Encyclopedia Galactica

The Encyclopedia Galactica is a fictional or hypothetical encyclopedia containing all the knowledge accumulated by a galaxy-spanning civilization. The name evokes the exhaustive aspects of the real-life Encyclopædia Britannica.

Asimov's Encyclopedia Galactica

Encyclopedia Galactica first appeared in Isaac Asimov's short story "Foundation" (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1942), later republished as "The Encyclopedists" in the short-story collection Foundation (1951). Asimov's Encyclopedia Galactica was a compendium of all knowledge then available in the Galactic Empire, intended to preserve that knowledge in a remote region of the galaxy in the event of a foreseen galactic catastrophe. The Encyclopedia is later revealed to be an element in an act of misdirection, with its real purpose being to concentrate a group of knowledgeable scientists on a remote, resource-poor planet, with the long-term aim of revitalizing the technologically stagnant and scientifically dormant empire. Originally published in a physical medium, it later becomes computerized and subject to continual change.

Asimov used the Encyclopedia Galactica as a literary device throughout his Foundation series, beginning many of the book sections or chapters with a short extract from the Encyclopedia discussing a key character or event in the story.

Theodore Wein considers the Encyclopedia Galactica as possibly inspired by a reference in H.G. Wells' "The Shape of Things to Come" (1933). The future world envisioned by Wells includes an "Encyclopaedic organization which centres upon Barcelona, with seventeen million active workers" and which is tasked with creating "the Fundamental Knowledge System which accumulates, sorts, keeps in order and renders available everything that is known". As pointed out by Wein, this Wells book was at its most well-known and influential in the late 1930's - coinciding with "the period of incubation" when the young Asimov became interested in Science Fiction, reading a lot of it and starting to formulate his own ideas.[1]

Later instances in fiction

Various authors have invoked the Encyclopædia Galactica in both science and science fiction. The first may have been author Frank Holby's short story "The Strange Case of the Missing Hero" in the July 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction which featured Sebastian Lelong, editor of the Encyclopedia. It was also a common fixture in previous incarnations of the Legion of Super-Heroes comic books,[2] and has appeared in the Star Wars expanded universe[3] and Superman comics set in the future.[4] The "Encyclopedia Galactica" was also mentioned as being a collection of all the knowledge of a galactic Empire in the science fiction short story called "The Originist", which was written by American novelist Orson Scott Card in 1989, and took place in Isaac Asimov's fictional "Foundation" Universe.

In the comic science fiction series by Douglas Adams, the Galactica is frequently contrasted with the apparently more popular Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words "DON'T PANIC" inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

Robert A. Heinlein mentioned the Encyclopedia in chapter three of To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987): "... the computer that led the Lunar Revolution on time line three, code 'Neil Armstrong.' Let's skip the details; it's all in Encyclopedia Galacta (sic) and other books."

In Arthur C. Clarke's and Gentry Lee's novel Rama II (1989), Nicole des Jardins says to Richard Wakefield, "Just think, the sum of everything all human beings know or have ever known might be nothing more than an infinitesimal fraction of the Encyclopedia Galactica."[5]

Other uses

There was a series of five video documentaries entitled Encyclopædia Galactica in 1993, with the titles “The Inner Solar System”, “The Outer Solar System”, “Star Trekking”, “Discovery”, and “Astronomy and the Stars”. The videos were produced by York Films of England and distributed by Encyclopædia Britannica (Australia).[6] Other entities associated with the production of the video series were Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corporation, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel Europe, S4C Wales, System TV France and Yleisradio Finland.[7]

There was an Encyclopedia Galactica: from the Fleet Library aboard the Battlestar Galactica published in 1978. Aimed at a juvenile audience, this was a tie in to the Battlestar Galactica television series being broadcast at the time.[8]

In reality

The term has been used in non-fictional contexts as well. One example is its use by Carl Sagan (1934–1996) in his 1980 book Cosmos, and his documentary video series of the same name, to refer to a text where hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations could store all of their information and knowledge.[9]

Wikipedia has been described as an Encyclopedia Galactica since early in its history (2005).[10][11] These comparisons have been to both the Asimov version,[12] and the Adams version,[13][14] due to its comprehensive coverage.

See also


  1. ^ Wein, Theodore, "4", HG Wells and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, pp. 25–26
  2. ^ "Encyclopedia Galactica". www.orionsarm.com. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  3. ^ "HoloNet News: Duros Dispute Encyclopedia" Archived August 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "The Secret Origin of the Golden Age Superman". p 2. Roy Thomas, Wayne Boring, and Jerry Ordway.
  5. ^ Charles Clarke, Arthur; Lee, Gentry (1989). Rama II. Bantam Books. p. 305. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia galactica. National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Encyclopedia galactica: the inner solar system [England]: York Films of England, 1993 at 21:09
  8. ^ Kraus, Bruce (1979). Encyclopedia Galactica: from the Fleet Library aboard the Battlestar Galactica. New York: Windmill Books and E.P. Dutton.
  9. ^ Malone, Adrian; Haines-Stiles, Geoffrey (1980-12-14), Encyclopaedia Galactica, Carl Sagan, Alan Belod, Jean Charney, retrieved 2018-02-09
  10. ^ Boutin, Paul (2005-05-03). "Galaxy Quest". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  11. ^ Phoebe., Ayers, (2008). How Wikipedia works : and how you can be a part of it. Matthews, Charles, 1954-, Yates, Ben. San Francisco: No Starch Press. p. 33. ISBN 9781593271763. OCLC 560644140.
  12. ^ "The Science of Future Past: Did Asimov's Foundation Predict Wikipedia?". Tor.com. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  13. ^ Lynch, Jack (2016-02-23). You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia (1st ed.). Bloomsbury Press.
  14. ^ "Don't panic! 'Hitchhiker's Guide' tech jumps off the page into reality". CNET. 2016-05-25. Retrieved 2018-02-09.

External links

Bishop Ring (habitat)

A Bishop Ring is a type of hypothetical rotating space habitat originally proposed in 1997 by Forrest Bishop of the Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering. The concept is a smaller scale version of the Banks Orbital, which itself is a smaller version of the Ringworld. Like other space habitat designs, the Bishop Ring would spin to produce artificial gravity by way of centrifugal force. The design differs from the classical designs produced in the 1970s by Gerard K. O'Neill and NASA in that it would use carbon nanotubes instead of steel, allowing the habitat to be built much larger. In the original proposal, the habitat would be approximately 1,000 km (620 mi) in radius and 500 km (310 mi) in width, containing 3 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles) of living space, comparable to the area of Argentina or India.

Because of its enormous scale, the Bishop Ring would not need to be enclosed like the Stanford torus: it could be built without a "roof", with the atmosphere retained by artificial gravity and atmosphere retention walls some 200 km (120 mi) in height. The habitat would be oriented with its axis of rotation perpendicular to the plane of its orbit, with either an arrangement of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto the inner rim or an artificial light source in the middle, powered by a combination of solar panels on the outer rim and solar power satellites.Also unlike the 1970s NASA proposals, where habitats would be placed in cislunar space or the Earth-Moon L₄/L₅ Lagrangian points, Forrest Bishop considered other possible positions, including the much more distant Sun-Earth L₄/L₅ Lagrangian points, positions closer to the sun, and positions in the asteroid belt or beyond.

Comparative advertising

Comparative advertising or advertising war is an advertisement in which a particular product, or service, specifically mentions a competitor by name for the express purpose of showing why the competitor is inferior to the product naming it. Also referred to as "knocking copy", it is loosely defined as advertising where “the advertised brand is explicitly compared with one or more competing brands and the comparison is obvious to the audience.”This should not be confused with parody advertisements, where a fictional product is being advertised for the purpose of poking fun at the particular advertisement, nor should it be confused with the use of a coined brand name for the purpose of comparing the product without actually naming an actual competitor. ("Wikipedia tastes better and is less filling than the Encyclopedia Galactica.")

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defined comparative advertising as “advertisement that compares alternative brands on objectively measurable attributes or price, and identifies the alternative brand by name, illustration or other distinctive information.” This definition was used in the case Gillette Australia Pty Ltd v Energizer Australia Pty Ltd. Similarly, the Law Council of Australia recently suggested that comparative advertising refers to “advertising which include reference to a competitor’s trademark in a way which does not impute proprietorship in the mark to the advertiser.”Comparative advertisements could be either indirectly or directly comparative, positive or negative, and seeks “to associate or differentiate the two competing brands”. Different countries apply differing views regarding the laws on comparative advertising.

Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia

Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia may refer to one of the following:

"The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia: Our Search for Life in Outer Space", by Joseph A. Angelo (1991) ISBN 0-8160-2276-3 (hardcover)

"The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia: An Alphabetical Reference to All Life in the Universe", by David Darling (2000) ISBN 0-8129-3248-X (paperback)

"Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters" by Ronald Story (2001) ISBN 0-451-20424-7 (It was the result of a collaborative Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia Project (ETEP); excerpts online)See also: "Encyclopedia Galactica"

Fictional book

A fictional book is a book (created specifically for a work of fiction) that sometimes provides the basis of the plot of a story, a common thread in a series of books, or the works of a particular writer or canon of work. A fictional book may also be used as a mode of conceit to illustrate a story within a story.

Fictional encyclopaedism

Fictional encyclopaedism is a term used in literary studies and is not to be confused with fictional encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia Galactica, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Fictional encyclopaedism is a style of fiction writing; a literary technique. James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick are examples of fictional encyclopaedism due to their didactic tone and reach for infinite inclusiveness and encyclopedic range of topics with essay-like text.

Peter Wilkins stresses the conveyance of vast amount of information and the attempt at nearly exhaustive coverage of subject matter.

Foundation's Triumph

Foundation's Triumph (1999) is a science fiction novel by David Brin, set in Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe. It is the third book of the Second Foundation trilogy, which was written after Asimov's death by three authors, authorized by the Asimov estate. Brin synthesizes dozens of Foundation-Empire-Robots novels and short stories by Isaac Asimov, Roger MacBride Allen, and authorized others into a consistent framework. Foundation's Triumph includes an appendix chronology compiled by Attila Torkos.

Foundation (Asimov novel)

Foundation is a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov. It is the first published in his Foundation Trilogy (later expanded into the Foundation Series). Foundation is a cycle of five interrelated short stories, first published as a single book by Gnome Press in 1951. Collectively they tell the early story of the Foundation, an institute founded by psychohistorian Hari Seldon to preserve the best of galactic civilization after the collapse of the Galactic Empire.

Foundation series

The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. For nearly thirty years, the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Asimov began adding to the series in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation. The additions made reference to events in Asimov's Robot and Empire series, indicating that they were also set in the same fictional universe.

The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before a second great empire arises. Seldon's calculations also show there is a way to limit this interregnum to just one thousand years. To ensure the more favorable outcome and reduce human misery during the intervening period, Seldon creates the Foundation – a group of talented artisans and engineers positioned at the twinned extreme ends of the galaxy – to preserve and expand on humanity's collective knowledge, and thus become the foundation for the accelerated resurgence of this new galactic empire.


Galactica may refer to:

the Encyclopedia Galactica of Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels

Galactica (moth), a moth genus

Battlestar Galactica (disambiguation), a fictional spacecraft and an American science fiction franchise

Imperium Galactica, a computer game

Galactica: Anno Dominari, another computer game

Galactica, a roller coaster at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England

Hari Seldon

Hari Seldon is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. In his capacity as mathematics professor at Streeling University on the planet Trantor, Seldon develops psychohistory, an algorithmic science that allows him to predict the future in probabilistic terms. On the basis of his psychohistory he is able to predict the eventual fall of the Galactic Empire and to develop a means to shorten the millennia of chaos to follow. The significance of his discoveries lies behind his nickname "Raven" Seldon.

In the first five books of the Foundation series, Hari Seldon made only one in-the-flesh appearance, in the first part of the first book (Foundation), although he did appear at other times in pre-recorded messages to reveal a Seldon Crisis. After writing five books in chronological order, Asimov went back with two books to better describe the initial process. The two prequels—Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation—describe his life in considerable detail. He is also the central character of the Second Foundation Trilogy written after Asimov's death (Foundation's Fear by Gregory Benford, Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear, and Foundation's Triumph by David Brin), which are set after Asimov's two prequels.

Hober Mallow

Hober Mallow is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. He is the central protagonist of "The Merchant Princes", the final short story of Asimov's Foundation.

McKendree cylinder

A McKendree cylinder is a type of hypothetical rotating space habitat originally proposed at NASA's Turning Goals into Reality conference in 2000 by NASA engineer Tom McKendree. As with other space habitat designs, the cylinder would spin to produce artificial gravity by way of centrifugal force. The design differs from the classical designs produced in the 1970s by Gerard K. O'Neill and NASA in that it would use carbon nanotubes instead of steel, allowing the habitat to be built much larger. In the original proposal, the habitat would consist of two cylinders approximately 460 km (290 mi) in radius and 4600 km (2900 mi) in length, containing 13 million square kilometers (5.1 million square miles) of living space, nearly as much land area as that of Russia.

As originally proposed, the McKendree cylinder is simply a scaled-up version of the O'Neill cylinder. Like the O'Neill cylinder, McKendree proposed dedicating half of the surface of the colony to windows, allowing direct illumination of the interior. The habitat would be composed of a pair of counter-rotating cylinders which would function like momentum wheels to control the habitat's orientation.

Salvor Hardin

Salvor Hardin is a fictional character who appears in two parts of Isaac Asimov's novel Foundation. The two parts were initially published as short stories before being published in novel form. Hardin is the first mayor of Terminus City, the sole inhabited location on the planet Terminus.


A shellworld is any of several types of hypothetical megastructures:

A planet or a planetoid turned into series of concentric matryoshka doll-like layers in the supported by massive pillars. A shellworld of this type features prominently in Matter (novel).

A megastructure consisting of multiple layers of shells suspended above each other by orbital rings supported by hypothetical mass stream technology. This type of shellworld can be theoretically suspended above any type of stellar body, including planets, gas giants, stars and black holes. The most massive type of shellworld could be built around supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies.

An inflated canopy holding high pressure air around an otherwise airless world to create a breathable atmosphere. The pressure of the contained air supports the weight of the shell.

Completely hollow shell worlds can also be created on a planetary or larger scale by contained gas alone, also called gravitational balloons, as long as the outward pressure from the contained gas balances the gravitational contraction of the entire structure, resulting in no net force on the shell. The scale is limited only by the mass of gas enclosed; the shell can be made of any mundane material. The shell can have an additional atmosphere on the outside.

Terminus (planet)

Terminus is a fictional planet at the edge of the Galaxy in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, home of the Foundation (later capital of the Foundation Federation).

The Foundation Trilogy (BBC Radio)

Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy was adapted for the BBC in eight hour-long episodes by Patrick Tull (episodes 1 to 4) and Mike Stott (episodes 5 to 8), directed by David Cain, first broadcast in 1973, and repeated in 1977 and 2002.


Trantor is a fictional planet in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series and Empire series of science fiction novels.

Trantor was first mentioned in Asimov's short story, "Black Friar of the Flame", later collected in The Early Asimov, Volume 1. It was described as a human-settled planet in the part of the galaxy not ruled by an intelligent reptilian race (later defeated). Later, Trantor gained prominence when the 1940s Foundation series first appeared in print (in the form of short stories). Asimov described Trantor as being in the center of the galaxy. In later stories he acknowledged the growth in astronomical knowledge by retconning its position to be as close to the galactic center as was compatible with human habitability. The first time it was acknowledged in novel form was in Pebble in the Sky.

Universal library

A universal library is a library with universal collections. This may be expressed in terms of it containing all existing information, useful information, all books, all works (regardless of format) or even all possible works. This ideal, although unrealizable, has influenced and continues to influence librarians and others and be a goal which is aspired to. Universal libraries are often assumed to have a complete set of useful features (such as finding aids, translation tools, alternative formats, etc.).

Yugo Amaryl

Yugo Amaryl is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. Amaryl, along with Hari Seldon, worked on psychohistory until his death at age 52.

Asimov fleshes-out the character's origins in Prelude to Foundation (1988). Amaryl was born on Trantor in the Dahl sector. He worked as a "heatsinker", one of many people tending the vast subterranean operations that generate energy from heat in the deep recesses of the planet. The work was hard, hot and did not require great intelligence. These menial workers tended to be ostracized by those not forced to work underground.

Amaryl managed to discover and study mathematics with the help of a friendly librarian. He met Seldon when the latter visited the heatsink complex out of curiosity whilst fleeing from Eto Demerzel and living in Dahl. Seldon immediately recognized and fostered Amaryl's innate mathematical abilities and was able to get him into University. He eventually gained a doctorate and became Seldon's closest and most trusted co-worker. Amaryl's devotion to his work would be his undoing, giving him an early death from overwork.

Yugo Amaryl…..Physicist and Mathematician. He is in the position after Seldon in his Psychohistorical contribution for Future Developments. Himself……

He started his life dramatically in Dahl Sector more than his contribution in Psychohistory. He had born in extremely poor in Dahl Sector of Trantor. His life may pass as a very simple person, if unfortunately he did not meet with Hari Seldon………

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