Feb 142017

There is a 5 episode series based on Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot available to stream for free via BBC Radio’s iPlayer. I’ve only listened to the first episode “Robbie” and enjoyed it. The overall story is the same, but delivered in a slightly different way. I think it’s worth it to check out at least the first episode to see if you like it. I figured I’d post here right away when I saw it as the availability is time limited. The Omnibus has a bit longer shelf life than the oldest episode. I may go back and compare this version to the Audible version to see which I like better. If you’re into special effects, be sure to check out this one before it is too late.

Omnibus link: Expires March 14th – 1hr 10 min

Individual Episodes 1-5 link: ~15 minute episodes, begin to expire on March 8th.

 

via The Guardian

Posted by Stettin
Jan 232008

R. Daneel Olivaw is my favorite character from the Robot and Foundation Universe created by Isaac Asimov. The R stands for “Robot,” but he became much more than that over the course of the Robot and Foundation series. Hari Seldon from the Foundation Novels ranks a close second, but my heart goes to Daneel and the Three Laws of Robotics. I’m amazed at how many twists can be made based on three relatively simple rules of behavior. Daneel starts as one of the first humaniform robots, but eventually evolves into much more complex being.

The following discussion is filled with spoilers for the entire Robot and Foundation series, so read it with that in mind. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Oct 042007

Foundation and Earth Book Cover

Background:
This is the final novel in the Foundation Universe chronologically speaking. There are a couple short stories completed by other authors, but Foundation and Earth describes (in 494 pages) where Asimov saw his epic saga moving toward. It is a shame that he couldn’t have lived longer to continue on writing. For those that don’t know, Isaac Asimov contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during a heart operation in 1983. It later developed into AIDS, causing heart and kidney failure which led to his death in 1992. For more information on his life and death, visit Asimov Online. I wish I could remember the source, but I know I read that Asimov was not sure exactly how he would continue the series when a fan suggested he go back and write some prequels. Before his death he did fill in some gaps with the Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation.

Review:
Almost no time has passed since Golan Trevize made his decision in favor of Galaxia over a Second Galactic Empire controlled by either the First or Second Foundation. Trevize is still on Gaia along with Janov Pelorat and Bliss. Golan intends to find Earth so that he can find out why he chose felt that Galaxia was best for not only mankind, but for every living thing in the Galaxy. He will not rest until he finds Earth. Bliss insists on going on his search to act as protection through her role as part of Gaia, and Janov has his own research on Earth that he wishes to complete.

The one thing that Asimov succeeds accomplishing in this novel, as he does with the others books in this series, is creating and describing different cultures. These cultures vary from the extremes of conservatism to tribal utopias. Each new world has its own customs, mythology, and history which is described through the interactions between the protagonists and the natives encountered throughout their complex journey. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Sep 052007

Foundation's Edge book cover

In the order of publishing, Foundation’s Edge represents a return by Asimov to the Foundation novels dating back to 1950. This was the novel in which he officially linked the Robot Novels, Empire Novels, and Foundation Novels together into one universe. I believe it was this choice that helped him to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983. I liked Foundation’s Edge, but I prefer Foundation and Empire’s “The Mule” or Second Foundation’s “Search by the Foundation” to this book. Actually, while researching the Hugo Award for this novel I found out that according to Wikipedia, The Mule (1946) [part 2 of Foundation and Empire] received one of only three “Retro Hugo” awards.

As with most of the other Foundation novels, Foundation’s Edge follows the events of the Foundation (oddly not usually referred to as the First Foundation) and the Second Foundation. The Foundation plot line follows Golan Trevize, a councilman on Terminus, the capital of the Foundation Federation. A Seldon crisis has just passed involving a dispute over whether or not to move the capital of the Foundation Federation to a world closer to the center of the galaxy. Seldon appeared in the time vault and described what had taken place with eerie accuracy. How could Seldon have predicted with such accuracy almost 500 years into the future especially when The Mule had wreaked such havoc to the Plan? Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Aug 222007

Second Foundation book cover

Second Foundation is broken up into two stories, just like Foundation and Empire. The first story, Search by the Mule, takes up only about 1/3 of the book. It takes place 5 years after the events of Foundation and Empire. The second story, Search by the Foundation, takes place about 60 years later. The second story is significantly better than the first. When comparing the two, Search by the Mule seems rushed and not very interesting, while Search by the Foundation is more developed, especially when it comes to characters, plot, and action. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Aug 152007

Foundation and Empire book cover

Foundation and Empire is broken up into two longer stories, rather than five shorter ones that appeared in Foundation. The first story, The General, begins almost 200 years after the Foundation was established on Terminus. The second story, The Mule, takes place just over 300 years into the Foundation Era. I think I liked this book more because the stories were longer and the character development was a bit deeper. Also, it seemed that the action picked up noticeably compared to the last book. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Aug 052007

Foundation book cover

It is hard to write a review about one of the most famous science fiction novels of all time, but I will try to do it justice. Asimov originally started the Foundation saga as a series of short stories for Astounding Magazine back in the 1940s. For the novelisation Asimov added the section “The Psychohistorians” to precede the original 4 stories that were published in the magazine. For those reading along with me in chronological order, most of this first story is covered in Foundation and Chaos. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jul 302007

Foundation's Triumph book cover

David Brin does a good job of unifying the Robot and Foundation novels by explaining many of the contradictions which come up if we assume every book written so far is to be viewed as in the same universe. One of the nagging questions which bothered me while reading the series is, “How did 25 million worlds get settled in just 20,000 or so years?” Brin explains this and many other things throughout the novel. At some points it seemed that he was reaching very hard to explain every single little detail linking the other novels together. Overall the book was enjoyable, but I think that the last one was significantly better. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jul 162007

Foundation and Chaos book cover

For those that read my previous review on Foundation’s Fear, you will be pleased to find that Greg Bear manages to save this series with his masterful work in Foundation and Chaos. If there were ever two books on the same subject that could be so different as to compare night and day, the first two parts of the Second Foundation Trilogy are it. While the first volume kept putting me to sleep with rambling on about simulated minds and aliens, Foundation and Chaos goes back to the roots more in line with the universe Asimov made me fall in love with. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Jul 102007

Foundation's Fear book cover

The Second Foundation Trilogy is a venture initiated by Asimov’s Estate. Gregory Benford was approached to work on the project, and eventually Greg Bear and David Brin finished the series. I remember from my previous experience with Foundation’s Fear back in 2000 or so that I didn’t like it. I made a point of keeping track of details that bugged me throughout the novel so that I could provide some constructive criticism. I tried to do my best to keep an open mind, but it wasn’t long before I remembered why I didn’t like this novel. There will be minor spoilers, but hopefully they will help you save some time reading this 597 page (paperback) monster. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin

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