Introducing this episode puts me in mind of Tom Lehrer's Alma, which was inspired by, as he puts it, "the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary it has ever been my pleasure to read." The amount of prime humor that one mathematician can fit into a three-and-a-half-minute sound clip is impressive.
Hari Seldon, our protagonal mathematician, isn't nearly so funny. In fact, he seems to take himself quite seriously. But he does get to participate in the juiciest, spiciest, raciest scene in the entire Asimov canon. And that includes the non-fiction.
That scene is also startlingly strange. We'll talk about it. Then we'll move on to other grandiose notions like the nature of religion, governmental ethics, and Pascal's Wager. Also, there is a robot!
Join us as we follow Hari and Dors through the remainder of their sojourn in Mycogen. You'll be glad you did!
After our break, we're back to reading Prelude to Foundation and things are starting to get weird. Dors and Hari finally journey to Mycogen as we embark on a Voyage to the Space Amish, with apologies to A. E. Van Vogt.
This one has it all! Dors and Chetter deconstructing Hari's trip to Upperside ad nauseam! Bad bald caps (Boy, does Issac like the word "pate!")! Rigidly defined gender roles! Lots of complaining! Dors and Hari don't understand their room! More complaining! And Hari drags some poor guy out of bed in the middle of the night to make him a sandwich! Let's just say he's not the ideal guest. Also with some more apologies, this time to Rod Serling, there's an iPad... and IT'S A COOKBOOK!
AND our first Apple TV+ minute in some time! Buckle up! This one will be fun!
I think I need to listen to "Flowers in the Dirt" again. That's the 1989 Paul McCartney album where Sir Paul collaborated with Elvis Costello. I was hoping that Elvis might bring some of the sharper edges that John Lennon brought the Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo. No such luck as I recall but maybe 32 years farther on I'll hear something new.
What brought that up? Well with Hari on the mend from his excursion to Upperside we've decided to take a quick break from Prelude to Foundation before we begin our excursion to Mycogen.
We're joined this time by Paul Levinson; Fordham University Professor, author, singer-songwriter, podcaster, all-around renaissance human. Lots of that springs from his philosophy, "If I enjoy something, I try to do it," he says. We chat about robots, the Foundation, robots, Asimov, robots, artificial intelligence, robots, and lots of other things. Also robots.
Oh, and that Flowers in the Dirt thing? That was mentioned in Paul's new short story, "It's Real Life," an alternate history involving the Beatles. You can read that for free here.
But first, our latest Episode: "Your Podcast is Obscure but I Think I Understand." Let's go!
Our second conversation about Prelude to Foundation, in which we discuss "Library," "Upperside," and "Rescue."
It was 1-degree Fahrenheit when we recorded this episode. That's -17 Celcius to the rest of the world. I personally prepared for this episode by running around outside dressed as though I still lived in Florida or on Helicon, maybe. Then I rearranged all my bookshelves and wondered if I could create a model that would predict the future of the Marvel Universe.
In these chapters, Hari gets settled in at Streeling University and begins working on Psychohistory in earnest. We also meet Dors Venabili who knows her way around a history library and is a quick study at Tennis. And Hari goes for a stroll to get some fresh air; that's easier said than done on Trantor.
Also Trees! And our first M*A*S*H reference! Don't miss it!
In the criminal justice system, the podcast is represented by two separate, but equally important kinds of seasons. The odd-numbered seasons, which directly discuss Asimov's Foundation and the even-numbered seasons that talk about the Apple TV+ series.
So now we start the interregnum between seasons 1 and 2 of Apple TV's Foundation. That's our cue to start Stars End season 3. That's as many seasons as Gilligan's Island or the original Star Trek but far fewer than Law & Order. We're shooting for the latter.
We have a plan and if you follow our plan and listen to our podcast it will seem like far less than 30,000 years until we start to get new episodes of the teevee show.
So in this episode, we start discussing Prelude to Foundation in which we meet Eto Demerzel and begin Hari Seldon's long journey to create Psychohistory. If you're reading along this time we talk about the first three sections, "Mathematician," "Flight," and "Library." But whether you're reading along or not, let's go! This will be fun!
It's the final episode of Season 2 where we wrap up our discussion of Season 1 of Foundation with the First Annual Stars End Hari Awards! Frankly, a lot of it is the three of us gushing about how good the episodes and the performances were.
But more importantly, you get to find out who won! Best Performance! Favorite Episode! Favorite Podcast Guest! All the important Stuff. Not included: unimportant things like "Least Inspirational Quote," which must be "All love is programming."
We couldn't have done it without you! Our thanks go out to everyone who supported us by voting, commenting, and listening! So, please join us!
Plus a preview of season three! What will we be doing in the long dark interregnum before season 2 of Foundation?
Although we're going to continue to refer back to Foundation Season 1 a lot this year, this is the penultimate episode of our official discussion!
And we're got quite a lot to say! This is our first conversation about the season in its entirety! We're joined by special guest Luigi DiMeglio of the Foundation Era YouTube Channel!
And be on the lookout for questions and polls! In our next episode, we'll be hosting StarsEnd's First Annual Hari Awards! And WE want to hear from YOU on all the big awards! Plus there will be some surprises! Stay Tuned to our Twitter account @StarsEndPodcast and our website [email protected] for news, official announcements, and our usual load of whimsy.
But first: S2E11 - We Send Podcasts Out Into Space Hoping Someone Will Answer! Let's go!
Haven't watched Episode 10, "The Leap" yet? We'll be here when you're done.
Astoundingly, here we are at the end of Foundation's Season 1. We're all about to experience the teevee equivalent of empty nest syndrome.
But not yet! There are two more episodes of Stars End for this season! There's this one, where we talk about Episode 10 and then there will be one more in about two weeks where we give an overview of Foundation's epic first season! Also a special guest! Also also some surprises!
And we're here for the duration! It might feel like it will be 30,000 years until there will be new content on Apple TV+ but we'll be here through this new interregnum to make sure that it feels like far less than 1000 years!
You've come with us this far! Let's keep moving forward together!
You know. Spoilers and all that.
In 1987 the Smiths released an excellent compilation album entitled "Louder than Bombs." It's the apotheosis of mope rock! In 2021 "Is it Really So Strange" that we would release a podcast episode called "Louder than Logic?" Even if none of us is named "Smith?
But here's the thing: it fits.
Gaal can feel the future in a way that might undermine psychohistory! That's Louder than Mathematics!
Lewis was able to wish the Invictus back to Terminus! That's Louder than Science!
And Salvor always knows how that coin will land! That's Louder than Random!
Have you ever tried to replace a colorblind, left-handed clone with a perfect replica of Cleon I? That's Louder than Reason!
You should join us as we talk about this barnburner of an episode directed by the great Roxann Dawson!
I mean it! "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want!" Join us!
If you're a Lee Pace fan, or "stan" as the kids say, or even an "aficionado" like they said back in my day, "The Missing Piece" may be for you! It's like the last temptation of Brother Day meets Dune with 100% fewer sandworms. That is to say, it's a lot of loincloths and wandering around in the desert. Damn sand gets in everything!
Plus Hari's still incorporeal, Gaal indulges in some casual vandalism, Salvor and Phara go on a trip, and Ethel the Aardvark goes quantity surveying.
As usual, we talk about it.
This week we're joined by Rich Greenberg, a screenwriter and old friend of Jon's. Rich is known for Zoe (2018), starring Ewan McGregor, Léa Seydoux, and Rashida Jones, as well as the Emmy Award-Winning The Beauty Inside (2018). Rich will tell us about the process of adapting an IP, particularly a science fiction IP for television.
It's Halloween evening as I write this and the two biggest Sci-Fi franchises have new episodes out. The premiere of Star Trek Prodigy was last Thursday and the season opener for Doctor Who was this evening. But I have another venerable old franchise on my mind.
Namely Twilight Zone. "Hey, kids! You want to see something really scary?!?"
Well, "scary" probably isn't the right word for "Mysteries and Martyrs" but I think some of us found it a little unsettling.
Still, there are lots of big questions! Is Psychohistory as we know it a thing of the past? What is the Anacreoneans horrific plan for the Invictus? Has the show succumbed to the Great and Glorious Az's predilection for exposition? And in the show with the most per-capita executions might someone get put to death for erroneous thumb-clasping?
We don't know! But we're going to talk about it anyway! With extra special guest star Cathy Bloomenfeld, who has the distinction of escaping that Asimovian indoctrination so many of us suffered as teens.
Join us! You'll love it! It will be like losing yourself in the scar and seeing real clouds!
There are a lot of things happening in Episode 6, "Death and the Maiden." Beware! The spoilers are probably even more densely packed than usual. "The spoiler-space may even be compact," he said mathematically.
What a difference a week makes! We described Episode 5 as a "bridge" episode. In episode 6, there's stuff going on right and left! Actually, maybe even in 2, 3, or, 4 dimensions! This cries out for an "Age of Aquarius" joke, but I don't have one. Any help?
Politics! Religion! Explosions! Big themes! Hints about how everything fits together! This one has it all!
And this week we have Morgan as our latest very special guest! She's a self-described Daneel Olivaw stan and biotechnologist who loves all things Asimov! She tweets Foundation-related stuff as @AsimovPosting. Morgan joined us and brought a fresh new voice to the conversation! You should join us and join the conversation too! You'll be glad you did!
If you'd rather not be rudely awakened by some spoilers, you know what to do! We'll be here when you're ready.
And speaking of rude awakenings, how about that Gaal Dornick? That whole ordeal didn't seem pleasant at all!
What isn't rude is our conversation this week, about Foundation's Episode 5, "Upon Awakening," it's better than being roused by a thunderstorm, a smoke alarm, or a cat licking your face.
And this will really shake you out of your slumber! We've got a very special episode for you because we've been joined by a very special guest, Joel McKinnon host of the very excellent Seldon Crisis Podcast! Joel's a very interesting guy with a very interesting podcast and some very interesting other irons in the fire. You can learn about them all on our website, StarsEndPodcast.Wordpress.com!
You should check these things out.
But not right now! Right now it's time for the also excellent StarsEnd Podcast! Let's go!
William Shatner is about to be shot into space. He may want to stay there when he sees how Lee Pace updates the "Kirk can break a computer just by talking to it" shtick.
Spoilers, of course. If you haven't, go watch the episode. Or listen first, it's entirely up to you.
Things are really starting to cook now and we'll have our usual free-wheeling conversation! The Cleons are being asynchronous and there are indeed "Barbarians at the Gate." Well, they're Acacreonians and the gate is almost entirely un-gatelike... except that you have to pass through it to go from "out" to "in." But it's an exciting episode with some excellent performances! We talk. You should tune in; it'll be fun!
And for crying out loud, don't stay in the bath too long; you'll get all pruney.
"And the beginning of the end, as befitting its name, took place on Terminus."
Spoilers, of course. Go watch the episode. We'll be here when you get back.
We're settling into the weekly groove! In this episode we'll be talking about "the Mathematician's Ghost," episode 3 of Foundation. But don't worry! No mathematicians were harmed in the filming of this episode... for a change.
But we do get some insight into the genetic trinity that rules the Empire, watch as the Foundationers arrive on Terminus, and thrill to a cliffhanger as the Anacreonians have landed on Terminus, once again but for the first time!
And we think some more about episode 2. Maybe we've figured it out. Maybe not. Not knowing is half the fun!
We talk about it all! Join us! It will be so much fun the Empire may collapse! You wouldn't want to miss that!
And... here we are! The moment to which we've been building. After months of anticipation, we finally have episodes to watch and discuss! And discuss them we do!
Join us for a no-holds-barred conversation about Foundation: Episode 1 - "The Emperor's Peace" and Episode 2 - "Preparing to Live!"
Don't want spoilers? Run to your favorite streaming device, find Apple TV+, and watch the episodes! Now! We'll be here when you're ready!
Too excited to worry about spoilers? Us too! Dive right in! We're happy you're here!
This is it! A teevee series 80 years in the making! Brother Dawn may not be able to save his legacy, but we're giving a nice polish to Philo T. Farnsworth's as well as that of The Great and Glorious AZ!
The naysayers said it would never happen and that our plucky little podcast would never see a second season! Yet here we are defying the laws of Psychohistory, renewed and ready for the advent of the Apple TV+ series in roughly 24 to 48 hours.
That will be our focus for season 2. We?ve been waiting with bated breath and our patience (or lack thereof) is about to be rewarded! We?ll be recording weekly for the duration, unless it turns out that we?re recording weakly... but we?re not going to let that happen!
So, as you count down the final few hours before Foundation hits your teevee, join us for our season premiere where we talk about our hopes and expectations for the show. Then we can all strap into this metaphorical roller coaster and enjoy this ride together!
As the Manimal threshold fades into the rear-view mirror, we reach our next milestone, with number 11 we now have as many episodes as Cop Rock! You know, it takes most shows years to get around to a musical episode, but those guys? Musical episode right out of the gate! Never fear; Stars End: The Musical is toward the end of our Thousand Year Plan.
Right now though, please join us for Episode 11 - A Podcast Has No End.
And podcasts don't, but books and trilogies do. We're at the end of Second Foundation, and we talk about the very last story, "Search by the Foundation," known as "...And Now You Don't" when it was published in Astounding. We'll meet Bayta Darell's grandaughter, Arkady, and see a reveal of where the Second Foundation might be followed by the reveal that there is no Second Foundation, followed by another reveal of where the Second Foundation might be, and then... well, you get the idea. Plus, we discuss the latest trailer and squeeze in one more round of Asimov Trivia before we start Season 2, coming soon to one of them WWWs near you!
The start of the Apple TV+ series is now less than a month away and we're approaching the end of our discussion of Asimov's original trilogy!
Join us for episode ten. That's 10! Our first round number! And it's not 10 base-two or 10 base-eight but 10 base-ten! That makes it the tenest ten!
We've finally jumped into Second Foundation! We'll be talking about the first story, "Search by the Mule," known as "Now You See It" when it appeared in Astounding Science Fiction. See the final fate of Han Pritcher! Learn the ultimate destiny of the Mule! Marvel at the awesome presence of the Second Foundation! Swoon at the other stuff! A podcast 80 years in the making!
Sadly, True Believers, no one claimed the No-Prize from Episode 9; the Hitchhiker's Guide Reference comes from Chapter 25 when two philosophers, Vroomfondel and Majikthise are confronting Deep Thought about how the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. That could put philosophers out of business you know! Anyhow, at some point Vroomfondel shouts "We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!" which I maintain is one of the finest sentences ever written in the language of Shakespeare. And which I borrowed a piece of for episode 9's description. Always steal from the best and then provide a citation.
But never fear! That was an obscure one! In this Episode's Asimov Trivia you'll have another chance at the glory of a prize that isn't actually anything! We've added an extra question for you folks at home and to make things more interesting we'll allow multiple winners! No-Prizes will be awarded not only to the correct answer but to any answer with an interesting explanation. Always show your work!
With the Threll of the Las Vegas 55-Year Mission winding down and the excitement of the Apple TV+ Foundation series winding up, now is a perfect time to check out our Stars End Podcast! Whether you're looking for a new decades-old franchise to enjoy, you want to catch up on some of your favorite old SF before enjoying the new teevee series, or if you're just looking for something entertaining to listen to at the airport, Stars End can fill that need! We're not even off-brand yet!
Please join us for Episode 9 as we wrap up Foundation and Empire with the resolution to Episode 8's cliffhanger and learn the sooper-secret identity of the Mule. Will the Foundation persevere? Will the Mule conquer the Galaxy? What's up with Bayta? And where the heck is the Second Foundation anyway? All will be revealed as long as it falls outside our rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty. Thus we merely foreshadow Second Foundation which may or may not be about the location of Seldon's Second Foundation.
Also "Asimov Trivia" and a new game: find the Douglas Adams reference in this very episode description!
Hello, again folks! It's 8/8 (or if you write dates the European way 8/8) and here we are with Episode 8. We're quite proud, we now officially have just as many episodes as Manimal! Imagine! For those of you tracking our milestones, eight is a very round number: It's "10" in base eight, "20" in base four, and "1000" in base two. Soon, once we're past the Manimal barrier, we'll quickly approach an actual, genuine round number. In base ten even. Tom Lehrer tells us that "Base eight is just like base ten really, if you're missing two fingers" but maybe it will be even better!
As for what's in store we start with our "Apple TV+" minute where we see what we can learn from an interview with David Goyer, Foundation's show-runner. We have another round of "Asimov Trivia" and discuss the first half of the second half of Foundation and Empire, "The Mule." One of the highlights of the series.
Coincidently, this part of "The Mule" ran in the November 1945 issue of Astounding Science Fiction which was the first issue to go to press after the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. We'll take a moment to reflect on John W. Campbell's editorial from that issue.
Please join us!
All the children danced in the street! "It's here! It's here!" they cried! "The seventh episode of Stars End is here!!"
It's true! Our seventh episode, "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing a podcast" is now available! Even though we had some technical difficulties (our sound quality isn't up to our usual standards; our apologies) it's a great episode!
It's great in part because it's different! We're honored to welcome Cora Buhlert as our first guest on the podcast! Instead of talking about Foundation, we'll talk to someone else about Foundation. Also, science fiction in general, becoming an SF fan as a kid, Hugo Awards and a bunch of other stuff.
Cora is an amazingly prolific and eclectic writer. So prolific that Jon joked about her owning "Asimov's Typewriter" and we suddenly had a new imaginary episode of Warehouse 13 in our heads. So eclectic that no matter your tastes there's a good chance that she's written something that you'd enjoy. If you like stories about galactic empires like Foundation, she's written two full series you might like, In Love and War and Shattered Empire. She's also a two-time Hugo Finalist for Best Fan Writer.
I could go on and we do in the Episode. She was an excellent first guest and you can learn more about her at corabuhlert.com.
The episode is also great because it's the same! We have new installments of our two regular features, the "Apple TV+ Minute" and "Asimov Trivia.: In the Trivia segment, we explore Asimov and Comic Books while in the Apple TV minute we react to the new trailer which you can watch along "with" us at our website, https://starsendpodcast.wordpress.com/!
Join us and Enjoy! Please rate and review.
Music: "Creative Commons It is Coming" by Alex Mason is licensed under CC Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International
Episode 6 is now available! This week, Dan starts his tenure as quizmaster, Joseph learns what wasn't covered in his Shakespeare class (way back in 1988) and as always Jon tries to keep us all on track.
We also have breaking news! So breaking that we had to add an addendum in post-production! That means Monday.
And of course, we start discussing "The General," the first section of Foundation and Empire. This one is almost like Asimov himself was replying to our discussions of the "Great Man" theory of history vs. the "Bottom-Up" Theory. Join us!
Music: "Creative Commons It is Coming" by Alex Mason is licensed under CC Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International
In which we wrap up Foundation with a discussion of ?The Merchant Princes.? and get ready to start Foundation and Empire. We?ll also have another Apple TV+ minute for you and another installment of Asimov Trivia! Is this true? It certainly sounds true!
Our fourth episode, "A Podcast is the Last Refuge of the Incompetent" is now available for your edification. We've run out of Laws of Robotics and have moved on to famous Salvor Hardin aphorisms. That's a bit more on-brand for a Foundation podcast.
We talk about "The Traders," part four of Foundation. This story first appeared, with surprisingly little fanfare in the October 1944 issue of Astounding under the title "The Wedge."
In addition we have our second Apple Plus Minute and another edition of Asimov Trivia with a new contestant and a new quiz master.
Please join us! We're looking forward to it and Hari Seldon already knows how it's going to end!
Music: "Creative Commons It is Coming" by Alex Mason is licensed under CC Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International
As foretold! Mayors! Bridles! Saddles! (Oddly, no actual horses) and the ultimate answer to the ultimate cliffhanger! Also show news, we react to the trailer (which you can find here)...and more Asimov trivia! Join us! Please rate and review.
We start discussing the first novel, Foundation, in earnest and get all the way through the first two stories, "The Psychohistorians," and "The Encyclopedists." We also try our hand at doing a new segment, "Asimov Trivia." Please join us.
An introduction to us and this podcast.