what do you think?

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http://www.angelfire.com/un/corosus/books/Asimov_t…

One of the striking things about Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, at least when it appeared in the mid-20th century, was its vast scale–vast in time (it imagines events covering tens of thousands of years), in space (the entire galaxy, with action taking place on several different planets), and in social vision (it imagines the rise and fall of many different kinds of societies). This can be compared to the narrower scope of earlier literature. (The Time Machine, for example, imagines a vast scope of time, but not space, its action being limited to a single planet). Even the Bible, when it speaks of things like eternity and the universe, imagines a comparatively tiny cosmos–basically the “four corners of the earth”–and a history covering just one region over a comparatively paltry few thousand years.

Clearly, one of the reasons that writers like Asimov could expand the physical and temporal scope of their writing was the rise of modern astronomy and cosmology, which afforded a much bigger playing field for their stories. But not all SF writers really seem to take significant advantage of this expanded understanding of the cosmos. For example, critics frequently point out that even though the action in Star Trek supposedly takes place all over the galaxy, many of its stories are essentially just westerns; if we substitute horses for spaceships and Apaches for Klingons, these stories could just as easily have taken place within the boundaries of, say, 19th-century New Mexico. These “space westerns” may be set in new galactic locales, but they’re not really new kinds of stories.

Do you think that Foundation avoids this trap? That is, did Asimov succeed in taking advantage of the new understanding of the universe to write a genuinely new kind of story? Or is he basically just writing an old, familiar kind of story and, like Star Trek, dropping it into a new setting? And what about the other stories in this unit? Do any of them manage to tell a genuinely original kind of story?

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