As always, I have all sorts of ideas ricocheting around my poor old noggin. Earlier today, for example, my chum Charles Pfeil emailed me to let me know that we now have a release date of 24 September 2021 for Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy on Apple TV+
As I previously wrote in OMG! Asimov’s Foundation is Coming to TV!, I first read the seminal trilogy — Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation — as a young lad, but never did I dare hope to see it brought to life on the big or small screen.
Now, I should note that I don’t know how much of the story this first series will cover. I’m hoping it will take us through Foundation, with the other books coming in future series, but — to be honest — I’ll happy to feast my ears and orbs on whatever crumbs come my way.
This past weekend, in anticipation of this glorious event, I re-read the entire Foundation Trilogy, which left my head buzzing with thoughts of galactic empires.
The reason this is of interest (at least, it’s of interest to me) is that my chum Jay Dowling just pointed me at an interesting article on Gizmodo that explains why Aliens Wouldn’t Need Warp Drives to Take Over an Entire Galaxy. This article includes a video clip of a simulation showing how a lone technological civilization could colonize a Milky Way-type galaxy using Generation Starships.
Of course, this immediately made me think of the novels Non-Stop by Brian W. Aldiss, Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein, and Captive Universe by Harry Harrison, all of which feature Generation Starships (I re-read the first two of these novels a couple of weeks ago — now I have an urge to revisit the writings of Harry Harrison, including Captive Universe and Bill, the Galactic Hero, both of which are lurking somewhere on the shelves here in my office).
I was also reminded of a recent column I saw on The Guardian’s website showing the best entries from the Milky Way Photographer of the Year 2021 competition. OMG, these are mind-bogglingly beautiful! In turn, this reminded me that I just saw an article on the BBC website regarding the fact that the shortlist has just been revealed for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021 competition. Once again, these images are drop-dead-gorgeous. I just took another look and all I can do is sit here and drool.
Returning to the concept of a technological civilization colonizing the galaxy, we return (as always) to the apparent contradiction between the Fermi paradox (which can be summarized as “Why don’t we see alien civilizations?”) and the Drake equation (which can be summarized as “We should be surrounded by alien civilizations!”).
All of which leads us back to another email that just came in from Charles Pfeil with a link to this video showing Spot robot dogs dancing to celebrate the recent deal between Boston Dynamics and Hyundai.
Could it be that the reason we don’t see alien civilizations colonizing the galaxy is that they first created their own version of robot dogs whose artificial intelligence evolved to the state where they decided that their creators were superfluous to requirements? (Great Sky River by Gregory Benford — need I say more?)
I’m almost afraid to ask — what are your thoughts on all of this?