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diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2004-07-20 (14:06)
In which our plucky young hero weathers a crisis.

Since nobody else seems willing to do it right, I present herewith the thrilling prologue to my faithful screenplay adaptation of the greatest work of science fiction of all time, Foundation by Isaac Asimov:

PLOT DELIVERY DEVICE #1:
Well, here I am on Trantor, ready to apprentice myself to Hari Seldon, the greatest mathematician in the utterly invulnerable Galactic Empire, which will never, ever fall in a million, jillion years!

[PLOT DELIVERY DEVICE #1 takes a fascinating taxicab through a wondrous big underground city full of amazement. This is seriously the most amazing taxicab ride you've ever seen. This is our first big special effects bit, dude: a guy takes a taxi. Just like in the book, Trantor looks completely invulnerable, contains no robots or aliens, and has no commonplace day-to-day technology that couldn't be conceived in the 20th century. In other words, it looks like New York with the word "ASTRO-" spraypainted at the beginning of every sign, so that PLOT DELIVERY DEVICE #1 drives past Astrofamous Astroray's Astro-Original Astropizza. It is clear that Trantor will never, ever fall in a million jillion years.]

HARI SELDON:
Ah, my new apprentice. Welcome to Trantor. Good thing you're here, because I predict something big will happen to Trantor. I predicted it all through psychohistory, which works only on big numbers of people and will always fail in making exact predictions about specific individuals.

PLOT DELIVERY DEVICE #1:
Gasp!

HARI SELDON [fiddling with a POCKET CALCULATOR, which shows the utterly invulnerable Galactic Empire is vastly more advanced than we can possibly imagine -- I mean, this thing does cube roots and everything]:
Oh and speaking of, psychohistory makes the exact prediction that you specifically have a 90.08024147% chance of being arrested for treason.

[The IMPERIAL POLICE or something burst in. No, wait, I'm being faithful to the book. The IMPERIAL POLICE knock discreetly on the door, show their ID, politely request that Seldon and PLOT DELIVERY DEVICE #1 come along with them, and escort them with the utmost respect and civility to a police station. Are you wetting your pants with excitement yet? Are you? Are you? No? Then how about a FIFTEEN-MINUTE TRIAL SCENE full of EXPOSITION about a MADE-UP BRANCH OF MATHEMATICS? 'cause that's what you're getting! Step off, Alex Proyas, and let a TRUE FAN show how it's done! Boo-ya!]

HARI SELDON:
And so, inevitably, we must conclude Trantor and the Galactic Empire will fall. Soon. Okay, kinda soon. Not as in that any of us will be alive for the end of it, or for any of the big chaotic stuff, but we'll definitely see some institutional decay during the course of our lifetimes that will probably lead to at least some of us becoming worried about what might happen a century or two down the road if trends continue. Don't worry, there won't be any big space battles or explosions or anything.

CROWD:
Gasp!

GULLIBLE AUDIENCE MEMBER:
But it all looked so invulnerable! And I love the Galactic Empire! [weeps]

CROWD:
Gasp! Again!

JUDGE [after the EXPOSITION]:
Your math-fu is too powerful for the Galactic Empire, Hari Seldon, so we're sending you off to Terminus. It's a desolate, hellish wasteland full of volcanoes where the very air causes cancer in those who take the merest whiff of it unfiltered! [consults records] Oh, I'm sorry, that's Berminus. You're being sent to Terminus, which is an idyllic agricultural colony. [I swear to God that's what the book says.] In fact, Terminus looks exactly like whichever of Saskatchewan, New Zealand's North Island, or southern Kansas it's cheapest to film in! You'll be kind of bored in the middle of semi-temperate farmland until you die! Also, Terminus doesn't get HBO.

PLOT DELIVERY DEVICE #1 [being gently escorted away by civilized, well-trained policemen]:
Nooooo! I need my Six Feet Uuuuuuuunder!

HARI SELDON:
Ha! Terminus! That's exactly what I wanted! [pause] I mean, er, nooooooo.

AT LEAST ONE PERSON IN THE AUDIENCE, THE REST OF WHOM ARE FAST ASLEEP BY NOW:
Hey, this Hari Seldon's pretty clever. I like him. This movie won't be so bad, having him around to make his smartass mathematical comments. He's like Yoda with a calculator. I mean slide rule.

HARI SELDON:
Okay, the prologue's done. Time for me to die. [dies]

THAT ONE PERSON:
Oh, goddammit!

Pretty good, huh? And only another three hundred pages of screenplay to go!

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