Tuesday, 10 June 2014

For Your Listening Pleasure - Foundation!

When I was in about the 8th grade I came down with one of my many yearly bouts with bronchitis and was confined to my bed in a steam tent and bored out of my mind. I begged my mother to get me something to read and she finally went to Stock's restaurant where she grabbed a science fiction book from the pocket book rack and brought it home to me. I wasn't terribly happy. I wasn't a science fiction fan and hadn't read anything in that genre since I was in the 1st grade. There was nothing else, however, so I started to read it and by evening I had finished it. It was tremendously good. It was also the first book in a series.

When father got home from work I begged him to go down to stocks and see if they had the second one in that series. He came back with all five that completed that series and over the next few days I raced through them all reading every moment I wasn't sleeping, napping, or engaged in a struggle for air.

The series was E.E. "Doc" (Edward Elmer) Smith's Lensman series and it was as fine a science fiction series as has ever been written but you need not take my word for that. I'll explain in a minute.

Reading that series launched me into years of reading the Sci Fi masters: Smith, Ellison, Niven, Clark, Heinlein, Herbert, Anderson, Asimov.

As good, even as great, as the books by these authors were nothing touched the reading experience of reading The Lensman series ... until I discovered Asimov's Foundation Trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.

Asimov later expanded this into a seven volume series, one more book than Smith's series.

The Foundation Trilogy was the greatest science fiction I ever read and apparently I am not alone in that assessment. The Lensman series came in second to Foundation which won the Hugo Award for the Best All Time Science Fiction story.

The series is still available to purchase and it is available as an audiobook. But if you would like to get through it quickly and be thoroughly entertained read on, McDuff.

One of my hobbies is collecting Old Time Radio from the 30s, 40's and 50s. I have over 30,000 episodes from hundreds of series.

I also collect "New Time Radio."

BBC Radio is still producing radio shows, usually serializations of books. The BBC has the finest sound studio in the world for producing radio and it dramatizations are the best the world has to offer.

Several years ago now they serialized the original three volume Foundation Series and it is now, apparently, the the public domain.

"The Foundation Trilogy consists of:

1. Foundations
2. Foundation and Empire
3. Second Foundation

The Foundation Trilogy is an epic science fiction series written over a span of forty-four years by Isaac Asimov. It consists of seven volumes that are closely linked to each other, although they can be read separately. The series is highly acclaimed, winning the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966.

The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept devised by Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone for anything smaller than a planet or an empire. It works on the principle that the behavior of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy). The larger the mass, the more predictable is the future. Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. To shorten the period of barbarism, he creates two Foundations, small, secluded havens of art, science, and other advanced knowledge, on opposite ends of the galaxy

The focus of the trilogy is on the Foundation of the planet Terminus. The people living there are working on an all-encompassing Encyclopedia, and are unaware of Seldon's real intentions (for if they were, the variables would become too uncontrolled). The Encyclopedia serves to preserve knowledge of the physical sciences after the collapse. The Foundation's location is chosen so that it acts as the focal point for the next empire in another thousand years (rather than the projected thirty thousand). "

For your listening pleasure I present, Foundation.

(Please note: The first show in this series shows as being over 7 hours. It is not. That is the running time for the entire series. This episode is about an hour.)

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