These stories cover the period when the human race is spreading throughout the Galaxy, up to the time when Trantor forms the Galactic Empire.
The dates of the internal chronology are taken from Johnny Pez’s chronology – refer Johnny Pez’s Insanely Complete Fiction List [updated version February 2012]
AD = Anno Domini
GE = Galactic Era
FE = Foundational Era
|Date – internal chronology
||Story and publishing date
|| The Stars, Like Dust – (1951)
Fifty years before, the militant Tyranni occupied the Nebular Kingdoms – the worlds in the vicinity of the Horsehead Nebula. Biron Farrill, son of a nobleman on the planet Nephelos in the Nebular Kingdoms, has been studying at the University of Earth. There is an attempt on his life, and then he gets word that his father has been arrested and executed by the Tyranni. A countryman urges him to leave Earth, and seek sanctuary on the planet Rhodia, in the Nebular Kingdoms. But when he does, the Director of Rhodia (the ruler of the planet, but under the Tyranni occupation) tries to have him arrested and handed over to the Tyranni. Biron escapes, with the help of the Director’s daughter, Artemisia, and the Director’s cousin, Gillbret, and they steal a Tyrannian spaceship, and flee the planet. They decide to seek help from the Autarch (the ruler) of the planet Lingane, and thus try to locate the “rebellion world” where it is hoped they will find rebels planning to overthrow Tyranni rule.
||The Currents of Space (1952)
The planet Florina is a possession of the planet Sark, and the native Florinians are second-class citizens on their own planet. Florina is also the source of kyrt, a crop from which is produced the most wonderful garments, sought-after by the wealthy of the Galaxy. The production and processing of kyrt is therefore a major industry on Florina, with the wealth going to the Great Squires of Sark.
A man is found in one of the towns of Florina, with amnesia, and helpless as a baby. No one knows who he is. The Townman (the Florinian leader of the town, appointed by the Sarkites), Myrlyn Terens, hands over the care of the man to the woman, Valona March. They call the man Ryk, and gradually he learns to do things, and gets a job at the kyrt mill. However he doesn’t remember anything of the time before he was found. A doctor says that he must have been treated with a psychic probe.
Almost a year after he was found, Ryk starts to remember things. He was from Earth, and he was a Spatio-analyst – someone who collects and analyses the extremely small amounts of elements in space. And he is convinced that he had discovered that a catastrophic event would destroy all life on Florina.
|827 GE (12411 AD)
||Pebble in the Sky (1950)
As a result of a freak accident, Joseph Schwartz is transported from 1949 thousands of years into the future. Earth is radioactive, and the people of Earth are second-class citizens in the Galactic Empire. Confused, Schwartz is taken by a farmer to Dr Shekt to be treated by his experimental Synapsifier machine. Meanwhile Bel Arvadan, Galactic citizen and archaeologist, arrives on Earth to test the theory that Earth was the original planet from which the human race arose, and meets up with Dr Shekt and his daughter Pola. But Dr Shekt has discovered a plot by the rulers of Earth against the people of the Empire, which only Dr Shekt, Pola, Arvadan and Schwartz can counter.
||Blind Alley (1945)
Loodun Antyok is appointed as the Administrator of planet Cepheus 18, where there is an intelligent alien race, referred to as the Cepheids. These creatures have been transplanted from their home planet, because they were dying there, and are the subject of scientific study. However, the Cepheids are no longer breeding – they no longer see the point of perpetuating their species in a Galaxy dominated by humans.
Antyok makes use of the bureaucracy (with memos flying back and forth) to train them to pilot spaceships, and enable them to steal a fleet of spaceships, to escape to the Magellanic Clouds, but in such a way that Antyok himself will not be held responsible.
This story is one of the few written by Isaac Asimov that includes aliens, and possibly the only one in the Robots/Empire/Foundation sequence.
Key to collections in which these stories have appeared
(Titles in blue font are by authors other than Isaac Asimov)
IR = “I, Robot” (1950)
RR = “The Rest of the Robots” (1964)
CR = “The Complete Robot” (1982)
N = “Nightfall and Other Stories” (1969)
ERE = “Earth is Room Enough” (1957)
BM = “The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories” (1976)
BJ = “Buy Jupiter and Other Stories” (1975)
BIA = “The Best of Isaac Asimov” (1973)
RD = “Robot Dreams” (1986)
RV = “Robot Visions” (1990)
G = “Gold” (1995)
EA = “The Early Asimov” (1972)
FF = “Foundations Friends (1989)
RG = The Best of Randall Garrett (1982) (Randall Garrett collection)
T = Takeoff! (1980) (Another Randall Garrett collection)