Drink of the day is Anton’s Apple Lång Drink. It is gin (actual, proper gin) and carbonated apple juice and is actually pretty nice. Not too sweet, it tastes like gin with an after taste of green apples. My favourite so far. Jukka likes it too. The picture features an empty bottle and Preston as Jukka forgot this one at his photo shoot.
Some of you may have heard that Apple TV has produced a series from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books. As my iPad came with a year of free apple TV, I decided to check it out. And I can’t really make up my mind about it. It was partly really boring and partly really interesting. Acting is uniformly good and the series looks great. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with Asimov. They took the idea of a collapsing empire and science that can predict the future and ran with it. Which is fine. Totally fine. It is fine to see a collapsing space USA, heavy-handed reminders of climate crisis, mumbo-jumbo about faith and religiosity, Lee Pace being evil and bare-chested, and Jared Harris expositioning to the kingdom come. Just fine. Also, Laura Birn! (She is Finnish – #torillatavataan).
That, however made it necessary to go and read the first Foundation novels to see how far the golden age of science fiction (when you were twelve) had gilded the memories. And there has been remarkably little gilding. The novels are adorably dated and knowing now that Asimov had no respect for women’s personal space and thus pretty much no respect for women does influence the way one reads the novels. (Try to read Robots of Dawn and not to cringe the awful Gary-Stu scenes between Elijah and Gladia). I still love the idea of psychohistory – that you could predict the probability of the actions of large numbers of people and thus steer history in the right direction. The idea that history is controlled by large structural forces and individuals are meaningless fits right in with 1970s and 1980s view of history, when sociological and economic were seen as drivers of historical change.
I especially liked the early stories where there is practically no action, just people expositioning in offices and boardrooms about political crises and what to do about them. I refuse to believe that it would have been impossible to film – look at 12 angry men. Also, in the novel Salvor Hardin (changed in the TV series from a cigar chomping guy to an angry young woman of color which I thoroughly approve) thinks that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Foundation’s whole idea is that they are by design unable to defend themselves by violence and must find other ways to survive when civilisation around them collapses. That is much more interesting than the ray gun fights over who gets the super weapons platform served up by the TV series.
The early Foundation novels before Asimov started to bind together his robot stories with them are children of their time in good and bad. For me, bones of Gibbon are more observable underneath the story now than they were when I read them as a teenager, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes them more fun.