Friday, August 5, 2011

Maps of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy

Sometimes a post does just what it says on the tin....

(Click on these for large 1 MB jpeg images)

I thought it might be fun to post them here, with a similar motivation as when I posted my Neverness FAQ; i.e., it might be helpful to someone as fodder to flesh out a sci-fi RPG campaign setting. When you've got the whole Milky Way Galaxy at your fingertips, the sky's the limit! :-)

I drew these maps in the early 1980s, and brought them with me to a local college at which Isaac Asimov was speaking and signing books. He happily signed my copy of Foundation's Edge, which was newly released, and I was elated that he signed this home-brewed map, too. For years I continued to think of these maps as the OFFICIAL maps of the Foundation trilogy's galaxy, because of the Good Doctor's signature on them. (Ha!)

I also got to ask him a question from the audience, but it was such a softball that I'm hesitant to tell the blogosphere what it was...

Okay, why not:  I asked him, out of all of his hundreds of novels, what his own favorite was. Hey, come on, I was like 13 or 14 and in awe of the dude.  His response was probably canned, but funny nonetheless: "My autobiography!"

Back to the present, I expected to find the Internet brimming with dozens of fan-made maps of the Foundation trilogy's Milky Way Galaxy.  But I only found one other, with captions in Thai script. (You'll have to scroll down a bit... the direct image link doesn't work.) There's also one that looks like a game board, but it wasn't meant as a literal map. Oh well... yet another instance in which I may just be the geekiest person in the room....


  1. Asimov's signature on your home made map? Holy crap! That's awesome.

  2. Cool maps and cool story, and the question is probably better than I'd think to ask even now.

  3. @Porky: Oh, no... that question was pure, but inadvertent, asskissery... I would have deserved a YDISsing had he been around...

    I got the feeling that Asimov was really making the college lecture rounds back then. This was a community college! (Not to knock community colleges, but one wouldn't have thought it would be high on an author's visit list!) :-)

  4. Very, very awesome. I've been working on a plugin for Escape Velocity Nova based on the Foundation trilogy, and the galactic map is the part that's been giving me the most trouble so far.

    I found a couple others online a few months back, including the Thai one you mentioned, but nothing really worth bothering with. (The other one is here, if you're curious.) Yours makes a lot more sense to me, especially since you put a lot of places--particularly Siwenna, Tazenda, and the Sirius sector--more or less where I would have. The fact that Asimov himself put his name on it doesn't hurt either.

    Thanks, and cheers,

    -- Shig

  5. @Shig: Thanks for the link to those other maps. I like that they give a little more detail about the "Z" direction above and below the galactic plane.

    Please feel free to use whatever you like from my old maps. I wish I could give a better electronic version (with clickable star positions or whatever), but these scans of pencil-on-paper are all that exist! :-)