Friday, 13 September 2013
The "Foundation's Friends" that are new contributions to Asimov's future history cover three periods:
US Robots (2 stories);
Elijah Bailey (1);
Empire and Foundations (3).
Anderson's "Plato's Cave" is one of the US Robots items.
"'...we are like prisoners chained in a cave who cannot see the outside, yust the shadows of t'ings that are cast on the wall. From this they must try to guess what the reality is.'" (p. 268)
- explains one of Anderson's characters, Captain Borup, in his Danish accent. Borup says that the metaphorical shadows are unreliable images only because the senses are often wrong, not because the Ideas are, in Plato's view, beyond the sensory realm. But, in any case, Borup cites Plato's cave only to make a comparison with the robotic conundrum encountered by Powell and Donovan.
As often in Anderson's puzzle stories, there is a moment when one of the characters has suddenly realized the answer but does not tell us what it is yet:
"He broke off. Donovan had smacked fist into palm. Powell drew a whistling breath." (p. 272)
- and thereafter the problem is solved.