“Softly Beaming, A Steady Light of Hope… the Stars End Podcast.”
Are you troubled by premonitions of unsavory equations or non-standard beverages?
Do you experience feelings of dread from your grandfather’s office furniture?
Have you or anyone in your family experienced prestidigitation, clairvoyance, astral projection, or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia?
If the answer is yes, don’t wait another minute! The Second Foundation is for YOU!
Our courteous and efficient staff is on call 24 hours a day to serve all your psychohistorical prediction needs!
In this episode, we come to the end of Forward the Foundation with the story of Wanda Seldon where we finally see the inception of the Second Foundation as Hari discovers Wanda’s abilities and Wanda first becomes an important part of the Seldon Project before striking off with Stettin Palver to form the nucleus of the Second Foundation. Meanwhile, we hit the bittersweet part of any biography. Hari’s life winds down as he says goodbye to everyone he’s ever loved and is left only with psychohistory before we finally say goodbye to Hari himself.
And, in case you don’t recognize the reference above…
“No one outside the podcast has the faintest knowledge of how psychohistory works and not everyone inside does either.”
If you’re read our one piece of fan fiction, “Dors,” by our very own Jon Blumenfeld, you’ve read an origin story of sorts for Dors Venábili. If you like this character like so many others you should check it out; it’s excellent.
In this episode, we finally get to the chapter of Forward the Foundation featuring… well no, they all feature Hari but this one’s named after Dors. It was called “The Consort” when it ran in Asimov’s Science Fiction in April of 1993 and to be honest, Dors plays a larger role in this story than the so-called “featured” characters in the other eponymous chapters. If you hadn’t noticed the book has a bit of a pattern. In each section, Hari says farewell to his friends and loved ones as his life winds down in ten-year increments. In this story, Hari and we get to say goodbye to Dors, nicely bookending with Jon’s story.
Our guest this week is one of Joseph’s oldest friends, Rick Tetrault. Rick is the host of the Starbase 66 Podcast from the Infinite Potato Alliance and also qualifies as an “old friend” of Stars End. Rick gave us a great deal of sage advice when we were just figuring out how to do a podcast. You might recall that Starbase 66 was the site of our first collective guest appearance back in December. You’re more than invited to check that out here: Starbase 66: Foundationally Speaking.
But first, without further ado: Episode 11!
Featured Image: Interior artwork from Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, April 1993.
“We Must Keep the Podcast Stable If For No Other Reason Than That We’re Here”
Well, here we are again with another installment on Asimov’s swansong, Forward the Foundation.
You might recall that Forward was written as a series of Novellas the first three of which appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. The installment we’re discussing this time is “Cleon I” which originally appeared in the magazine’s 15th-anniversary issue in April 1992 as “Cleon the Emperor.” Much like the previous story, it isn’t very much about the titular character but it’s a lot about Hari Seldon. This one is set during his tenure as Cleon’s First Minister.
But the cover, by Gary Friedman, is pretty great; it’s Asimov himself alongside a woman who is almost certainly Dors Venabali. I can’t say it’s Dors for sure, but I can state with absolute certainty that character is neither from Mycogen nor Dahl.
Inside the issue, there’s an extensive editorial about the Foundation series and its history and it answers, in part, one of the questions we posed on the podcast. We’d wondered why Asimov decided to write Forward as a series of novellas and evidently, the genesis of the idea came from Jennifer Brehl, who Asimov calls “my brilliant and lovely editor.” He continues.
Jennifer thought it might be a good idea if I wrote a Foundation book in which the characters were new from one section to another.
I thought the matter through and decided that I would write a Foundation book (called Forward the Foundation) in which Hari Seldon gradually grew older. I would tell it in five installments and in each installment, Hari was ten years older.
It turns bittersweet as we get some bits of the story we’ve heard before.
I began work on it but then toward the end of 1989 disaster struck. I came down with congestive heart failure produced by mitral valve insufficiency. I was very sick and I was hospitalized for months. Actually, I was convinced I was going to die — but I didn’t.
And a bit later…
But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). I’m tired. I’m just plain tired. I sleep a great deal and I drag around even when I’m not asleep…
And the worst trouble is that I can’t write very much. This is especially true of the new Foundation book. I wrote the first installment (in fact, it was published last November in this magazine) and the second and third parts are finished as well. The fourth part is almost finished but it’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve been able to work on it. Nor do I know when I’ll be able to get to it. Every time I try, I find I am too tired to work at it.
Whether I will improve with time, I can’t say. Certainly, there seems no sign of it at the moment.
Believe me, I am sorry about this; more so than you can possibly be.
Coincidently, although the issue would have been printed weeks before, April 1992 is the very month that Asimov journeyed beyond this mortal coil.
“I Suspect You Will Find That No Podcast Is Ever Truly Crucial”
Have you been with us for a while? If you have you might remember some jokes back in the long, long ago about the longevity of our podcast. We were pretty stoked (is that what the kids say nowadays?) back in Season 1 Episode 8 when we surpassed the Manimal Threshold for example.
Well, on 26 April 2021 our first episode was squirted out into the aether so we have another milestone to celebrate; we’ve officially been a podcast for over a year.
Thirty-two episodes in and we’re starting to talk about our fifth book, Forward the Foundation by the Great and Glorious Az.
It’s a departure in that it started life as a series of novellas like the original trilogy; three of those appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine starting in November 1991. The book and the stories within are somewhat bittersweet; we touch on that a bit in the podcast and we’ll get back to that here as soon as we’re able.
And we have a special guest in this episode, who you may know as @stratotron from that bluebird site! They are a perfect person to join us in a discussion of a chapter entitled “Eto Demerzel.” Join us and welcome the delightful Daneel Adrian Cayce to the conversation, Asimov Enthusiast, Trekkie, Twitterer, chiptune creator, and namesake of the quintessential character in the entire Asimov canon! It’s going to be good!
And thanks to everyone who’s stuck with us for an entire trip around the sun! Never fear, there’s no getting rid of us now!