| A household in New Texas City after the exodus of the human population of Mars ~ though the residents had left, the automated house which took care of the family still functions.|
Breakfast is automatically made, clothes are laid out, voice reminders of daily activities are called out, but no one is there. Robotic mice vacuum the home and tidy up. As the day progresses, the rain quits, and the house prepares lunch and opens like a flower to the warm weather. That night, a storm crashes a tree into the home, starting a fire that the house cannot combat, as the municipal water supply has dried up and failed. ~ Abridged Version of There Will Come Soft Rains (December 2007).
|In 2008, astronomers watched a football pitch-sized lump of rock hurtle through space at a speed of 45000 km/h. The fragment, which had been christened WD-5, was on a collision course with Mars. The impact on 30th January would subsequently be known as the Martian Armageddon. During the period December 2001-November 2005 humans from Earth had colonized the deserted planet, occasionally having contact with the few surviving Martians, but for the most part preoccupied with making Mars a second Earth. WD-5 changed all that, and most humans departed in haste during the December 2007 exodus.|
|Hari Seldon||By 310 Foundation Era, the Seldon Plan was in ruins. |
While his vassals prosecute the war, the Mule travelled under the guise of a refugee clown named "Magnifico Giganticus," with Foundation citizens Toran and Bayta Darell to different worlds of the Foundation.
The Mule used his super-human abilities to undermine the Foundation's war effort by spreading despair and destroying morale. In the end, the Foundation falls without much of a fight at all.
|As the Mule was advancing, the Foundation leadership complacently assumed that Seldon predicted his attack, and that even though the Mule was inexorably winning, the scheduled hologram crisis message appearance of Hari Seldon would tell them how to win (just as Bel Riose had seemed impossible to defeat, yet was "defeated" by Seldon's predictions). However, when Seldon's crisis tape plays they are shocked to discover that the crisis Seldon predicted was a civil war between the Foundation and the Independent Traders, making no mention of the Mule whatsoever.|
The Mule promised that he would find the Second Foundation, while Bayta asserted that he would not have enough time before the Second Foundation reacts.
Bayta was correct. Not only were the Second Foundation able to defeat the Mule using their superior mental powers, they also put the Seldon Plan back on track. The Second Foundation were fully aware of the eight Seldon Crisis that would occur during the interregnum. The final three, of which the political/military forces of the First Foundation knew nothing, were well known to the psychohistorians on the Planet Trantor, being cerebral challenges.
The ninth crisis was temporal, and known to neither. That was why Seldon had placed his panic button in the plan, the Third Foundation very shortly before his death in 12,069 GE.
|In 1937, encouraged by the success of 'The Hobbit', Tolkien submitted an incomplete but more fully developed version of The Silmarillion to his publisher, George Allen & Unwin, but they rejected the work as being obscure. |
Far from obscure, and deeply relevant to the tortured author, Tolkien had described the epic struggle of his inner world. The author had turned to escapist fantasy writing to explore the dissapation of his own life force. Whether he knew it or not, the epic struggle of the little people was an expression of his own disempowerment from World War I.