In the book Foundation and Earth I think it is stated that no other alien life had been found in the galaxy that didn't originate from earth.

However, in the story "Victory Unintentional", collected in The Rest of the Robots, there are some alien creatures on Jupiter called Jovians. Since Foundation and Earth connects the Foundation universe with the Robot series, is this story canonical in the Foundation series?

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    Asimov stated that the books of his Robot, Empire, and Foundation series "offer a kind of history of the future, which is, perhaps, not completely consistent, since I did not plan consistency to begin with." _ en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_series_(Asimov)
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 9:41
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    I don't think you can do better than @Valorum's answer. In theory they're there; in practice they seem to be missing. Even Jove nods.
    – Mark Olson
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 11:15
  • "it is stated" Stated by whom? By the narrator, or by a character within the story? Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 21:29
  • Also potentially of interest to you is the link between Foundation and The End of Eternity as described in this question. Asimov left himself a bit of wiggle room by injecting the possibility of time travel shenanigans into his stories. There's a plausible argument to be made that the Jovians are simultaneously canonical with the Foundation universe and yet no longer part of the timeline of the Foundation or Robot novels, but absent a firm statement of intent by the author we're wandering somewhat into the realm of speculation.
    – jmbpiano
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 2:38
  • I was literally just going to ask about this very story when I saw this post (different question) because it's one of my favorite SciFi stories, even though it's so short. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:42

3 Answers 3


They are part of the same universe, but note that Foundation and Earth is set long after "Victory Unintentional".

The three robots — ZZ One, ZZ Two, and ZZ Three — were built by the United States Robots and Mechanical Men Corporation, the employer of Dr. Susan Calvin featuring in other stories. So this ties them to the Robot-series and through that, to the Foundation-series.

Foundation and Earth is set roughly 20,000 years after The Caves of Steel, which is set in the 50th century AD. We have no date nor chronology for "Victory Unintentional", but humans seem to have only recently developed force fields good enough to travel through space. Quite likely they haven't left the solar system yet, which puts the story quite some time before The Caves of Steel.

Also, Earth is quite hard to find in Foundation and Earth, as is the entire solar system. This leads us to the conclusion that either the Jovians have perished in the 20 millennia that have passed (perhaps their "eternal peace" wasn't as eternal as promised, and they lost), or that they never left Jupiter and were forgotten like Earth was.

Isaac Asimov himself disavows the notion of complete consistency.

The fourteen books [...] offer a kind of history of the future, which is, perhaps, not completely consistent, since I did not plan consistency to begin with.

Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov, "Author's Note" (preface).

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    That Asimov quote would have been a great reason not to write the 4th and 5th Foundation books as he did.
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 0:33

Asimov did not consider "Victory Unintentional" to be part of the Foundation universe. In his autobiography In Memory Yet Green, he wrote that the only story with extraterrestrials in the Foundation universe is “Blind Alley”:

I suggested to Campbell that I do a short story I planned to call “Blind Alley” [...] Campbell laughed and agreed, and on September 2, I began it.
    It was the one story written in the Foundation universe (whether part of the Foundation series or not) in which there were extraterrestrial intelligences. In all the other stories, a purely human Galaxy is described, with no other intelligent beings present and with no unusual or monstrous animals either.
In Memory Yet Green, 1979

Furthermore, he regretted placing “Blind Alley” in the Foundation universe:

“Blind Alley” was not really written as a Foundation story. I used the Galactic Empire background because that was convenient, but I was eventually sorry that I did, because there is just no room for any non-human intelligent species in the Foundation universe.
From a letter to Joseph F. Patrouch, quoted in The Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov, 1979

  • Does this mean that he didn't consider The End of Eternity to be part of the Foundation universe, either?
    – ruakh
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 1:34
  • @ruakh: Well, by the "End", there are no aliens to worry about; there have been hints (in Foundation's Edge, chapter 74) that the Eternity-like meddling may have been responsible for the all-human Galaxy. So it's not inconsistent; The End of Eternity may feature the possibility of aliens, but remove said possibility to allow the Foundation universe without them. Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 3:07
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    As far as I know, the Robot and Foundation universes were not consolidated into one continuity until the novel Robots and Empire', which was published in 1985 (or possibly there is some hint in 1982's Foundation's Edge?), so in 1979 Asimov presumably would not have considered any robot stories to be in the same continuity as the Foundation. I think these quote are relevant, but would draw a different conclusion: Asimov regretted mentioning any aliens within the canon, and would probably consider such mentions non-canonical.
    – IMSoP
    Commented Dec 14, 2019 at 19:16

In Foundation's Fears by Gregory Benford it is suggested that a wave of explorer robots may have exterminated (almost) all alien life in the galaxy. This is motivated by the first law of robotics - they must protect humans from harm, but are not required to place value on any other form of life. They have covered up their actions, to protect humans from having to feel bad about it.

This would explain the disappearance of the Jovians.

Foundations's Fears was authorized by the Asimov estate after his death. You may or may not consider it canon.

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