Six Most Interesting Questions about Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series

Foundation

Q #1: What do people think of the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov?

A: I can’t speak for other people, but I think it’s great. It’s a sci-fi series, probably primarily meant for adults, but can be read by advanced readers in high school also imho. One of the things Asimov does really well is to create a compelling story on an epic timescale. The first book alone spans multiple generations.

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Q #2: Are there overlaps between the western roman empire’s decline and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation?

A: YES. And it’s in all-caps because I think that is the parallel for this whole thing. The roman empire, like the empire in Foundation, is far-reaching, encompassing almost all of Europe. It breaks up in pieces, similar to how the empire breaks up in Foundation. And after the break-up, there comes a dark ages, similar to the medieval times in Europe. The main difference is that the empire in Foundation is the roman empire on a massive scale. This is highlighted by the fact that The Foundation will enable the empire to recover in a thousand years, but without it the empire could take 30,000 years to recover.

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Q #3: Is the story of Interstellar similar to the story of the Foundation by Isaac Asimov?

A: No. I think they are completely different. Interstellar is a story about space, and about family. Foundation is a story about the entire human race, and a crumbling space empire. The only real similarity is that they can both be classified as science fiction, but there the similarities end.

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Q #4: How realistic is a predictive science of psychohistory, a la Hari Seldon in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series?

A: Just fyi, I have little to no real life experience that would inform an answer to this. However, after reading the book, and based on what I know, I would say that it’s fairly unrealistic. Hari Seldon is able to predict events with eerie accuracy, and I don’t think this would be possible. In particular, I don’t think it would be possible to pinpoint the exact years that things would happen. Obviously, it is inevitable that a grand empire will fall. Everything comes to an end eventually. So it is believable that Hari Seldon would predict that. But how could he know it will happen so soon? I think psychohistory could definitely exist right now, and in the future, to predict future events, but I don’t think it could predict nearly as much or nearly as accurately as it does in Foundation.

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Q #5: What similarities and differences does Donald Trump have with Isaac Asimov’s character The Mule from the book Foundation and Empire?

A: I would say they actually have surprising amount in common. Donald Trump’s presidency was unexpected. And he’s done a lot to alter the direction of our country. The Mule is similarly an unexpected force thrown into the mix, and he also alters the direction that the Foundation is so carefully attempting to guide humanity in. The difference between them is that the whole reason The Mule is able to do what he can do is because he has a superhuman ability to manipulate people. Donald Trump doesn’t have that ability, though it might seem like it at times with how readily people dismiss what he’s doing and support him. Donald Trump also comes from wealth, and was already a public figure before his presidency. The Mule was just an ordinary person who used his mutant abilities to rise through the ranks.

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Q #6: Without spoiling the book, what is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation about?

A: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation is about the fall of a galactic empire. It’s about the people from a single planet called The Foundation. Before the collapse of the empire, a man who predicts its fall establishes The Foundation with the goal of guiding humanity through the dark ages after the fall of the galactic empire, and to the bright new days of a second galactic empire. It spans many generations, as the whole process will take a thousand years.

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Seven Most Interesting Questions about A Wrinkle in Time

This kind of behavior quickly leads to a society that is conditioned to all do the same things, all act the same way, all think the same way, and run the same way, like a machine.

WrinkleInTime

Q #1: Is the novel A Wrinkle in Time worth reading?

A: Yes. Well, I would say yes depending on what type of books you like. A Wrinkle in Time is science fiction, and it’s a children’s book, though I think it could be enjoyed by teens also. Adults might like it as light reading, it’s a great story, though the story is more in line with what a child or teen might enjoy, in my opinion.

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Q #2: What’s your favourite line in A Wrinkle in Time?

A: This is a great question! There are lots of great lines. However, one that sticks with me is Mrs. Whatsit’s last line in the first chapter. She just says casually: “there is such a thing as a tesseract” and it completely draws you in and makes you want to read the rest of the book.

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Q #3: In A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle the protagonists encounter a city where everything runs on a schedule and is controlled by a nefarious machine if memory serves. If you read the book what was your impression?

A: This is one of the best parts in my opinion. Most obviously, it’s a warning that uniformity is the enemy of freedom. But also, that is just the surface-level meaning. Given the time this book was published, smack dab in the middle of the cold war, I think it’s likely this was an analogy for the dangers of communism. However, in present day it’s easy to see these dangers popping up in the capitalist world too. Given the connectivity of everyone, and the booming population, people have become more like a number than ever before, and big corporations are plugging them into a pipeline where everything runs on schedule and everyone is expected to act in a uniform machine-like manner. Beyond this, social media and the connectiveness of the world has made it easier than ever to quickly learn what is popular and what is not. People post on Facebook en-masse about TV shows like Game of Thrones, and then more people go to watch Game of Thrones because everyone else is posting about it, and then they post about it, and the cycle continues. It’s great for popular shows like Game of Thrones (and this isn’t a commentary on that show, it’s just a recent example of this I’ve seen) but this kind of behavior quickly leads to a society that is conditioned to all do the same things, all act the same way, all think the same way, and run the same way, like a machine.

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Q #4: What is the worst book to movie inaccuracy in A Wrinkle in Time (2018)?

A: In my opinion, the worst inaccuracy has to do with the tone of the movie. Hollywood made it all about adventure and action. There was a point in the movie when I remember Meg and Calvin running away from the It, in a sort of chase that I distinctly remember didn’t happen. They also had another scene where Meg goes riding on the backs of these giant green things that didn’t belong. Adventure and action isn’t bad, necessarily, but it wasn’t the point of the book. The book had a lot of messages about society, about culture, about family, about growing up, and these were sacrificed to make a movie that was essentially a fun romp through a wrinkle in time.

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Q #5: Is the book A Wrinkle in Time for teens (15y)?

A: Yes, I think it absolutely can be a great book for teens! It’s usually targeted at middle grade, which is ages 8-12, but I believe it could easily appeal to a teen as well.

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Q #6: Is A Wrinkle in Time considered to be a children’s book?

A: Yes. It’s great for kids ages 8 and up!

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Q #7: Is it possible to tether (teleport) just like characters from the movie A Wrinkle in Time?

A: I would say not that we know of. Of course, in A Wrinkle in Time, the three women who show Meg how to tesser are all otherwordly beings. Their knowledge surpasses our own. Even fifty or more years after the book was written, I would have to say that we don’t know enough about the universe to know whether or not tessering is possible. With our current technology, we can’t do it. However, with all of the laws of the universe we know, as far as I am aware, we can’t rule it out as possible.

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