Episode 6: “A Podcast is a Good Weapon but It Can Point Both Ways” is now available! This week, Dan starts his tenure as quiz master, Joseph learns what wasn’t covered in his Shakespeare class (way back in 1988) and as always Jon tries to keep us all on track.
We also have breaking news! So breaking that we had to add an addendum in post production! That means Monday.
And of course, we start discussing “The General,” the first section of Foundation and Empire. This one is almost like Asimov himself was replying to our discussions of the “Great Man” theory of history vs. the “Bottom Up Theory.” Join us!
The internet has since its inception been a remarkable tool for gathering and sharing information. Lately it’s been both better and worse than it used to be and one of the reasons that it’s both is Archive.org.
It’s a literal treasure trove of information. Think of it as an internet library. If you’re looking for something, especially something out of print, there’s a good chance that it’s there, scanned and ready to be checked out. Archive.org was especially gracious during the lockdown. In May 2020, when I taught Science Fiction, all the novels we covered as well as most of the short stories were available there for my students to use free of charge. It was a huge help.
So, why better and worse? Well, having access to “a literal treasure trove of information” has a bit of a downside. When I’m researching something like, for example, Asimov Trivia there are things to find that I’ve never even heard of and didn’t know I needed. Sometimes this is helpful, like when I discovered Isaac Asimov Presents: SuperQuiz (See Episode 5). Other times it’s not; I take a long and winding road that doesn’t lead anywhere. Next thing I know I’m 6 books over and barely even aware of where I started or what I was doing. That’s fun, but it’s not productive unless serendipity lends a hand. No kidding. Paragraph two got put on hold while I looked up something random.
Suffice it to say that Archive.org is, well, astounding. But “What does this have to do with Foundation?” you might be wondering. If you’re following Stars End: A Foundation Podcast or even if you’re merely looking forward to the forthcoming Apple TV+ series you might be wanting to reread the books. They’re all there for sure.
But what I’m really excited about is that Archive.org has many issues of John W. Campbell’s Astounding Science Fiction. That’s the seminal SF pulp that defined the genre. There we find the original Foundation stories 8 years before they were collected into book form. This is the DNA of the Foundation series. As the story was developing, while Asimov was figuring out how psychohistory works, we can see this universe evolve in Astounding. And as an added bonus, we can read the stories with their original artwork, enjoying them as few have been able for almost eight decades. So here are the pieces of Foundation as they appeared in Astounding Science Fiction. Not too different. With his prodigious output, Asimov was known for writing rather than rewriting but I’ll note the changes that I noticed.
Foundation isn’t actually a novel, it’s what is known as a “fix-up,” a collection of short stories linked together with a framing sequence. “The Psychohistorians” is that framing sequence and is the only part of Foundation that was original to the book. It introduces Hari Seldon and sets up the universe replacing a much shorter introduction that ran as part of the next story.
“The Encyclopedists” originally ran in the May 1942 issue of Astounding under the title “Foundation.” Other than the short introduction that was supplanted by “The Psychohistorians” it’s largely the same as the version from the book.
There are two lovely illustrations by Manuel Islp and the issue also features “Asylum” by A. E. Van Vogt and “Beyond this Horizon” by Robert Heinlein writing as Anson MacDonald.
The story continues just a month later as “The Mayors” was published under the title “Bridle and Saddle.”
John W. Campbell showed a lot of enthusiasm for this story. Taking up half of the previous issue’s coming attractions, it was the lead story for the month, it was featured on the cover and was graced with 4 (Count ’em! 4!) lovely illustrations by Charles Schneeman. You can click on any image in the gallery for a better look.
For a science fiction adventure story the art work sure shows a lot of people sitting in chairs.
The issue also includes “My Name is Legion” by Lester Del Rey, “Proof” by Hal Clement and “The Slaver” by L. Ron Hubbard who actually wrote some Science Fiction before branching out into… let’s call it other areas.
“The Traders,” the shortest section of Foundation was published as “The Wedge” in Astounding’s October 1944 issue with little or no fanfare. This story has the most significant difference between the magazine and book versions. Here the main character is named Lathan Devers rather than Limmar Ponyets as it is in Foundation. The story has three illustrations by Frank Kramer.
“The Big and the Little” appeared in the August 1944 Issue of Astounding and once again it’s very similar to “The Merchant Princes.” There’s a difference that’s noticeable immediately though, rather than opening with a quote from the Encyclopedia Galactica, it begins with a different quote that prefigures the names of the sections of Foundation.
“Three Dynasties molded the Beginning: the Encyclopedists, the Mayors, and the Traders…”
Ligurn Vier, ‘Essays on History’
We never really see the traders as a formal dynasty leading the Foundation but perhaps we can infer one; in this story, we meet the third major figure in Foundation History after Hari Seldon and Salvor Hardin the first of the Merchant Princes, Hober Mallow.
Like “Bridal and Saddle,” “The Big and the Little” is both the lead and cover story for this issue. It is illustrated with six pictures rendered by Paul Orban.
The Doctor’s alpha quadrant adventure is pure cheesy fun! Andy Dick works well as an even haughtier Emergency Medical Hologram Mark 2. It’s a joy watching them play off of each other.
Auto correct tried to give me “Andy Duck.” I’d watch that too.
I could have done without the Paris and Kim side plot. In 2021 it seems silly that something as important as the EMH program doesn’t have a backup.
I would have preferred more of the Hirogen subplot. I don’t remember anything about them and they seem interesting.
But at least we’re finally moved the big “voyage home” story forward. From now on it’s less Star Trek: Gilligan’s Island and more Doctor Who: Blink sans the Weeping Angels of course. An above average episode.
Starts strong with an atmospheric teaser that’s almost a collection of vignettes. It’s obvious that the crew is dreaming. It’s nicely disorienting, evoking the feel of a dream before they make the fact undeniable.
There are some nice moments, like some real comedy with Tuvok. Sadly, I’m most impressed that B’Elanna’s uniform has a pocket; it’s functional.
Another vision quest. Yawn. But Chakotay carrying a spear in the dreamscape is hilarious. That’s not Freudian at all.
Ultimately, a mediocre episode that I had a hard time caring about. Aliens living in dreams makes little to no sense. But lucid dreaming is a cool idea. Check out Ed: “Captain Lucidity”. It’s a much better episode. #Ed#Stuckeyville
Our latest episode, In which we wrap up Asimov’s Foundation with a discussion of “The Merchant Princes.” and get ready to start Foundation and Empire is now available. We’ll also have another Apple TV+ minute for you and another installment of Asimov Trivia! Is this true? It certainly sounds true!
(This is the point where I started tweeting the episodes.) S4E12 “Mortal Coil.”
I’m in the middle of a StarTrek Voyager rewatch and I’m up to “Mortal Coil.” As soon as I heard the word protomatter I knew someone was going to die and be brought back to life. Sure enough, Neelix gets zapped and is revived by Seven’s nanoprobes.
Of course, it had to be Neelix. The episode is now about questioning religious beliefs. They wouldn’t try that with a human character.
The most amazing thing so far is how damn dumb Chakotay is. He’s on his way to watch a holodeck recreation of the accident & he invites Neelix along without batting an eye. “Sure! Come watch yourself die! That won’t traumatize you at all!”
This got heavy-handed fast. And of course, there has to be a vision quest that inexplicably requires a piece of technology.
Neelix contemplates his new condition and the episode almost stops without any real ending. This might be okay if they circle back to it, but without a real epiphany, this is merely a return to the status quo.
It’s a pleasant enough episode but ultimately unsatisfying.
I’m not always a good Trekkie or Trekker. Whichever.
Until about 2 years ago, I hadn’t rewatched Star Trek: Deep Space 9 or Voyager since their first airings twenty-odd years ago. I’d done partial rewatches of TNG and Enterprise that petered out toward the end of the series.
Of course, rewatching wasn’t always as easy as it is now. The Next Generation attempt was actually quite an investment. I’d had some old VHS tapes that we recorded during the first run of the series but those were getting old and they weren’t exactly taped in order. But then in March of 2002, CBS started releasing TNG on DVD. The seasons cost just over $100 each, and I thought, “Here we go! I’m going to enjoy these, in order from beginning to end as the Great Bird of the Galaxy intended!” Although he probably didn’t. Long story short, this was about the time I got serious about finishing my doctorate and finding a tenure-track position somewhere. Season 7 is still wrapped in cellophane.
Fast forward to 2019; I finally started enjoying Deep Space 9 again. I’d made it into the fourth season and it was, shall we say, better than I remembered. But the 25th Anniversary of Voyager was approaching and my old friend Rick announced that he would be talking about Voyager season by season on his podcast Starbase 66. That itself sounded like fun! I’ll listen to those! Okay then, Voyager it is, I’ll get back to DS9 later.
And the rewatch has been interesting. I distinctly remember initially finding Voyager electrifying. I watched the first few episodes twice within a week of their airing and hunted for clues on the internet about what might be coming. That quickly turned into a kind of low-key malaise about the show. The characters seemed formulaic and a lot of the episodes felt like they might have sat on the shelf since TNG because they hadn’t quite been good enough to film. I mean, seriously, you’re trying to get home and that’s 70,000 light-years away! How do you keep running into the Kazon? You should have been out of their space after episode 3 or something. Think about the premise for crying out loud! This is Star Trek: Gilligan’s Island. The Mosquitos didn’t come back to the Island after they decided that the Honey Bees were a better band who would threaten their success. You encounter them ONCE because you’re STUCK ON THE ISLAND!
So the Voyager rewatch has been happening for a bit over a year. It’s been a lot of fun even with the show’s flaws. Once again, better than I remembered.
Mid-season 4, I decided to tweet about the episodes. I liked how those came out. I restricted myself to a maximum of 6 tweets and that kept the comments pithy; no weird tangents or references to Gilligan’s Island. I can’t believe that was kicking around in my brain somewhere.
Turns out that’s a pretty efficient way to “review” a teevee episode and that’s a good thing. Two years ago I started a post about Mad Magazine and it’s still gestating there in my drafts folder waiting to see the light of day. So that’s what you’ll find in this “Voyager Rewatch” column. Short efficient quasi-reviews as I work my way through the series. Basically the same as they appeared on Twitter before they’re so far back in the past that they’re hard to find. I hope you’ll join me and enjoy.
There have been two new episodes since I shared Stars End episode 2 here. Is a podcast the last refuge of the Incompetent like the title to Episode 4 claims! Find out! Time to get caught up! Please like, review and share!
Episode 3: As foretold! Mayors! Bridles! Saddles! Oddly, no actual horses! And the ultimate answer to the ultimate cliffhanger! Also show news, we react to the trailer for the Apple TV+ series and and more Asimov trivia!
Episode 4: We talk about “The Traders,” part four of Foundation. This story first appeared, with surprisingly little fanfare in the October 1944 issue of Astounding under the title “The Wedge.”
In addition we have our second Apple Plus Minute and another edition of Asimov Trivia with a new contestant and a new quiz master!
I’m a big Star Trek Fan and so, I enjoy having stuff that looks like it might be used in the show if the show were real life.
Over the holidays I was inspired to create a couple of Apple watch faces that make my watch look as if it runs on the “Library Computer Access/Retrieval System” (or LCARS). That’s the operating system used in all the Star Trek shows set in the 24th century from Next Generation to Lower Decks. I created two, which you can see here.
But here’s the thing: These are made using the Apple Watch’s Photo Face. These are static images that look like they have buttons, but the “buttons” aren’t functional. The only things that are active are the complications that are active from the Apple watch itself.
This isn’t ideal. So what’s the next best thing? How about a watch face that seems interactive? We can get closer. If we load a number of images to the Photo Face the Apple Watch will display a different one every time you raise your wrist and, if you want to pretend it’s actually interactive, you can tap the watch face and it will switch to another image. You can’t control which image you get next, but you can make-believe. Here’s a collection of images you can use.
This collection includes:
A home page with the UFP Logo, three astrometrics faces, two each of planetary conditions, tactical, and medical faces, one face that appears to scan for life signs and a face that looks as though a communications system is active.
So, if you want a watch face that looks like it might be used on a federation vessel, feel free to use the collections above!
To install, save all of the images above to your iPhone.
Select all the images you want to use from your gallery.
Scroll down and select “Create Watch Face.”
Select the “Photos” face.
Set the position of the time, “Bottom” for all of these, and choose the complications you want above and below the time.
And select “ADD.”
You should be all set. Comments and suggestions are welcome; and if you’d like a Voyager face let me know in the comments. If you use the watch face please leave a picture in the comments!