Krugman Is Wrong!


Or at least premature.

It’s well known that Paul Krugman was inspired to enter the field of economics by his youthful reading of Isaac Asimov’s great Foundation Trilogy. (Ironically Asimov confessed to not knowing anything about the “dismal science” of economics; he considered himself a cheerful person.)

So like many of us who have long known the work that in the mid-1960s was voted the best science fiction series of all time, he was looking forward to the television dramatization that began streaming on Apple TV+ a couple months ago.

Unlike me, however, when he saw the first episode, he was disappointed that there was very little Asimov in the adaptation; I was surprised (and delighted) there was as much as there was.

In fact, after a few more episodes he decided that the series was a “remake [of] ‘Star Wars’ under another name” and he stopped watching.

So did he seriously think that the series would not show space battles and other violent acts that in Asimov’s books occur mostly off-stage?

I don’t know, but I’ve noticed that the people who tend not to like the show are the ones who were expecting a faithful adaptation of Asimov’s stories, which consisted mainly of a couple characters at a time having conversations.Foundation Trilogy

Anyway, I think David Goyer, the show runner, is playing a long game and we’ll see a few more of the Asimovian touches before the first season ends. And even if we don’t, I’m enjoying the series well enough (I like it a lot but I don’t love it) that I’ll probably continue watching.

That said, there are a few things that truly annoy me about the series, but I’ll save those for another post.

I just want to point out that Robyn Asimov, Isaac’s “blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter” (in Isaac’s words) is a producer of the show, and as keeper of the Asimov estate, she has a fair amount of control; Goyer frequently mentions changes that she had to sign off on. So if the naysayers think they are dissing Goyer by panning the show, they are also dissing Asimov’s daughter.

(BTW, in the 70s the BBC did a very faithful radio adaptation of the Foundation Trilogy; I remember listening to it then and enjoying it greatly when NPR broadcast it. It can be found complete here.)

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