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Asimov's Foundation screen rights acquired by Columbia Pictures

Posted by Urban Legend - Monday, January 19th, 2009

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Columbia Pictures has won the auction for the screen rights of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov's Foundation.

Published as eight short stories in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950, Foundation is a highly acclaimed epic science fiction series, winning the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966.


The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept devised by Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale. It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy which has a population of around a quadrillion). The larger the mass, the more predictable is the future. Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. To shorten the period of barbarism, he creates two Foundations, small, secluded havens of all human knowledge, on opposite ends of the galaxy. The focus of the trilogy is on the Foundation of the planet Terminus. The people living there are working on an all-encompassing Encyclopedia, and are unaware of Seldon's real intentions (for if they were, the variables would become too uncontrolled). The Encyclopedia serves to preserve knowledge of the physical sciences after the collapse. The Foundation's location is chosen so that it acts as the focal point for the next empire in another thousand years (rather than the projected thirty thousand).

No information has been revealed yet about the adaptation, but the film should be directed by Roland Emmerich (2012, Fantastic Voyager) and produced by his own company Centropolis.


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