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I have a rather obscure question about the 'Starship-and-Sun' logo of the Galactic Empire from the Foundation Series of books by Isaac Asimov.

Is there an official logo that was produced by Asimov himself or on the cover of a book edition? I've seen lots of renditions that are all nice (including the one from Wikimedia below) but I would like to know if there is an official version.

I know this is a very odd question, and one that might not have an answer but I thought it was worth asking...

enter image description here

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    I'm reasonably sure the books refer to the "spaceship and sun". I don't recall the word "starship" being used. – Keith Thompson Jun 21 '14 at 20:28
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    I'm working from a 15 year old memory here, but I remember having a problem with this emblem because I think the spaceship was described as cigar shaped in one of the Empire books. – System Down Jun 21 '14 at 21:07
  • I think that there will always be variation though in an empire so large. As long as the emblem is a space ship flying in front of a sun i think it would still be recognized. – HarryG Jun 21 '14 at 23:49
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    Is this the spaceship-and-sun logo? Is that red circle a sun, and is that black thing a spaceship? – user14111 Apr 14 '16 at 7:00
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    @user14111 Wow, I think that's worth an answer. – recognizer Apr 14 '16 at 18:22
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You can see the "Spaceship-and-Sun" logo on this 1991 book cover for "Prelude to Foundation"

Prelude to Foundation

And if you squint, you can also see it on the cover of the 1991 edition of "Foundation and Empire".

enter image description here

Since both books were produced during Asimov's lifetime, we can reasonably assume that he would have viewed and approved both cover images.


As mentioned by @SystemDown, the logo on the book-cover is only a partial match for the description in the books themselves;

From "Foundation"

There was only one thing in his mind. The golden globe with its conventionalized rays, and the oblique cigar shape that was a space vessel.

The Spaceship-and-Sun of the Empire!

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  • My favorite Spaceship and Sun logo is the one I use for my avatar! – SaintWacko Oct 13 '14 at 16:19
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    Just a note, authors generally have absolutely no control over the book cover, many successful authors have been quite horrified at the covers their books end up with. It is part of the marketing departments job of the publisher to come up with a cover that sells books and consulting the author is often not part of the process. – John Meacham Apr 14 '16 at 3:09
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    @JohnMeacham - That's true but my understanding is that Asimov insisted on hand-choosing the covers for his books and magazine articles precisely because he hated losing editorial control. – Valorum Apr 14 '16 at 5:41
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    It is possible asimov had a special clause in his contract letting him choose covers. Stross wrote an article on why he can't choose the covers. an interesting one is apparently different covers behave radically differently in different markets, my idea of a good cover in california may not fly in the UK for instance. antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/03/… – John Meacham Apr 15 '16 at 0:50
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    @JohnMeacham - It always struck me that Stross was a) atypically open about the publishing process but also b) really crap at negotiating with his publisher. The idea that he's just a hired gun with limited editorial control speaks volumes about his not really caring about his contract as long as the money keeps flowing into his account. Authors who're obsessive about their works (every damn aspect) include the likes of Carroll, Tolkien, Asimov, etc etc. where they've insisted on picking over every fine detail before letting the public see their books. – Valorum Apr 15 '16 at 6:30
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To add to the trivia:

I happen to have this book: The Foundation Trilogy (1983) - in fact I'm currently re-reading it - and you can see on the cover artwork, on the "wing" of the spaceship (partly damaged by what might have been a laser blast) what corresponds at least in part to the description of the logo from the book (see a few posts back):

  • golden globe - check;
  • conventionalized rays - er, no;
  • cigar shape - check (if a bit fat);
  • oblique - er, no.

It would surprise me if this cover had been approved by the good Doctor himself though.

Part of the book cover zoomed in to show what appears to be the logo on the spaceship as described above

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  • Considering your edit you seem to have created a secondary account, you might want to consider merging them so you can take ownership of the post again. You then probably want to register your account as unregistered accounts are cookie based and you might lose access to it again in the future. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 2 '20 at 13:44
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It would be fairly unusual for anything on a book cover, especially an older one, to be approved by the author. But if we're going by book cover art, the cover of The 1,000 Year Plan (1955) shows a uniformed man with what appears to be a representation of the sun-and-spaceship emblem.

(The 1,000 Year Plan contains the 3 of the original Foundation stories from 1942-1944 along with "The Psychohistorians" from 1951.)

Ace cover for "The 1,000 Year Plan"

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