone had powers like the Mule (but they could still have kids)?" And Foundation and Earth picks that up by showing how societies from Asimov's other series might fair after N thousand years.

The two books are definitely hampered by the assumption that the reader would be familiar with Asimov's other work (especially Earth) but if you are then they're an fascinating look at how things might have progressed.





It's also worth stating that the ending is really darkly humorous if read in light of That Thou Art Mindful of Him.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

Schwarzwald posted:

but that good stuff is the speculation of possible future Earths and future humans rather than the plot or the characters.

Asimovs signature move

Schwarzwald
Jul 27, 2004

Don't Blink


Yeah, it's like, his name is on the front cover. You can't be too disappointed when you end up with a story that reads like he wrote it.

Prelude and Forward just suck, though.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

Schwarzwald posted:

Yeah, it's like, his name is on the front cover. You can't be too disappointed when you end up with a story that reads like he wrote it.

Prelude and Forward just suck, though.

are you telling me you are not excited to hear hari seldon reminisce about his days as a Helcion Twister? shameful

Tulip
Jun 3, 2008

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world.

I am unwilling to call a book bad if it has a fungus cult.

twistedmentat
Nov 21, 2003

What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here?

I read the first few Foundation books and Caves of Steel and whatever its follow is called in Jr High and Highschool, and I'd love to read them again but I remember the hardest part about them is the language used, it feels very mid 20th century. Always something I find hard to get through when reading older sci-fi.

Rutibex
Sep 9, 2001

Forums Rutabaga

twistedmentat posted:

I read the first few Foundation books and Caves of Steel and whatever its follow is called in Jr High and Highschool, and I'd love to read them again but I remember the hardest part about them is the language used, it feels very mid 20th century. Always something I find hard to get through when reading older sci-fi.

The foundation series is kind of jarring this way as the beginning and end were written in the late 80s but the middle books were written in the 50s

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twistedmentat
Nov 21, 2003

What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here?

Rutibex posted:

The foundation series is kind of jarring this way as the beginning and end were written in the late 80s but the middle books were written in the 50s

Yea, I am pretty sure I remember a character calling one Partner at one point.

I am hoping there is a nice collection omnibus when the series comes out.

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