Friday, 13 September 2013

Other Series

Recently for this blog, I:

reread Poul Anderson's contributions to the Medea and berserker series;
discovered that Anderson's For Love And Glory was based on his two contributions to the "Isaac's Universe" series;
was surprised to learn that his Cappen Varra stories crossover with Thieves' World.

Now I notice that his contribution to Isaac Asimov's Robots series is called "Plato's Cave" (Martin H Greenberg, Editor, Foundation's Friends, London, 1991) and therefore should be of interest to a Philosophy graduate. I will shortly reread it, having previously read it just once on purchasing Foundation's Friend when that was newly published.

As far as I remember, this story was a fully consistent addition to the series, featuring the United States Robots and Mechanical Men trouble shooters, Donovan and Powell, while referring to the robopsychologist, Susan Calvin, and the politician, Stephen Byerley.

I, Robot is perhaps Asimov's best work, beginning with experimental robots and culminating in a Stapledonian apotheosis when giant robotic Brains control the global ecology and economy for the human good. They apply what later came to be called the Zeroth (pre-First) Law of Robotics, preventing harm not to individual human beings but to humanity. Asimov surpassed himself in the sequel, "That Thou Art Mindful of Him," when the Brains, having judged that self-determination is the greatest human good, have phased themselves out but there is now a threat from another robot model called the Georges.

Foundation's Friends comprises:

one contribution each to the Black Widowers, Wendell Urth and thiotimoline series;
one sequel each to "Nightfall" and "The Dead Past";
two stories about Asimov, in the future and in an alternative present;
four non-future history Robot stories;
six contributions, totaling 241 pages, to Asimov's Robots and Empire future history, including "Plato's Cave."

I think that this future history was later diluted by too many new Hari Seldon novels by other authors but the idea of expanding Asimov's future history was new when Foundation's Friends was originally published in 1989.

No comments: