the Editor

I was thrilled when I learned that Isaac Asimov was coming back.

Gift of the gods
And puzzled. Why Asimov? Why at this particular time? And, of course, I had to wonder if I might have a chance to meet him..... again.

I'd previously met Asimov back in the late 1970s, just when HIV was entering into the nation's blood supply and coronary artery bypass surgical procedures were passing 100,000 per year. Just a few years later Asimov would have his own bypass surgery and be infected by HIV-contaminated blood.

Asimov had been born into Earth's Industrial Age during which the rate of fossil fuel burning and the rate of human population growth both exploded. Measurable increases in global temperature caused by humans began just about when Asimov was born.

The whole world was Asimov's candy shop, starting close to home with the candy stores that were owned by his family and where he began reading pulp science fiction magazines. The 1930s were a magical time for Asimov to be in his personal golden age of science fiction. Many of the classic themes of science fiction were first written into stories that Isaac read as a boy. Soon, Asimov was writing his own stories about robots and spaceships. Rockets, ray guns and robots powered the first space age; a fictional space age that Asimov helped to imagine.

The Editor
The second space age (the real space age) arrived in the late 1950s, right when I was born. Federal funding for the United States space program accelerated and for a time Asimov shifted away from writing Sci Fi stories towards writing mostly non-fiction books about science.

With growing populations and industrialization, pollution and environmental damage had become a major problem by the mid-20th century. The Environmental Protection Agency launched in 1970. In the early 1970s, Asimov published an account of the danger posed by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Asimov wondered if Humanity could unite behind some great project such as developing the technology that would allow Earth to switch from reliance on fossil fuels to use of clean solar energy.

In the early 1970s, I was in my own personal golden age of science fiction. When I discovered the science fiction stories of Asimov, they seemed to resonate with my view of reality. In some strange and wonderful sense, it seemed as if Asimov was speaking to me about events in time and space that were of much greater importance than mere flights of fancy.

In the late 1970s I discovered the writings of Jack Vance and I began to broaden my perspective on the science fiction genre as a medium of information exchange. As disparate as the styles of Asimov and Vance are, I felt that there was some deep link between the two "fictional" universes of Asimov and Vance.

In the 1980s, Asimov returned to writing science fiction novels and he expanded his positronic robot series and his Foundation saga and, most amazingly, inserted positronic robots into his future history of the Foundation. Then, suddenly, Asimov was gone.

Lucky for us, a "copy" of Asimov continued to live on. That artificial life copy of Asimov was removed from Earth and "he" visited several worlds of the Galactic Core. He even made the long journey to the Andromeda galaxy. A Search Beyond is the story of Asimov's return to Earth after 25 years of "planet hopping" and his subsequent investigation of the secrets of human-alien interactions in Deep Time. A Search Beyond reveals the deep linkage between Asimov's vision of a future Foundation and Vance's tales of a future Gaean Reach.

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The Exode Saga is a work in progress: a pathological case of recursive, investigative, collaborative science fiction. If you would like to join the fun and contribute to this on-going project, please let me know!
A Search Beyond is copyright John Schmidt, but the text of the story is  licensed for sharing under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license. 

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