Saturday, February 11, 2006

Introduction

Back in 1999, I was re-reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation series for the umpteenth time. I had just finished the last (chronological) volume, Foundation and Earth, and I found myself wondering what was going to happen to Golan Trevize. I've since discovered that this makes me a minority of one; every other Asimov fan in the world wants to find out more about R. Daneel Olivaw. Nevertheless, over the course of Foundation and Earth, Trevize makes a series of promises that puts him under some obligations, and he makes a series of decisions that gets him into big trouble with the Powers That Be back on Terminus, and I was curious to see how those obligations and that trouble would play out. Asimov himself was seven years dead at that point, and the writers responsible for the Second Foundation Trilogy seemed more interested in looking at Hari Seldon than at Golan Trevize. So, if you want something done right (or in this case, done at all), then you have to do it yourself. And that's what I did.

Starting in July, I began work on a sequel to Foundation and Earth that I called "After Earth", depicting the adventures of Golan Trevize and his companions Janov Pelorat and Bliss after they leave the sanctuary of Daneel Olivaw's sublunar base. I posted the results to the alt.books.isaac-asimov newsgroup. Over the course of the next year I wrote and posted 17 chapters, and then became distracted by other things (as happened once or twice to Asimov himself). After over a year, I produced and posted an 18th chapter in 2001, then after another four years I posted a 19th chapter in April 2005.

With my permission, Vincent Clarke added "After Earth" to the fanfic section of his Beyond Asimov website. When Ed Seiler put my infamous "Insanely Complete List of the Robot/Foundation Timeline" on his Asimov Home Page, he included "After Earth" and added a link to the story's page on Beyond Asimov. Over the years, I have continued to get email from readers who compliment me on the story and wonder if and when I'm going to continue it.

Sometime in the last few months, the Beyond Asimov site has been blocked (whatever that means), and I've been getting email asking me what's going on, forcing me to answer that I don't know what's going on. I emailed Mr. Clarke, but so far have received no reply. This blog represents a solution to the problem of what to do about "After Earth". I'm going to post all 19 current chapters here, and any additional ones I come to write. I'll be notifying Ed Seiler that he can link here if he wants. This will have the additional advantage of allowing readers to post comments directly to this blog.

Update: Since Ed's version of the List also includes my Powell & Donovan story "Safety First" and Alexander J. Vincent's story "The Imperial Conference", I'll be posting them after "After Earth".

Update II: In response to a reader's suggestion, I've moved "The Imperial Conference" to its own blog with a link in the sidebar. I've also moved "Safety First" to a separate Asimov Fan Fiction blog along with some other stories from Beyond Asimov, and it too now has a link in the sidebar.

Update III: Vincent Clarke has resurrected Beyond Asimov at http://mysite.verizon.net/beyond_asimov/, so I have deleted my own Asimov fanfic blogs (except for this one, of course).

So, without further ado, readers, here is "After Earth".

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello.
I thought I was a thourougly-read Asimov fan, until I encountered your "After Earth" story while randomly rooting around online after Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. died at the age of 82..
I am new to the Asimov alt-fiction scene, and new to any kind of alt-fiction (I imagine there are Larry Niven alt-fiction scenes, and the same for many more of my other favorite authors, such as Carl Sagan, Stephen J. Gould, Robert Silverberg, Harlan Eliison, A. C. Clarke, and others). I am a lng-time reader of Asimov's output, and have many of his books in my library. I have both hard-cover and paperback versions of many of his works, including all versions of his auto-biography, as well as a lot of his science books and science fiction collections...
Your story "After Earth", upon first review, struck me as uninteresting and strictly (may I say "robotically") following the Master's dry and spare style of writing, while the conversational pitting of ideas against other ideas was there, with both sides fully represented, but rather boringly presented, like a new and untried writer. But in the end, I took the text of "After Earth" and used an old Macintosh OS 9 program to print both sides of pages with 2 columns and an appropriately readable font to make sense of your tale, and it was 25 pages long in Appleworks 5, printed on both sides of paper. It turns out that I have difficulty reading stories online, and prefer to read from paper rather than on a laptop screen, even if it is large...
Your story, upon reading it on paper, proved to be so much more interesting than I ever thought possible! All of the promises that Trevise explained to Lizalor which were abandoned in "Foundation and Earth" were made apparent, and brought to logical conclusions in your continuation of the story.
The only matter of the story of Trevise that I must disagree with is the end of chapter 19 (forgive me if I am inaccurate on this fact). Golan has often been portrayed by the Master (Asimov himself) as the un-marryible type, that is, would never officially MARRY another person of the opposite sex. Add to that the fact that the Master mentioned that Lizalor would exhaust him sexually with their "vigorous" copulations, early in "Foundation and Earth", it confounds me to believe that Trevise would marry Lizalar, i the end...
I must tell you that YOUR continuation actaully made a lot of sense of this incongruity, that Trevise, as he was a character, COULD marry. In the end, regarding what you have written so far, I LOVE this continuation of the story.
The fact that it is only 26 pages makes me wonder if you can really write a book to continue the story to 300 pages or more (considering that "Foundation And Earth" is 356 pages long, and considering that "Foundation's Edge" is close to that in length)..
The prosepect of another Seldon Crisis kept me on my toes as a reader, and I can only hope that something significant will happen soon, in the timeline of the story.
Thanks so much for keeping Golan Trevize alive! I hope that I am not the first to be interested in this fan continuation of the story line!
Sincerely-
-Don Jewell, currently of Hamilton, OH
email-fwikke@yahoo.com

Johnny Pez said...

Your story, upon reading it on paper, proved to be so much more interesting than I ever thought possible! All of the promises that Trevise explained to Lizalor which were abandoned in "Foundation and Earth" were made apparent, and brought to logical conclusions in your continuation of the story.

I'm glad you think so. That's what I'm after.

The fact that it is only 26 pages makes me wonder if you can really write a book to continue the story to 300 pages or more (considering that "Foundation And Earth" is 356 pages long, and considering that "Foundation's Edge" is close to that in length)..

I'm not trying to reach novel length here. After all, the Foundation was originally a series of short stories, and Asimov himself decided to go back to the short story format with Forward the Foundation. I intend to let "After Earth" find its own length, whatever that turns out to be.

he prosepect of another Seldon Crisis kept me on my toes as a reader, and I can only hope that something significant will happen soon, in the timeline of the story.

Another thing "After Earth" has in common with the early Foundation stories is that I have the ending in mind, and a vague idea of how to get there, but the details work themselves out as I'm actually writing. Rest assured, something significant will happen by the time we reach the end.

Thanks so much for keeping Golan Trevize alive! I hope that I am not the first to be interested in this fan continuation of the story line!

You're very welcome, and no, you're not the first to be interested. I do intend to continue the story, but I can't make any promises about how quickly I'll do it.

madpuppy said...

Hi, I was looking for more information concerning what happened "after earth" for companions Golan Trevize and Janov Pelorat. I have always felt that their adventures could and needed to be expanded on. they are compelling and I always end up reading edge and earth about once a year. I am actually looking forward to reading what you put together and am interested to see if your writing style will do them justice and how well you evolve the characters. Frankly authors Bear and Brin don't make feel as satisfied in their storytelling as Mr. Asimov and I personally don't enjoy their additions to the Foundation series. I really don't understand why no one has added more stories about the adventures of the crew of the Far Star to the offical canon.

Federico said...

Hi. I just have read your whole story and I found it VERY interesting and amusing. I am an argentinian Asimov´s fan that misses very much flying across the cosmos within Asimov. Please continue the story as soon as you can.
I´m also very pleased to find others who like Asimov´s stories, as I do. I think he was a vissionary man... or could he be a future´s man?
Again, thank you very much.
Federico.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say about doing it yourself if you want something done right (or at all).

I too have written Asimov fanfic, particularly anything to do with my favourite threesome, (the gorgeous!)Daneel and Elijah and Giskard.

It was so sad that Earth could not be visited because of radioactivity and I longed for F & Earth to carry on so I could go on reading about Daneel.

Wish I could find somewhere to post my fanfics but sadly Asimov seems to have fallen out of fashion in favour of boring stuff like Harry Potter / Anime / Manga.

'CatBar' (not really 'anonymous' but I can never get the Google Blogger thingy to work!)

Anonymous said...

After readying 'Foundation and Earth' I was very much excited to read the following novel and further the adventures of Trevise and his companions! Little did I know that it was the final novel dealing those characters nor that it was the final novel chronology-wise.
I greatly enjoyed your book and hope to read more from you! Keep up the excellent work!!

MTLBiceps@hotmail.com

dr reality check said...

I was aware of the fairly disappointing prequels about Hari Seldon written by Asimov, of which I only read one. However, I wasn't aware people were calling it a "Second foundation trilogy". This isn't a good idea, as (1) it wasn't a continuation of the story line and is thus inaccurate to call it that, and (2) It failed to meet the high standards of the actual Foundation Trilogy. The closest thing to the beginning of a new Trilogy was Foundations Edge and Foundation and Earth, which did meet those very high standards. Indeed, "Earth" was a masterpiece, tying together nearly a half century of two story lines, and answering all questions of most of the Asimov books. However, I'm not sure if the tendency for people to write books on the same story lines after a great author dies is the best idea; the ones riding on Frank Herberts tails, for example. Still, if you're doing it, I'll at least take a look, don't want to see ungrateful.

Kit Newton said...

How exciting to find this the day I finished Foundation and Earth! And how fascinating (though predictable, really, given how human minds, and the universe itself, work) that your point of departure for a sequel is something I'd probably never have thought of:)

Anonymous said...

Is it possible you might finish this story? It was pretty damn good! I'd love to know what the "gift" was all about....

jom

micke said...

This was excellent Johnny. True to Asimov's writing style and story. Thank you. Wish you would write some more.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting to see if you finish off this novel. I felt it was pretty good and deserved a finish...of course I'm still wondering about that "gift. heh

jom

Anonymous said...

Hi Johnny
Is there any chance that you will continue this story?
What's already out is amazing. I think Mr. Asimov himself would encourage you to go on!
It'd be great if you could share your plans.
Nolo