18

I'm well aware that the Galactic Empire from Isaac Asimov's has a famous emblem consisting of the "Spaceship and Sun".

I was wondering if the Foundation itself1 has an equivalent emblem described or depicted somewhere: it's been some years since I have read the Foundation books (except the two prequels Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation), and I can't recall if this is described somewhere. I'm planning a re-read of all Asimov's main books, but not immediately; maybe someone can help me with this meanwhile.

I'm really interested in answers that take in consideration also works by other authors, not just by Asimov himself, but please keep them limited to officially authorized/recognized as part of the broader cycle (e.g. the Second Foundation series by Benford, Bear & Brin, the Foundation's Friends anthology, etc.).

Please avoid fan-fiction.


1. I mean the institution founded by Hari Seldon, not the book series

5

Here's a quote from Foundation, part 5, The Merchant Princes (first published as The Big and the Little):

The butts of those weapons had, deeply etched upon them, in worn gold plating, the Spaceship-and-Sun! The same Spaceship-and-Sun that was stamped on every one of the great volumes of the original Encyclopedia that the Foundation had begun and not yet finished.

If the Foundation had its own emblem, then surely that would be on the encyclopedia instead of the emblem of the Galactic Empire. So to me this quote suggests that the Foundation doesn't have an emblem.

As Buzz points out in his comment, the Foundation could nevertheless have gotten an emblem at a later point in the timeline. However, a full text search for "emblem", "insignia", "logo" and "symbol" in Asimov's later Foundation novels doesn't bring up anything in this regard.

  • @Buzz: Fair enough. I updated my answer with a statement about the later novels. – Ubik Oct 21 '17 at 0:13
  • Officially, the foundation started out as an imperial project with the goal to write the encyclopedia, so they naturally would use the imperial emblem on the volumes. – Rad80 Nov 15 '18 at 13:48
3

If so, they don't put it on their ships as the Empire did:

The ship he stopped at was sleek and obviously fast. The peculiarity of its design was what he wanted. It was not a usual model - and these days most of the ships of this quadrant of the galaxy either imitated Foundation design or were built by Foundation technicians. But this was special. This was a Foundation ship - if only because of the tiny bulges in the skin that were the nodes of the protective screen that only a Foundation ship could possess. There were other indications, too.

-- Foundation and Empire, chapter 14

I've just finished re-reading the original trilogy, and there is no mention of any emblem representing the Foundation. In fact, apart from the Empire's Spaceship-and-Sun (Foundation, chapter 8) and Hober Mallow's monogram (Foundation and Empire, chapter 5) there are no emblems, flags, or other insignia of any sort. (The Foundation priests wore crimson robes, but that's not really the same thing.)

It should be noted that both the Spaceship-and-Sun and Hober Mallow's monogram were only introduced at the point when they became essential to the plot. I believe this is what TV Tropes calls The Law of Conservation of Detail. [WARNING: TV Tropes link. Obviously.]

However, the fact that Asimov needed Captain Pritcher to be able to identify Toran and Bayta's ship as being from the Foundation, but chose to do so by other means, suggests that he explicitly intended that the Foundation not have an emblem of any sort.

[Edit: I've since finished the two sequels and both of the prequels; nothing there either.]

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