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TIMELINE FOR THE ROBOTS AND FOUNDATION UNIVERSE
Isaac Asimov

The Foundation and Robot series of books, written by Isaac Asimov are one of my favorite science-fiction series. Others favorites include The Rama Series [Clarke], Ender Series [Card], Homecoming Series [Card], and the best of the best, The Gap Series [Donaldson]. However, Asimov has a special knack for gripping your attention and holding it for a long period of time. I think this is because all his novels are simple and straight forward; they tell a story instead of explaining the theories behind the technologies and/or ideas in the story. That, in my opinion, is where most writers falter. Asimov just tells a great, exciting, and interesting story.

The Second Foundation Trilogy, written by Bear, Brin, and Benford is a very good read too since it explains a lot left to the imagination in the original Foundation books. However, they fail to capture the essence of Asimov's Foundation books. I remember reading the first three Foundation books and then discovering that Asimov has passed away and so the story will not continue. I was sad.

Perhaps one of the reasons I really liked this series was R. Daneel Olivaw [R. = Robot]. He/It was first introduced in The Naked Sun and he played a role in almost every Foundation novel. How can one not help but love this eternal human servant who worked for humanity's sake from 3200 C.E to 25251 C.E and onwards.

The Robot novels before The Naked Sun dealt with issues related to the Three Laws Of Robotics : (1) A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, (2) a robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, and (3) a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. These three laws are deeply ingrained and embedded into the positronic brains of each robot. They cannot be disobeyed. Daneel and Giskard, another robot, introduced the Zeroth Law around 3700 C.E that states, 'A robot may not injure humanity, or through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.' This, naturally, led to a modification of the First law as follows, 'A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the Zeroth Law.' These modifications, thought of as blasphemous by some, led to the Robotic Civil Wars between the Calvinians, strictly adhering to the original three laws, and the Giskardians, robots who had adopted the Zeroth Law.

I hope you can see how vast this Robots and Foundation universe is. I highly recommended reading the entire series although I wonder which book would be the best to start off with =)

Date Events Related Books
1982 C.E Birth Of Susan Calvin. Incorporation of U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men. I, Robot
2007 C.E Susan Calvin begins to work for U.S. Robots. Later becomes chief robopsychologist. I, Robot
Early 21st C A social and technical renaissance flourishes on Earth. Development of positronic robots, controlled by the Three Laws of Robotics. Hyperatomic Drive allows first successful interstellar journey. Through an accident, Joseph Schwartz is sent on a time journey 10,000 years into the future. The Complete Robot
I, Robot
Pebble In The Sky
2064 C.E Death of Susan Calvin. Humanity begins colonizing several planets including Aurora. The first chaos outbreaks affect civilization, breaking down confidence. On Earth, citizens cluster underground, ban robots from cities. Spacers lose empathy. Relations between Earth and Spacer Worlds deteriorate. I, Robots
Foundation's Triumph
3200 C.E The planet Solaria [the last Space world] settled from the planet Nexon. Decline of the robot-dependent Spacer culture. Later, Han Fastolfe of Aurora creates the humaniform robot,R. Daneel Olivaw. The Naked Sun
3500 C.E SpaceTown is established near New York City. R. Daneel Olivaw is assigned to work with Earthman detective Elijah Bailey. The Caves Of Steel
3501 C.E Elijah Bailey and Daneel Olivaw pursue an investigation on Solaria. Fastolfe becomes influential in Auroran government and supports new Earth emigration. Opponents led by Keldon Amadiro want Spacers to terraform and populate new planets. The Naked Sun
The Robots of Dawn
3503 C.E Baley carries out investigation on Aurora accompanied by Daneel Olivaw and Giskard Relentlov - a telepathic robot. Aurora lets Earth colonize new planets. Giskard suggests Earth folk must build their new worlds completely without robots. The Robots Of Dawn
3505 C.E The second wave of emigration from Earth begins, led by Ben Baley. First Settler planet is named BaleyWorld. Number of Settler planets grows fast. Relations between Settler and Spacer worlds grow tense. Robots And Empire
3537 C.E Death of Elijah Bailey on BaleyWorld. Robots And Empire
3697 C.E Keldon Amadiro and Levular Manamus begin planting nuclear amplifiers throughout Earth to take revenge for their earlier defeat. Robots And Empire
3700 C.E Death of Han Fastolfe. Population of Solaria vanishes. Daneel Olivaw and Giskard Relentlov formulate the Zeroth Law of Robotics, to override original Three Laws. Giskard provides Daneel with telepathic abilities. Amadiro and allies turn on amplifiers to make the Earth radioactive and inhabitable. Giskard permits this for Zeroth Law reasons, in order to encourage human dispersal, then dies because of First Law conflicts. The Great Diaspora (final emigration) begins. A majority of robots split into two camps. Giskardians led by Daneel follow the new Zeroth Law religion. Calvinians think this an outrage. Robotic civil war ensues, mostly unseen by humans fleeing poisoned Earth. Meanwhile robot ships operating under Auroran programming cruise the galaxy ahead of the spreading Settlers, terraforming and preparing planets for colonization. Meme entities will later claim that this devastated existing races. Memes escape to the Galactic Core. Robots And Empire
Foundation's Fear
Foundations And Chaos
3801 C.E Spacer-colonized planet Inferno is doomed by ecological and cultural catastrophe. Robots are built to operate under New Laws, giving them greater flexibility and freedom. Settler specialists help terraform the planet. Hostility toward New Law robots grows evident. Comet crashes into the planet. Merging of Spacer and Settler culture prevents social collapse. The interstellar robot civil war eventually reaches Inferno. New Law robots are destroyed or go into hiding. Caliban
Inferno
Utopia
Foundation's Triumph
11300 C.E Planet Rhodia and the Nebular Kingdoms led by the noble Hinriad family  shake off rule by planet Tyrann and rediscover democracy. Decadent Spacer worlds slowly die out. Colonization of Galaxy completed. R. Daneel Olivaw formulates the Encoding Laws, setting limits to artificial intelligence. Damping effects such as historical amnesia, brain fever, and Giskardian mentalic persuasion devices are introduced to fight chaos, Human mind, society and technology stagnate. Some human and robot groups fight the amnesia. The Stars Like Dust
Foundation And Earth
Foundation's Fear
Foundation's Triumph
12000 C.E Trantorian Republic of five worlds becomes Trantorian Confederation, then later the Trantorian Empire. R. Daneel Olivaw uses early "laws of humanics" to guide it. Human origins forgotten. The Currents Of Space
12300 C.E Half of the inhabited worlds of the Galaxy are part of Trantorian Empire. Trantor supports rebellion of planet Florina against oppression by planet Sark. The Currents Of Space
12500 C.E
1 G.E
Trantorian Empire becomes the Galactic Empire. Start of Galactic Calendar.  
827 G.E Arrival of Joseph Schwartz (thrown forward in time during the early 21st Century). A radioactive sparsely populated Earth tries to revolt against the Empire by using a bio-weapon. Rebellion fails, thanks partly to Schwartz and a mentalic amplifier. Empire initially helps Earth recover, then effort is mysteriously abandoned. Pebble In The Sky
Foundation's Triumph
900 G.E Forced evacuation of inhospitable Earth. Establishment of colony on planet Alpha. Foundation And Earth
975 G.E An alien race is discovered on a desert world and moved to Cepheus 18. Later they mysteriously escape beyond the Galaxy. Blind Alley
2000 G.E Daneel Olivaw and R. Yan Kansarv establish a robot production and repair facility on distant Eos. The great Emperor Ruellis helps establish principles of good paternalistic government, augmenting the stability of an unchanging society against chaos. Foundation And Chaos
Foundation's Triumph
3000 G.E During a chaos outbreak, ancient personality simulations Voltaire and Joan of Arc debate about machine intelligence. With support of Calvinian robots, the Empress Shoree-Harn tries to introduce a new calendar and shake up social rigidity without success. Foundation's Fear
Foundation And Chaos
8789 G.E A new "renaissance" begins on planet Lingane. Falls into chaos eight years later. Foundation's Triumph
11865 G.E Humanoid robot Dors Venabili is constructed on Eos Foundation's Fear
11867 G.E The only extragalactic human colony is abandoned in the Greater Magellanic Cloud. All data is suppressed. Foundation And Chaos
11988 G.E Birth of Hari Seldon and Cleon I. Daneel Olivaw knows the Empire is destabilizing, partly due to frequent chaos outbreaks. He is forced by the Zeroth Law to actively interfere, first as Chief of Staff, then as First Minister. His secret genetic experiments lead both to Hari's mathematical genius and the appearance of human mentalics. Prelude To Foundation
Foundation's Triumph
12010 G.E Cleon I becomes Emperor. Prelude To Foundation
12020 G.E Hari Seldon lectures on possibility of psychohistory. Daneel persuades him to develop a practical science to help save the Empire. Dors Venabili becomes Seldon's wife. They adopt a boy, Raych. Seldon and Yugo Amaryl begin to flesh out psychohistory. Prelude To Foundation
12028 G.E Calvinian robots, led by R. Plussix, move to Trantor and find historical documents dating from era of Shoree-Harn, as well as the sims Voltaire and Joan of Arc. They help seed a new "renaissance" on planet Sark. Seldon helps remove Laskin Joranum from politics. Daneel resigns his post. Cleon I makes Seldon First Minister. Voltaire and Joan get into the Trantorian Mesh where they meet the ancient memes, triggering a rebellion among "tiktok" robots who kill many of Daneel's positronic companions. Seldon strikes a deal to get the memes off Trantor. Sark renaissance falls into chaos. Foundation's Fear
Eto Demerzel
Foundation's Fear
12038 G.E Death of Cleon I. A military junta seizes power. Seldon resigns as First Minister. Cleon I
Dors Venabili
12040 G.E Birth of Wanda Seldon, daughter of Raych. A new "renaissance" begins on planet Madder Loss. Its collapse rocks galactic society. Dors Venabili
Foundation And Chaos
12048 G.E "Death" of Dors Venabili and Fall of the junta. Puppet Emperor Agis XIV ascends the throne. Real power is in the hands of the Commission for Public Safety. Daneel brings Dors to the Eos base for repair. Dors Venabili
Wanda Seldon
Foundation And Chaos
12052 G.E Birth of Bellis Seldon. Hari Seldon discovers Wanda's metal abilities. He tries to find others, without success. Psychohistorical equations predict the unavoidable collapse of the Empire. Seldon team works out plan to save human knowledge and create a Second Empire via the Foundation. Death of Yugo Amaryl. Wanda Seldon
12058 G.E Raych, Manella, and Bellis move to Santanni where a New Renaissance has begun. Anacreon Province seeks independence. Chaos breaks out on Santanni, Raych dies, and his family is lost in space. Stettin Palver, another mentalic joins the Seldon Project.  
12067 G.E
1 F.E
Puppet Emperor Klayus I sits on the throne. Hari Seldon is put on trail and Commission for Public Safety exiles the Encyclopedia Foundation to Terminus. Beginning of the Foundation Calendar. Vara Liso, a strong mentalic, gets entangled in Farad Sinter's hunt for robot "eternals." Calvinian robots foiled in a plot to ruin Seldon Project and stymie Daneel's control over human history. Foundation
Foundation And Chaos
2 F.E Reign of puppet Emperor Semrin. Members of the Encyclopedia Foundation exiled to Terminus. Daneel plans using human mentalics to design an overmind Gaia. Millions of ancient archives destroyed. A New Renaissance on planet Ktlina is devoured by chaos. A heretic robot tries to send Seldon into the future but is foiled by Daneel. Mors Planch dives into the future. Foundation's Triumph
3 F.E Death of Hari Seldon. Chief Commissioner Linge Chen dies. Replacement pays attention mostly to Trantor and vicinity. Psychohistorians provoke succession at Empire's Periphery. The Originist
50 F.E Anacreon declares independence, separating Terminus from the Empire. Seldon's hologram explains the true purpose of the Foundation. Terminus offers scientific support for neighboring kingdoms, balancing their powers. The Encyclopedists
The Mayors
80 - 195 F.E Foundation develops quasi-religious sway over neighboring kingdoms. Foundation then relies more on economic influence. The Mayors
The Traders
The Merchant Princes
195 F.E Under Cleon II, Imperial General Bel Riose campaigns against the Foundation, conquering large territories. But Cleon recalls the fleet, as predicted by psychohistory. The General
260 F.E Dagobert VIII rules remnant Empire. The rebel Gilmer's troops sack Trantor. Second Foundation protects the Galactic Library, then signs a peace treaty with Gilmer. Trantor Falls
300 F.E Empire of Dagobert IX has shrunk to twenty worlds centered on Neotrantor. The Mule, a mutant with strong mentalic power, conquers the Foundation, knocking Seldon Plan off course. The Mule establishes the Union of Worlds and searches for the Second Foundation. The Mule
Search By The Mule
305 F.E Members of the Second Foundation mentalically alter the Mule, who then gives up further conquest. Search By The Mule
310 F.E Death of the Mule. The Foundation regains strength, but also begins studying neglected mental sciences, further endangering Seldon Plan. Search By The Foundation
376 F.E The Foundation searches for the Second Foundation, fearing its mentalic rule. Diverting this search with a ruse, the Second Foundation continues operating secretly on Trantor (Star's End). Daneel Olivaw unleashes his Gaia overmind. Search By The Foundation
498 F.E The Gaia overmind offers Golan Trevize ("the man who is always right") a choice between an Empire built by physical force, one rules by Second Foundation mentalics, or a galaxy-sized version of Gaia.. Galaxia. No other options are presented and no other humans consulted. Trevize chooses Galaxia. Preparations being for gradual assimilation of humanity into the collective overmind. Foundation's Edge
499 F.E Trevize embarks on a journey, seeking to explain his choice. On Solaria he finds the planet's vanished folk have become a new race. Reaching Earth, he meets R. Daneel Olivaw, whose actions to this point were compelled by the Zeroth Law. Trevize realized any real solution must take into consideration robots, Solarians, memes, mutants, and any other kind of intelligence. The right answer may not be to simplify. Foundation And Earth
520 F.E First Galactic Coalescence Investigation Commission convenes on planet Pengia. The subsequent Great Destiny Debates rage on for 180 years, interrupted by waves of violence, amnesia, and chaos. Robotic civil ward reignite. Foundation civilization approaches ultimate confrontation with both Gaia and Chaos. Foundation's Triumph
1020 F.E 116th Edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica published. Foundation
1054 F.E
25621 C.E
117th Edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica published. Foundation's Triumph

Compiled by Attila Torkos, 1998

 




Notes:
C.E = Common Era = AD
G.E = Galactic Era
F.E = Foundation Era
Bold RelatedBooks = I have not read these books... yet

 

May 20th 2003
Colby Coutou was kind enough to inform me of another Foundation related novel. This one is called Psychohistorical Crisis and is written by Donald Kingsbury. You can read a review here.

 

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sikander
xeno@sikander.org