Psychohistory is No Longer a Theory: A (short) Review of Apple’s Foundation

Apple’s latest multi-million epic is based on a series of novels that only won an award because readers got sick and tired of Asimov’s toastmaster schtick.

The science of Psychohistory, a well-refined methodology for charting out the future of human societies to an extraordinarily detailed and incomprehensibly accurate degree, won’t be invented until several thousand years from now.

However, I did not need science to predict that Apple TV’s production of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy was going to SUCK.  And I’ve been saying as much ever since the books were optioned.

By the way, “SUCK” is an officially approved entry in the Film Reviewer’s Lexicon and is generally used to indicate that a film property should not be engaged with, lest it cause serious and potentially permanent brain damage.

I could have written this review sight unseen and I would have been just as accurate, but many people these days don’t seem to appreciate the fact that those of us with a good handful of decades under out belts recognize existing patterns (it’s compensation for the fact that we no longer have the capacity to store new information) and gets the conversation about them buried under a welter of “how can you say that when you didn’t even watch it?  You’re being dishonest.  You’re being a hater for hater’s sake.  You should shut up because we’re younger than you and want to make our own mistakes without benefit of your vastly superior knowledge”.

So I waited in order to have the right to honestly say “I’ve seen it.  And it still SUCKS”.

All of the expert commentary we’ve read up until now has been completely on target:  Asimov did not write characters (well) and TV these days is character driven; science fiction in the golden age of the genre was focused on the “Big Idea”, not on the people who had the Big Idea, because those people didn’t matter in the face of the impact the Big Idea was going to have because, well, because it was a BIG IDEA.

(Some of us still think there’s some merit to this form of SF, even if that train has left the station.  There are still other forms of transportation available.)

“There’s no explosions!”  They’re going to have to make a lot of shit up to fill up the time block and on and on.

Every single one of those critiques was, all by itself, reason enough to not do this project.

Maybe, if we’re really lucky, this thing will be a major flop and it will discourage Hollywood (and Silicon Valley) from believing that they know what science fiction is and how to go about presenting it on the screen.  At least that way we’ll avoid having a lot of other seminal tales ruined.

You want to do Foundation justice?  Re-read the original three fix-up novels, remember that they were written in 1942 and only won a “special” Hugo Award because Asimov had been a perpetual toastmaster of the awards and every year made bad jokes about not getting one, so they finally made one up to shut him up.l

Realize this:  Apple’s latest mega-million venture is based on a series of short stories mashed together and given an award to make the author STFU and go away!

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