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Old 10-18-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
BeccaPrice
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Paul Krugman's introduction to the Foundation Trilogy

seems to me there was a discussion here a bit ago of the merits/demerits of Asimov's writing and of the Foundation Trilogy in particular.

You might enjoy Paul Krugman's introduction to a new edition of the trilogy.

Like Krugman, after I read the trilogy, I wanted to be Hari Seldon when I grew up. I didn't achieve that, didn't come as close as Krugman (and even he didn't come close), but a lot of my studies in college were shaped by the question of what does it mean to be human.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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Great link.
Thanks.

I do think his gripe about the Time Vault is off.
Given that the Foundationers never knew when the Vault was to give them a Seldon Sermon it would have been trivial for the Second Foundationers to adjust the activation of the next message at the right time. And Asimov did say the Plan was under constant refinement with occasional nudges to keep it on track.
With the Second Foundation around, Seldon was assured to be a perfect prophet.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:07 PM   #3
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He is also off on the population density of Trantor. He refers to 40 billion people covering 75 million square miles, and complains that it is less than the population density of New Jersey. He would be correct if people lived in buildings like in New Jersey. But Asimov goes to pains throughout the various novels to describe the people live vertically below the surface, so the population density needs to take into account the volume, not just area.

Last edited by hbtaylor; 10-19-2012 at 06:07 PM. Reason: correcting a typo
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by hbtaylor View Post
He is also off on the population density of Trantor. He refers to 40 billion people covering 75 million square miles, and complains that it is less than the population density of New Jersey. He would be correct if people lived in buildings like in New Jersey. But Asimov goes to pains throughout the various novels to describe the people live vertically below the surface, so the population density needs to take into account the volume, not just area.
Asimov said how big Trantor was or how much dry land surface it had in the habitable zone.
But Krugman's point is in fact valid: Asimov had scaling troubles with population density. In CAVES OF STEEL the total population of Earth in the City culture is off by an order of magnitude, give or take a Green Revolution or three.

Last edited by fjtorres; 10-20-2012 at 07:50 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:38 AM   #5
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Which goes to show that story is more important than science.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:53 AM   #6
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Which goes to show that story is more important than science.
Or at least equal: the genre is called science Fiction for a reason.
It may be the literature of ideas but the narrative that delivers those ideas is just as important as the message.
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