Displaying all 17 episodes

Introducing Seldon Crisis

Trailer introducing Seldon Crisis – The Podcast. Summary description of the intent of the podcast and a brief description of the first few episodes.

The Psychohistorians

Young scientist Gaal Dornick travels to the imperial capital Trantor to work with the great psychohistorian Hari Seldon. Shortly after his arrival both are arrested and stand trial for disturbing the peace, due to Seldon's predictions of imminent catastrophe for the Empire. Seldon duels with Chief Commissioner of Public Safety Linge Chen, to secure their release and lay the seeds of renaissance in a Foundation upon the distant world of Terminus.

The Encyclopedists

The action shifts to the tiny planet of Terminus near the galactic fringe where Hari Seldon's team of scientists work on compiling the Encyclopedia Galactica central to their plans. The young Foundation is confronted with a powerful menace in the breakaway Kingdom of Anacreon, and it appears the Emperor is now powerless to defend them. A new figure emerges in the Mayor of Terminus City, Salvor Hardin, who has to use his wits and the limited resources of his tiny world to find a way to maintain the independence and vitality of Seldon's audacious project.

The Mayors

Mayor Salvor Hardin now leads the government of Terminus and the Foundation, but is threatened politically by the emergent Actionist Party headed by the young firebrand Sef Sermak. The Anacreonian military threat is greater than ever, but is momentarily controlled by the Foundation's use of a false religion based on nuclear technology. A new king will soon take the throne in Anacreon, controlled by a regent intent on attacking and eliminating the Foundation as a political rival. Sermak and the Actionists want to preemptively attack while they hold the upper hand. Hardin must navigate these dual threats to resolve the latest Seldon Crisis and maintain the Foundation's fragile independence.

The Traders

Limmar Ponyets is a dashing profiteer on the galactic fringe who gets drawn into a life or death struggle to free a fellow Foundation comrade who also happens to be a secret agent. The Grand Master of Askone is not one to let a prime hostage escape without payment of a high price – preferably in the form of a large amount of shiny gold. His ambitious counselor, however, may have a price of his own.

The Merchant Princes

One of the enduring and mythic figures in Foundation history, Hober Mallow, follows in the footsteps of Hari Seldon and Salvor Hardin in facing a truly existential crisis in the growing power of the Korellian Republic, a breakaway star system that may have a very powerful ally deep in the galactic core. Can he find a way to resolve the latest and most troubling Seldon crisis to date? Join us for the concluding chapter of the first of Isaac Asimov's seven novels comprising the Foundation epic.

The Philosophy of Foundation with Nathaniel Goldberg

To finish off Season 1 of Seldon Crisis and the completion of the first book in the original trilogy, Foundation, this special episode consists of an interview with Professor of Philosophy Nathaniel Goldberg. He will discuss his long running course, Philosophy and Science Fiction, in which he asks students to compare Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy with Plato's The Republic. Professor Goldberg talks about his passion and enthusiasm for Asimov's works, including the short stories Nightfall and The Last Question, how his students react to the challenge or analyzing these great works, and the lessons he has learned from them in their essays.

Season 1 Recap and Season 2 Preview

In this short episode we summarize the major characters and events of Season 1 covering the first novel, Foundation, in Isaac Asimov's seven novel epic, and tease a few of the major events to be covered in Season 2 corresponding to the novel Foundation and Empire. Also, a brief mention of the Apple TV+ upcoming TV series and a few callouts to the Foundation online community.

The General, Part I

Seldon Crisis returns with the second in the seven novel saga, Foundation and Empire, and the opening of The General, which tells the story of the young and brilliant General Bel Riose's attempt to destroy the growing, but still minute Foundation. He is opposed by an old veteran of a tragic civil conflict and a fearless Foundation trader, but most of all by the dead hand of Hari Seldon and powers of psychohistory.

A Moment of Meta

Brief comments in the interval between episodes, thoughts on the intended audience, and an explanation for shift to a more relaxed episode cadence.

The General, Part II

We pick up where we left off with the meager Foundation reeling from the onslaught of the Empire's great general Bel Riose. The Emperor's sycophantic envoy Brodrig joins him at the front and insists on personally interrogating the captured spy, Lathan Devers. He and Ducem Barr plot a means to bribe Brodrig, but he surprises them by bribing Devers instead for information on Riose's hidden plans. The two heroes find an opportunity to turn the tables and begin a mad dash to save the Foundation by any means necessary.

The Dead Hand and the Living Will

We go a little deeper on the theme of The General, the opposing forces of psychohistorical determinism vs the futile efforts of Bel Riose to exert his free will against it. Bringing this into our current universe, we talk about Thomas Carlisle's "Great Man" theory of history and some of the pushback against it. Your host then takes it into the personal realm with some reflections on a couple of modern candidates for "Great Man" status in reflecting on his past.

Foundation for Newbies

This brief episode is for any prospective watchers of the new Apple TV+ Foundation television series who have not yet read the books and are looking for a quick primer on the series. The new show will likely cover at least the first two chapters of the first book, so that is what I focus on in this episode, with a little more general overview of the remainder of Foundation and Foundation and Empire.

The Mule, Part I

We begin the grand story of the unconsidered variable in Hari Seldon's equations, a mutant being of indescribable powers known only as the Mule. He conquers worlds overnight, including the honeymoon destination of Bayta and Toran Darrell. There they meet a clown fleeing from the planet's new lord, the Mule himself. They also encounter Captain Han Pritcher from the security forces, and eventually the Foundation's greatest scientist, Ebling Mis, the man who is the closest to understanding Seldon's psychohistory of any man in centuries. He knows another Seldon Crisis has arrived, and it directly involves the Mule. What will Hari Seldon proclaim in his long awaited return to the Vault?

Thoughts on the Show (so far)

I share some thoughts on the new AppleTV+ adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series from the perspective of someone who loves the books and wants the elements that make it a beloved classic to me to be retained, but also one who is aware of the challenges of adapting a series of novels written almost 80 years ago to a modern audience. Does it honor Asimov's core concepts? Are the departures valid? Will the showrunner be able to inspire a new generation with the ideas that are so relevant to today's deep societal challenges?

The Mule, Part II

Foundation has fallen to the Mule and the proud citizens of Terminus are shocked and dismayed. Haven is under siege and our heroes make a mad dash for the center of the Galaxy to find clues to the location of the fabled Second Foundation, the only hope of stopping the Mule from his goal of total galactic conquest. Join Toran & Bayta Darell with Ebling Mis and Magnifico the clown as they seek the ruins of the Imperial Library on Trantor in their frantic search for a powerful ally.

The Mule, Part III

Bayta & Toran Darell, Ebling Mis, and Magnifico arrive on the ruined former capital planet of Empire, Trantor. Mis searches frantically in Hari Seldon's psychohistorical archives while their old friend Han Pritcher pays a visit to brag about his promotion under a new boss. Can our heroes find the Second Foundation before the Mule? The fate of the entire galaxy is at stake!

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