A bit later in the story, we learn that Mayor Hardin of Terminus enjoys smoking cigars from the Vega sector of the galaxy. Really? Smoking tobacco? Readers of Foundation might feel disappointment that Asimov depicts a far future in which humans have spread to 25,000,000 planets of the galaxy, yet so little has changed. And I mean that little has changed from mid-20th century Earth. The people of the Galactic Empire don't even have computers or cell phones and they still use typewriters. Ah, but might there be a reason for the technological stagnation of Humanity during their tens of thousands of years-long expansion through the galaxy? And might there be an important role for tobacco in shaping Asimov's Foundation?
|The location of Earth was carefully hidden by Daneel,|
but the Vega Sector was famous across the galaxy
for its fine tobacco products.
In the future. Vega will move closer to our Solar System and for a time it will be the brightest star visible from Earth. Vega is something of a favorite among science fiction writers. In addition to its rather subtle role in Asimov's Foundation, Vega is also featured prominently in science fiction stories that were written by Jack Vance and Carl Sagan.
Don Ivan Punchatz
|New technology of the Foundation:|
the personal force shield
In this environment of decay, growing barbarism and warfare, the Foundation's Encyclopedists and their hoarded collection of ancient scientific knowledge becomes, under the crafty and pragmatic guidance of Hardin, the basis for a new priesthood of science that can protect the Foundation from the neighboring warlords.
After 20,000 years of scientific and technological stagnation, just when the galaxy enters into its Dark Age, what allows the tiny Foundation to start making technological advances?
|The Foundations of Eternity|
Asimov wrote the end of Foundation and Earth so as to leave readers anxiously wanting more, with the specter of an immanent arrival of aliens hanging over the galaxy and threatening the safety of Humanity. Asimov was unable to write a sequel to Foundation and Earth, so that task is left to us. The Foundations of Eternity is my fan fiction sequel to both Foundation and Earth and Asimov's time travel novel, The End of Eternity. In The Foundations of Eternity, readers are introduced to aliens from a distant galaxy, the aliens that Asimov only teased us with at the end of Foundation and Earth. However, there was more to add to Asimov's Foundation Saga than could fit in a single novel, so The Foundations of Eternity became just one book in the Exode Trilogy.
Time for Nicotinic Receptors
The Exode Trilogy begins as a time travel story, using the rules for time travel that Asimov wrote into The End of Eternity.
One of the amusing features of The End of Eternity is that one of the main characters, Senior Computer Twissell, is a chain smoker. It is Twissell's task to complete a great Time Loop that is the very foundation of Eternity, the time travel device of Earth. That Time Loop assures the continuation of the Malansohn Reality. Does Twissell need his nicotine in order to make new scientific discoveries that are needed to complete the Time Loop? Under the leadership of Twissell, a new invention is made: a new type of time travel device that can send people past the Down-when Terminus, the point in time when Eternity was first created.
The great Time Loop of the Malansohn Reality is destroyed by a secret agent from the far future, Noÿs Lambent. She makes use of Twissell's new time travel device to go to the 20th century and alter the course of human history so as to end the Malansohn Time Loop and prevent humans from ever creating Eternity.
|The reality chain leading to our world: the Buld Reality.|
Jean Nicot was the original promoter of tobacco use in France, after whom the tobacco plant was named, along with nicotine, the plant's main psychoactive chemical constituent.
In the Ekcolir Reality, nicotine was just the starting point for Earth's early psychonauts. A potent "nicotine helper" drug was discovered by William Cullen and William Hunter in Glascow. By using nicotine and the helper chemical, it was possible for Earthlings to use the Bimanoid Interface and access the vast information resources of the Sedronic Domain.
The third book in the Exode Trilogy (called Exode) tells the story of Earth's history after the Huaoshy put an end to time travel.
In his Foundation Saga, Asimov introduced the idea that The Mule could use his telepathic powers to control the creativity of humans. The Mule is able to conquer the Foundation by "boosting the creativity" of a scientist. I like to imagine that while under the guiding influence of either the pek or Daneel, the pace of technological advance could be controlled.
So, I imagine that through most of human history, human creativity is regulated and suppressed. On special occasions (as with Noÿs and The Mule), telepathic mind control can "stimulate creativity" in a human. Alternatively, certain drugs like nicotine can be used to boost human brain power and allow access to the Bimanoid Interface.
Related Reading: The Asimov Reality.
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