That’s a set of books where the influence they have is just fucking massive […] there are some ideas in those that’ll set your fucking hair on fire.

Via io9 and The Wrap, HBO has hired Johnathan Nolan, most recently known for his work on Interstellar, to write a television adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s seminal science fiction series, Foundation.

“Well, I fucking love the Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov,” Nolan told Indiewire on November 4th, less than a week before this news broke. “They’re certainly not well-known, but that’s a set of books I think everyone would benefit from reading. That’s a set of books where the influence they have is just fucking massive. They have many imitators and many have been inspired by them, but go back and read those, and there are some ideas in those that’ll set your fucking hair on fire.”

Nolan’s assertion that Asimov’s classic is ‘certainly not well-known,’ is a little fishy, especially coming from someone who works directly on major science fiction IPs like Interstellar, but his enthusiasm for the series is refreshing and encouraging.

Though there is no word on whether the adaptation will be ongoing, or a predefined mini-series of episodes, io9 points out that “the books have enough material to last a very long time.” Syfy hopes they have the Game of Thrones for science fiction fans in their adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series, but who better to usurp that title than the creators of televisions favourite fantasy and one of science fiction’s most legendary names?

  • Andrew Trembley November 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I think Nolan’s assessment of the Foundation books being little-known classics is spot on.

    They’re well-known to a specific subset of readers of a certain age. And they may be well-known to voracious readers who only had access to small libraries with small science fiction sections (I literally read ***everything*** SF and fantasy in my high school library, and probably about 60% of what was in the city library before I moved away), but at forty-something I’m usually the youngest person in a discussion around the series, and I haven’t read the books in 20 years.

    Foundation is a complete unknown to many fans, particularly younger fans, and I’m glad that Nolan is attached to something that may bring about a revival in its popularity.

  • Aidan Moher November 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    As of June, 2000 Foundation has sold more than 20 million copies, which is a significant number. That puts it only slightly below the sales figures for Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and putting it within the same sales group as The Great Gatsby, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and above The Old Man and the Sea and Life of Pi.

    If that’s “little known,” then the only books that aren’t “little known” are Harry Potter, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Bible. ;)

  • Diana Moher November 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I’m curious as to who is reading it now. Given Nolan’s less than polite description of how much he “..” loved these books, I’m concerned he doesn’t have the finesse to bring off the complexity of the foundation stories. I’m scared they’ll ruin it. As for the #’s being sold, could be us old fogies replacing out tattered copies Aidan. ;-)

  • Zachary Paul November 12, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Yea, sale numbers are one thing, but I think you may be digging into Nolan’s comment a little to pedantically. The general thrust of what Nolan says is true: Foundations isn’t something that exists within the popular conscious to any degree of relevancy. Within the core bubble of hardcore SciFi/Fantasy enthusiasts yes there is a a great deal of renown, but outside that: at best, it’s merely a footnoted influence on more popular science fiction franchises like Star Wars.

    And FWIW, from what I can tell, that 20 million number actually includes sales of all three novels of the Foundation trilogy. Possibly ever novel under the Foundation banner, considering the publishing world’s propensity to fudge sales numbers into something more impressive.

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  • Mad Professah November 26, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Oh my goodness!! This is the most exciting Sci Fi /televisiĆ³n news I have heard since the announcement word came out that SyFy was doing James SA Corey’s The Expanse Series.

    The only thing I worry about is whether this thing will really happen. After all, HBO previously announced an $100m adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods a few years ago. I haven’t heard anything more since. I’m actually not that disappointed because I’m not that huge a Gaiman fan.