Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Foundation and Star Wars

This essay is written to satisfy the requirements for Delta Dan's Summer Sci-Fi Seminar on Asimovian Hyper Space. This essay assumes the reader has knowledge of the events of both Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and George Lucas's film series about Wars among the Stars.  Which is to say: HERE BE SPOILERS!

First a disclaimer:  I may be  a pretty big nerd--I do, after all, have a blog about D&D on the internets--but when it comes to Star Wars, I'm pretty much a civilian.  I've seen the original three movies of the franchise 3 or 4 times each over the 3+ decades since their release; respectable, but, for a member of my demographic, not very impressive.  My record for the follow-up series released around the turn of the century is much worse: I have seen those films not quite one time each and have only very general memories of them.  Here's my synopsis of Star Wars II: The Second Trilogy:
  • Renton from "Train Spotting" cleaned up his act and learned how to use a light saber, 
  • Yoda has no patience for CNN,
  • there was a detrimental proliferation of people named Darth,
  • same goes for Fett, and
  • Nathalie Portman had a crush on some short, irritating wuss who then falls in lava and turns into Darth Vader. 

Anyway, there I was reading Foundation and Empire, the second book of Asimov's Foundation trilogy--which, not unlike G. Lucas's classic movie series, was bloated into a sextology decades after the original books were published--when I get to the part where Lathan Devers, a trader/agent of Foundation heads to Trantor, the capitol of the dying Galactic Empire, which is a completely urbanized world:
"The lustrous, indestructible, incorruptible metal that was the unbroken surface of the planet was the foundation of the huge metal structures that mazed the planet."
and I thought, "huh, sounds kinda' like the deathstar."

I thought little else of the matter until I got to Part II of the book wherein a dude known only as "The Mule" is running rampant over the the provinces on the perimeter of the galaxy, threatening the existence of the Foundation.  The Foundation calls upon a gruff military intelligence officer to find out more on the matter; that officer is named Captain Han Pritcher.  How Asimov described this guy is pretty much irrelevant because in the mind's eye of everyone who's read this book since 1977, Captain Han Pritcher is Harrison Ford; am I right?

Ok, so we've got a character who looks like Han Solo and a planet that looks like the deathstar.  Now consider the story line of Foundation and Empire: The once benevolent and democratic Foundation has become a hereditary autocracy trying to suppress a rebellion whose forces hide out on barely inhabitable planets throughout the reaches of space.  Sort of like a certain Empire in the Wars among the Stars.

Now back to this Mule dude; rumor has it that he's a mutant who never lets anyone see his eyes and that he can kill you just by looking at you.  As it turns out, these are just rumors--mostly--but still, it sounds like the force is pretty deep with this one.

And then when we get to Second Foundation, the third book of the trilogy, wherein the Mule is seeking out the Second Foundation--a fabled colony set up on the opposite end of the galaxy, where folks who have spent centuries secretly mastering the psychic sciences in much the same way folks on the First Foundation have mastered physical sciences.  Finding the titular Second Foundation, the Mule encounters its First Speaker, a man of considerable mental powers himself.  During the ensuing psychic tete a tete the First Speaker strikes the winning blow:
In the despair of that moment, when the Mule's mind lay open, the First Speaker--ready for that moment and pre-sure of its nature--entered quickly.  It required a rather insignificant fraction of a second to consummate the change completely.
The mule looked up and said: "Then I shall return to Kalgan?"
"Certainly. How do you feel?"
"Excellently well."  His brow puckered: "Who are you?"
"Does it matter?"
"Of course not." He dismissed the matter, and touched Pritcher's shoulder: "Wake up, Pritcher, we're going home."

Can you say Jedi Mind Trick?  If only Yoda had pulled this on Darth Whoever in the "Phantom Melange" we coulda' saved ourselves a lot of trouble.  I'm just sayin' is all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is also a planet called Korell, a more obvious mind trick with the girl that escapes Kalgan and a Wampa Ice Beast (just kidding)