Jonathan Nolan adapting Asimov's FOUNDATION for HBO

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Science-Fiction is in the midst of a resurgence with numerous adaptions being announced for the small screen lately. While Syfy is leading the charge, TheWrap are reporting that premium cable channel HBO, home of the incredibly popular fantasy series Game of Thrones and little censorship, is partnering with Warner Bros TV to bring one of the great classics to life: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Not only that, but they’re bringing in one of the heavy hitters to write and produce the series, Person of Interest show runner and fresh off Interstellar (which we reviewed here and don’t forget to tell us what you think), Jonathan Nolan.

Nolan is a big fan of the series as he stated in no uncertain terms during a recent interview with Indiewire:

“Well, I f***ing love the ‘Foundation’ novels by Isaac Asimov. They’re certainly not [unknown], but that’s a set of books I think everyone would benefit from reading. That’s a set of books where the influence they have is just f***ing massive. They have many imitators and many have been inspired by them, but go back and read those, and there are some ideas in those that’ll set your f***ing hair on fire.”

As per Wikipedia, because I’m lazy I work smart, and shop S-Mart, the premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30 thousand years before a second great empire arises. Seldon also foresees an alternative where the interregnum will last only one thousand years. To ensure the more favorable outcome, Seldon creates a foundation of talented artisans and engineers at the extreme end of the galaxy, to preserve and expand on humanity’s collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for a new galactic empire.

Portrait Of Isaac Asimov

The series initially began as eight short stories published in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950. The first four stories were later combined into the first novel, Foundation, in 1951, with the remainder being split between Foundation and Empire in 1952 and Second Foundation in 1953. This initial trilogy received a once-off Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966. In the 1980’s Asimov revisited the Foundation universe with a further two sequels, Foundation’s Edge in 1982 and Foundation and Earth in 1986, as well as two prequels, Prelude to Foundation in 1988 and Forward the Foundation in 1993. The latter was published after Asimov’s death in 1992. These later novels also include references to his Galactic Empire and Robot (anyone remember the Three Laws of Robotics?) series, indicating they all belonged in a single shared universe.

The Foundation series is regarded as one of the greatest science fiction series of all time. If HBO can bring the same kind of production values to this as they do to Game of Thrones, we could all be in for something amazing. Now, who’s going to make my life complete and remake Dune?

Last Updated: November 11, 2014

Trevor Davies

I like pie, I think.

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