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Show vs the Books

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It's been a while since I read the books, so my memory is probably missing many details, but I figured I'd post some thoughts here that also involve things I remember from the books. I'll discuss not only the original trilogy but also later books in the Foundation series and Asimov's Robot series which was originally independent but connected to the Foundation series in Asimov's later books.

First of all, to answer a question that was posted in the episode thread. The population of the Galactic Empire was entirely human in the books. There was no other intelligent life in the galaxy. After Asimov's death other writers also wrote books set in Asimov's universe and if I remember correctly one of them mentions that an intelligent alien lifeform was discovered and exterminated in the early phase of space exploration.

Hyperspace in the books was different than the tv series if I remember correctly. As far as I remember in the books hyperspace travel was instantaneous, so travellers would not be put to sleep during hyperspace travel. There were also no spacers in the books, at least not as depicted in the show. In the Robot book series that term was used for the early space colonists who used robots to do most of their work and whose civilization eventuelly died out. Although if I remember correctly one of the books implies that a small number of spacers survived and lived in their own sector on Trantor.

In one of the later connecting books it was established that the Emperor's advisor Eto Demerzel was actually the humanoid robot R. Daneel Olivaw who was first introduced in Caves of Steel, one of the books in the Robot series. It seems that they are keeping that in the tv series (at least Eto being a robot, not sure if she'll end up being R. Daneel Olivaw).

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2 hours ago, paulvdb said:

As far as I remember in the books hyperspace travel was instantaneous, so travellers would not be put to sleep during hyperspace travel. There were also no spacers in the books, at least not as depicted in the show.

So by spacers, you mean the creatures that were putting people to sleep when they were using the jumpdrive? All robots are outlawed? That would make things way more complicated, especially as far as maintenance goes. Thanks you not giving away too many details.

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8 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

Thanks you not giving away too many details.

It's been a long time since I read the books so I don't remember too many details that I can give away.

The term spacers was used in the first episode for the creatures that were putting people to sleep. But as mentioned in my previous post, in Asimov's Robot series the term was used for the first humans to colonize other planets with the help of their robots. These spacers had developed advanced medical science that let them live 300 or 400 years. The people remaining on Earth did not have this longer lifespan. There was also strong anti-robot sentiment on Earth which led to robots being outlawed on Earth.

As mentioned in my previous post the spacers' civilization died out. Humans from Earth had started colonizing planets of their own by that time without robots. Those planets would end up becoming the Galactic Empire and would maintain their anti-robot sentiment. This was all ecplained in the later books that would connect Asimov's various book series. I don't think there was any mention of robots at all in the original Foundation trilogy. And I don't know what the showrunners plan to adapt in this series. Just the original trilogy or also elements from those later books. Eto Demerzel being a robot indicates that they adapted at least that one element from those later books.

Another important part from the later connecting books was that the humanoid robot R. Daneel Olivaw (who as I mentioned in my previous post would later become the emperor's advisor Eto Demerzel) would develop a zeroth law of robotics in addition to Asimov's well know original three laws. As you may know the first law says "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." Daneel built on that and came up with a zeroth law that said "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm." Of course it can be difficult to determine what actions could harm humanity as a whole more than it would be the case with an indivual. Psychohistory would become a tool that Daneel would use to help himself determine the best course of action under this zeroth law.

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Answering a question from the latest episode topic: how long is a year when each planet would have its own different rotation time. That would of course also apply to the length of a day. In the books Earth was lost because it had become radio-active and uninhabitable, but 24 hours and 365 days were still used for the length of the standard day and year.

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On the Original Battlestar Galactica, they had a complete set of time measuresmet: microns centons, yearhns. I assume it was thier universal standard time. 

The length of a planets's months woud also depend on the number of moons. It could get very complicated.

The use of Earth time in Science Fiction is one thing that has always bugged me.

Edited by marinw
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18 hours ago, marinw said:

The use of Earth time in Science Fiction is one thing that has always bugged me.

In alien civilizations, obviously.

But the old CGS which later became the MKS, basis of SI (International System of Units) both use earth seconds as fundamental elements. If the meaning/ duration/ value of the second were to change, so would 99% of engineering and scientific constants, formula, etc, be thrown into complete disarray.

Whether they populate the galaxy or remain stuck in the mud on planet earth, I consider it highly unlikely that humans will ever stop using meters, kilograms and seconds due to the huge disruption to science, engineering and technology which would be the immediate result.

If humans are alive a zillion years from now, even if planet earth (and it's 86,400 second sidereal day) is long gone and completely forgotten, those humans will still use seconds that consist of  9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom. (Yes, I googled that definition.)

They will use kilograms and meters too, for the same reason.


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Just now, Netfoot said:

Believe me, the scientists and engineers all use metric. 

Metric does use base ten! Weirdly, many of us Canadians still express our height in inches and weight in pounds. On the many  worlds describes in Foundation, there is proably a simelar combination of measurements being used.


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2 minutes ago, marinw said:

Weirdly, many of us Canadians still express our height in inches and weight in pounds.

On a trip to the UK four years ago, I noticed that everything had gone metric, except road markings, which were still in miles. Then I noticed something. The big, main sign in the middle of the motorway may have read "Liverpool 28 Mi" but there were smaller, far less obvious signs at the side of the road, presumably for road maintenance crews, that read "Liverpool 45.1". So, make of that what you will.

We did a lot of driving; 6,300+ Km worth. And once I'd noticed the little signs, I began seeing them everywhere we went. No, not on country lanes and single-lane roads (with passing-places) but on all the major roads for sure.

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Robots (Is that an offensive term now?) were a HUGE part of Asimov's œuvre. His later novels even tied his Robot novels and Foundation novels together. So far, the only robot/andoid we have seen (that we know about)  is Demerzel. I am not a huge Star Wars fan, but I do like how the Star Wars universe intergrates  driods completely into society.

I would imagine that Empire of Foundation would have a whole underclass of Robots/Androids to do a lot of the work for them. Because Robot Workers NEVER rise up agianst thier opressors.🙃

Edited by marinw
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