Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Epic Narrative about the decline and fall of one galaxy-spanning empire, and the rise of the next one. It's loosely based on Edward Gibbon's The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire IN SPACE. Originally a series of short fiction tales, Dr Asimov also developed Novel-length continuations. Both he and his estate have authorized other creators to expand the series with additional stories and to adapt this work into other mediums.
Because of Dr Asimov's tendency towards Beige Prose and focus on social conflicts instead of action conflicts, adapting these works into a visual medium has proven difficult. A live-action adaptation had been in the works (by one company or another) for over ten years before finally coming to the silver screen (or whatever precious metal streaming services are) in 2021.
Mediums of Foundation:<!—index—>
- Foundation Series — The original Literature works by Dr Asimov and friends.
- The Foundation Trilogy — Radio Dramatization by BBC Radio.
- Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi — Manga by Side Ranch.
- William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Read Four Science Fiction Classics — Audiobook adaptation read by William Shatner.
- Foundation (2021) — Live-Action TV adaption for the Apple TV+ streaming service (2021). On June 22nd 2020, a teaser trailer came out.
The multimedia franchise Foundation provides examples of:
- Absent Aliens: Humanity is the only sentient species in the galaxy, unless you count robots, Gaians, or the transhuman Solarians. It's explicit (in The Second Foundation Trilogy) that every other sentient species in the galaxy had been killed off before they encountered humans. It's implied (in Foundation's Edge) that the current timeline was selected because the galaxy is absent of sapient alien species. These two facts are not exactly contradictions, because timeline manipulation would allow for a reality where aliens had been killed off before humans encountered them. However, the galaxy is not the universe. Also, it's a Plot Point during the climax of Foundation and Earth that Absent Aliens only applies to the Milky Way, and just because there aren't any aliens in this galaxy, it doesn't mean that aliens don't exist in other galaxies.
- Alternative Calendar:
- While the empire that based its capital on Trantor is ascendant, the calendar used across the galaxy is the Galactic Era. Year 1 of the Galactic Era begins around 12,000 years before any of the Foundation stories, and thousands of years in our future.
- While the empire that based its capital on Terminus is ascendant, they name their calendar Foundation Era. Year 1 of the Foundation Era begins when they establish the Encyclopedia Foundation on Terminus in 12,069 GE.
- Artificial Gravity: Technology based on the principles of gravity first appear in "The Psychohistorians", with an elevator functioning based on gravitic repulsion. Future engineers don't seem to develop it much further until five hundred years later, in Foundation's Edge, where anti-gravity is worked into the basis for a Reactionless Drive.
- Asimov's Three Kinds of Science Fiction: Played With. Fictional Field of Science Psychohistory is created to prevent the Galactic Empire's fall. Unfortunately, it's already beyond salvation. Barring a brief encounter while The Chessmaster Hari Seldon is still alive, the specifics of Psychohistory are not elaborated upon until the very end of the saga. Meanwhile, the plot revolves around the Foundation which is created by Seldon as the seed for a new, more solid Galactic Empire, and how it's manipulated from the shadows by Seldon's pupils to ensure it succeeds. So, the focus is largely on social conflicts but not ones that are caused by the "invention". Instead, Psychohistory is used to solve said problems, even if it has to provoke some of them to ensure the survival of the Foundation.
- Audio Adaptation:
- Random House made an audiobook adaptation of the Foundation series in 2010, with Scott Brick as narrator.
- The Foundation Trilogy: This is an adaptation of The Foundation Trilogy by The BBC Radiophonic Workshop for Radio with a full cast for the characters, sound effects, and with stereophonic radio (one of the BBC's first ever).
- William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Read Four Science Fiction Classics: William Shatner reads abridged versions of "The Psychohistorians" and "Mimsy Were the Borogoves", and Leonard Nimoy reads abridged versions of The Martian Chronicles and "The Green Hills of Earth".
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi: The Asimov estate authorized a small Japanese manga company (Side Ranch) to produce this manga-style adaptation to the Foundation series.
- The Future: This series takes place in a galactic civilization so old that concepts like the laws of thermodynamics are considered to be "prehistoric" in origin. The origin of the human species is unknown; characters speculate on which part of the galaxy the oldest settlements are in, and some scientists propose that humans evolved independently on thousands of different worlds. Earth does eventually turn out to be the home of the human race, but this never becomes common knowledge. The first book takes place about 25,000 years from now.
- Galactic Superpower: Dr Asimov's franchise begins in a Milky Way with millions of inhabited planets. These planets are all ruled by Trantor, the inhabited planet closest to the galactic core. As the government's ability to function declines, a new colony is built on Terminus, a planet at the outermost edge of the galaxy. Hari Seldon plans for this world to become the nucleus of a Second Galactic Empire, rising to conquer the entire galaxy within 1,000 years. The series only covers a few centuries before a Galactic Conqueror with unforeseen abilities disrupts Seldon's Plan.
- A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: This series is set so far into The Future that the Milky Way Galaxy has been fully colonized, but Earth has been lost to human knowledge, leading to a setting where at least two subspecies of humanity have developed. Later in the series, the protagonists embark on a search to find the origin planet of humanity, and eventually succeed.
- Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi: The original works constantly use an omniscient third-person narration to establish character thoughts and body language, but this adaptation greatly restricts its use (not counting the Encyclopedia Galactica entry at the start of each storyarc). When there is narration, the text is rendered in a rectangular box.
- The Foundation Trilogy: The Encyclopedia Galactica is read by a narrator with a teletype machine in the background and in a monotone voice artificially adjusted to sound more computery. The original work's third-person narration is removed, leaving characters to comment on each other's actions.
- What Other Galaxies?: Enforced. The stories originally handle the difference between the Milky Way galaxy and the universe (including multiple galaxies) correctly, but Taglines and back cover blurbs from Panther and Avon conflate the two as if they were synonymous. However, it must be noted that the Milky Way is the only galaxy in terms of plot throughout the whole saga. It's lampshaded in Foundation and Earth that humankind has the narcissistic tendency to believe its home galaxy is the only important bit of the universe.