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Encyclopedia > Foundation (novel)
Foundation

Dust-jacket of the first edition
Author Isaac Asimov
Cover artist David Kyle
Country United States
Language English
Series Foundation Series
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher Gnome Press
Publication date 1951
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 255 pp
ISBN NA
Preceded by Forward the Foundation
Followed by Foundation and Empire

Foundation is the first book in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy (later expanded into The Foundation Series). It is a collection of five short stories, which were first published together as a book by Gnome Press in 1951. It also appeared in 1955 as part of Ace Double D-110 under the title "The 1,000-Year Plan." Four of the stories were originally published in Astounding Magazine (with different titles) between 1942 and 1944, and the fifth was added when they first appeared in book form. Decades later, Asimov wrote two prequels to it. Later writers have added authorized tales to the series. Image File history File links Information. ... Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American Jewish author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... David Kyle is a New York-based fan since the earliest days of organized science fiction fandom. ... In political geography and international politics a country is a geographical entity, a territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Hari Seldons holographic image, pictured on a paperback edition of Foundation, appears at various times in the First Foundations history, to guide it through the social and economic crises that befall it. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Gnome Press was a US small-press publishing company primarily known for being the first to publish Isaac Asimovs Foundation Trilogy, and for bringing Robert E. Howards Conan the Barbarian stories back from pulp obscurity. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. ... Forward the Foundation Forward the Foundation is a novel written by Isaac Asimov. ... Foundation and Empire is a novel written by Isaac Asimov in 1952. ... Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American Jewish author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Gnome Press was a US small-press publishing company primarily known for being the first to publish Isaac Asimovs Foundation Trilogy, and for bringing Robert E. Howards Conan the Barbarian stories back from pulp obscurity. ... Ace Doubles See also Ace Books. ... Astounding Stories was a seminal science fiction magazine founded in 1930. ...

Contents

The Psychohistorians

Plot summary

The story begins on Trantor, the capital planet of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Though it has endured for so long, and appears outwardly to be strong and stable, the Empire has been imperceptibly declining for centuries. The only one who realizes this is Hari Seldon, a mathematician who has developed the science of psychohistory, by which it is possible to predict future events by extrapolating from historic trends. He has set up a project which is increasingly harassed by Imperial officials from the Commission of Public Safety — the actual rulers of the Empire. They finally arrest Seldon and Gaal Dornick, a young mathematician who has just arrived to join the project. Trantor is a fictional planet in Isaac Asimovs Foundation series and Empire series of science fiction novels. ... In Isaac Asimovs Robot/Empire/Foundation series of novels, the Galactic Empire is an empire consisting of planets settled by humans across the whole galaxy. ... Hari Seldon (cover art for Foundation, by Stephen Youll) Hari Seldon is the intellectual hero of Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series. ... Psychohistory is the name of a fictional science in Isaac Asimovs Foundation universe, which combined history, psychology and mathematical statistics to create a (nearly) exact science of the behavior of very large populations of people, such as the Galactic Empire. ... Gaal Dornick is a fictional character in Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series. ...


At Seldon's trial, more details begin to emerge. Seldon predicts that the Empire will collapse within 300 years, leading to a 30,000-year period of anarchy before a Second Empire is established. The purpose of his project is to influence events so that the interregnum period will be only 1,000 years, instead of 30,000. This will be done, he says, by the production and dissemination by his team of an Encyclopedia Galactica, which will contain all known human knowledge. The Commission is satisfied that Seldon's project is not a threat to the Empire, but wants to quiet him. He and his team are exiled to Terminus, a small planet on the periphery of the galaxy, to work on the Encyclopedia, which is chartered as an Imperial foundation. Several fascinating conclusions are reached during Seldon's conversation with Dornick after the end of the trial: that the Psychohistorians of Trantor maneuvered the Commissioners to relocate the Encyclopedia Galactica Foundation to Terminus; and that the Foundation is an active rebellion against the authoritative Empire, which Seldon describes as having lost all the virility it once had. In the realist theory of International Relations, the anarchical system that all states find themselves in is the lack of clear organisation of states into a hieracical order that is found within states. ... An interregnum is a period between monarchs, between popes of the Roman Catholic Church, emperors of Holy Roman Empire, polish kings (elective monarchy) or between consuls of the Roman Republic. ... An entry about the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (Marketing Division) from the Encyclopaedia Galactica as featured on the BBC TV series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. ... Terminus is a fictional planet at the edge of the Galaxy in Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series, capital of the Foundation. ...


Background

"The Psychohistorians" is the only part of the Foundation Trilogy that was not originally published in Astounding Magazine and was, in fact, the last part of the trilogy that Asimov wrote (though, chronologically, it describes the earliest events). Asimov wrote this story circa 1950 when the series was being prepared for publication in book form by Gnome Press, who felt that the series began too abruptly. However, most people do not know that there was another, very brief, opening[1] that originally preceded "Foundation" (which was later published as "The Encyclopedists"), which was the first story written. The story is notable for featuring the pocket calculator more than two decades before it was made possible by integrated circuits. The events in this story were expanded in Greg Bear's book Foundation and Chaos. Astounding Stories was a seminal science fiction magazine founded in 1930. ... Gnome Press was a US small-press publishing company primarily known for being the first to publish Isaac Asimovs Foundation Trilogy, and for bringing Robert E. Howards Conan the Barbarian stories back from pulp obscurity. ... A basic arithmetic calculator. ... Integrated circuit of Atmel Diopsis 740 System on Chip showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery Microchips with a transparent window, showing the integrated circuit inside. ... Gregory Dale Bear (born August 20, 1951) is a science fiction author. ... Foundation and Chaos (1998) is a science fiction novel by Greg Bear, set in Isaac Asimovs Foundation universe. ...


The Encyclopedists

Cover illustration of Psychohistorian: Hari Seldon from a later Bantam Books edition
Cover illustration of Psychohistorian: Hari Seldon from a later Bantam Books edition

(50 F.E.) (published May 1942 as "Foundation") Download high resolution version (400x687, 71 KB)Scan I made of the cover of Foundation (Isaac Asimov) - fair use claimed This image is a book cover. ... Download high resolution version (400x687, 71 KB)Scan I made of the cover of Foundation (Isaac Asimov) - fair use claimed This image is a book cover. ...


Fifty years after the events in "The Psychohistorians," Terminus is facing the first of the "Seldon Crises," the events which will force it into choices that will eventually lead to the Second Empire. Four nearby provinces of the Empire have rebelled, forming independent kingdoms. Those kingdoms are fairly barbarous, and the leaders of the most powerful, Anacreon, begin threatening Terminus, which they covet for its strategic location vis-a-vis their rivals, and for its advanced technology. Terminus has no mineral wealth — steel is so valuable that it is used to coin money — and so the Anacreonean envoys propose to implement a form of feudalism in exchange for "protection" from the other kingdoms. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with The Foundation Series. ... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste. ... A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a powerful organization coerces individuals or businesses to pay protection money which allegedly serves to purchase the organizations protection services against various external threats, whereas the actual threat comes from the organization itself. ...


The Encyclopedia Galactica Foundation's Board of Trustees is blind to the danger, spending all of its time working on the Encyclopedia. The Mayor of Terminus City, Salvor Hardin, does perceive the danger but lacks the legal authority to act, all power under the Foundation's charter being vested in the Board of Trustees. Hardin had the good fortune to have been trained by Dr. Bor Alurin, the only Second Foundationer (see Second Foundation), to have settled on Terminus, as a psychologist. Hardin did not complete his studies under Alurin, and thus was unable to become a psychological engineer, so he entered local politics instead. He realizes that the key to beating this crisis is to play the four kingdoms off each other. The fictional Salvor Hardin is a mayor of Terminus, location of the Foundation created by Hari Seldon in Isaac Asimovs fictional Foundation series. ... Second Foundation Second Foundation is the third novel of the Foundation series written in 1970. ...


At the ceremonial opening of the time-locked vault at the Seldon Museum, a holographic image of Seldon appears and announces that the Encyclopedia project has been a fraud from its inception: the real purpose of the settlement of Terminus has been to place the Foundation out of reach of the Empire for the near-term. The Board of Trustees are devastated, but fortunately for the Foundation, Hardin has engineered a bloodless coup, leaving him in control of the planet, free to carry out his strategy. The first Seldon Crisis has been passed in accordance with the plan.


The Mayors

(80 F.E.) (published June 1942 as "Bridle and Saddle")


Three decades later, relationships between the Foundation and nearby systems are based in technology transfer and Scientism, a religion which the Foundation sets up around its technology to control the several larger systems that surround them. Only the priests (who are educated on Terminus) have the knowledge to use the technology, and their knowledge is purely empirical, without an understanding of the science behind the devices. The Priesthood system caps any possible scientific rebellion and delocalization of knowledge: the most brilliant students of the sciences remain on Terminus as research students and finally citizens, drastically enhancing the scientific superiority of the Foundation. Scientism or the Church of Science is a fictional religion from Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series. ...


Salvor Hardin remains the great Mayor of Terminus, although his political dominance is being challenged by a rival party demanding "direct action" to challenge the military dominance of the surrounding systems. Wienis, the Prince Regent of Anacreon, the largest of the Four Kingdoms, plans to take over the Foundation by force of arms; his plans furthered by the fortuitous recovery and salvage of a mighty warship — an old Imperial cruiser restored by Foundation fleet technicians — which is used by the Foundation in an attempted appeasement effort. However, when he utimately launches his attack, he learns that Hardin had foreseen the attack and sabotaged the ship, halting the attack on Terminus. When the populace of Anacreaon learn of Wienis's actions they revolt, viewing the entire series of events as blasphemous heresy, and a new treaty is signed with the Foundation that grants them unprecedented control over the Four Kingdoms. A planet from Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series, Anacreon was one of the most important worlds in the galactic periphery prior to the fall of the Galactic Empire. ... Terminus is a fictional planet at the edge of the Galaxy in Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series, capital of the Foundation. ...


Seldon, appearing again in the time vault after the crisis has passed, warns the Foundationers that the "spiritual power" of science, while sufficient for defense, is not sufficient to sustain a rapid political expansion, but leaves it to them to figure out the next step.


The Traders

(About 155 F.E.) (published October 1944 as "The Wedge")


Plot summary

About 75 years after the events of the previous story, Limmar Ponyets is dispatched to Askone, a world rich in raw materials which has thus far spurned any commerce with the Foundation, for fear that it would lead to the Foundation's Scientism religion controlling their society. Ponyets's job is to negotiate for the release of Eskel Gorov, a Foundation agent who was sent to find a way to initiate trade with Askone. This was a violation of that planet's law, and Gorov is scheduled to be executed. Scientism or the Church of Science is a fictional religion from Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series. ...


The Askonian society is dubious of technology, specifically any technology related to atomic forces, and practices ancestor worship. The Grand Master (their elderly leader) is firm about not accepting any technology from the Foundation, and about proceeding with Gorov's execution. However, Ponyets convinces them to release Gorov in exchange for a payment of gold, which is not only their medium of exchange, but also of religious importance. By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the surface of the Earth for the first time and explore space. ... Ancestor worship, also ancestor veneration, is a religious practice based on the belief that ones ancestors possess supernatural powers. ... GOLD refers to one of the following: GOLD (IEEE) is an IEEE program designed to garner more student members at the university level (Graduates of the Last Decade). ...


More importantly, Ponyets accomplishes Gorov's mission of creating an opening for Foundation trade. He blackmails a member of the governing council, Pherl, to buy all of his cargo, which consists of many devices and machines forbidden by Askonian law. He offers Pherl an elemental transmuter jury-rigged out of a "food irradiation chamber," a device which changes iron to gold and would give any Asknonian an unlimited amount of wealth. He records Pherl's use of the machine and, threatening to expose his use, gets Pherl to agree his demands. Pherl, who does not believe in his culture's superstitions against technology, then has an incentive to work towards the legalization of those machines, so that he can begin using and selling them to recoup his loss. It is indicated that Pherl, who is young for someone so important in government, will be the next Grand Master shortly, further hastening Askone's susceptibility to Foundation trade and the controlling religion that it brings with it. Ponyets and Gorov head back to Terminus with a shipload of tin, which Ponyets was able to extract from Pherl as part of their bargain. For other uses, see Blackmail (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Background

Though "The Traders" takes place before "The Merchant Princes," it was actually written and published later. Asimov went back to write it to make the transition from the Foundation's religious control to its economic influence more understandable and believable. This was made easier, due to a reference in "The Merchant Princes" concerning what happened on Askone (it is briefly indicated that Askone first allowed trade with the Foundation, and was soon inundated with missionaries, thereby losing all of its power to the Foundation).


Interestingly, the character of Limmar Ponyets is named "Lathan Devers" in the original story. Lathan Devers is the name of the trader who is heavily featured in "The General" (first published as "The Dead Hand"), the first of two stories in Foundation and Empire. Foundation and Empire is a novel written by Isaac Asimov in 1952. ...


The Merchant Princes

(About 175 F.E.) published August 1944 as "The Big and the Little")


Additional years pass, and the Foundation's economic influence and religious control of surrounding worlds continues to grow, though this is not yet matched by military and political domination. Three of the Foundation's atomic-powered ships have disappeared near the Republic of Korell, a nation that is suspected of developing advanced technology of its own, which would threaten the Foundation. Hober Mallow, a master trader (though not a Foundation agent), is sent to Korell on a trade mission, and is told to keep his eyes open and learn what he can about their technology and the missing ships. Korell is a planet in Foundation by Isaac Asimov. ... This article is in need of attention. ...


Korell does little commerce with the Foundation, and their leader, Commdor Asper Argo, is reluctant to adopt their technology. It is learned that Askone did indeed fall under the control of Scientism after it became dependent on Foundation technology. However, Mallow is not interested in proselytizing, he just wants to make money — and convinces the Commdor of this. After demonstrating the many useful products that he can sell them, ranging from steel foundry technology to miniature launderies and floor-scrubbers, Mallow signs contracts to provide them with such things, making huge profits for himself. He sees no sign of the missing ships while there, but he does discover that the Korellians retain some vestiges of atomic technology in the form of atomic handguns. Scientism or the Church of Science is a fictional religion from Isaac Asimovs Foundation Series. ...


Shortly after this, Mallow travels to the fringes of the Galactic Empire, where he finds out the true extent of the Empire's decline. Political leadership of the Empire has been unstable, rebellion is frequent among the planets, and opportunistic generals often arbitrarily massacre the planets they are sent to pacify. Equally stunning is the decline of the Empire's technological prowess: "tech-man" is a hereditary office held by persons who restrict themselves to simple maintenance of previously-produced machinery, which they are unable to fully understand or replicate.


After returning to Terminus, Mallow is denounced as a traitor for not spreading the Foundation's religion along with trade. Mallow argues that religion has played itself out as a means of furthering Foundation control. Trade, for now, will be the Foundation's tool for expanding into the Second Galactic Empire. Mallow is arrested for allegedly allowing a Foundation missionary to be killed while he was on Korell, but the event is shown to have been staged. Mallow eventually wins the next mayoral election, becoming leader of Terminus. In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to ones nation. ... Two Mormon missionaries A missionary is traditionally defined as a propagator of religion who works to convert those outside that community; someone who proselytizes. ...


Years later, the Foundation is invaded by the Korellians, who have been armed with nuclear technology by a general of the Galactic Empire seeking power and riches beyond the Empire's periphery. Although the Korellian ships are far too powerful for the Foundation to resist, Mallow is convinced that the Foundation will win in the end. As he explains, the Korellians have become dependent on Foundation technology to maintain their infrastructure and day-to-day lives. As the Foundation's equipment wears out in Korell's factories and homes, the resulting economic contractions would lead to a huge popular upheaval. Mallow is convinced that all the Foundation needs to do is avoid battle, as it might give the Korellians reason to support their government out of patriotism. Shortly after, Mallow's predictions come to pass, and Korell surrenders and is incorporated into the Foundation.


The Foundation is still far from the huge power the former Empire was, but it is rapidly growing and expanding its control and prestige.


See also

The Foundation Series This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


References

  • Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd., 300. 

Jack Laurence Chalker (December 17, 1944 - February 11, 2005) was an American science fiction author. ...

External links

The novels of Isaac Asimov

Robot Series: The Caves of Steel | The Naked Sun | The Robots of Dawn | Robots and Empire

Empire Series: The Stars, Like Dust | The Currents of Space | Pebble in the Sky

Foundation Series: Prelude to Foundation | Forward the Foundation
The trilogy: Foundation | Foundation and Empire | Second Foundation
Foundation's Edge | Foundation and Earth

Lucky Starr series (as Paul French):
David Starr, Space Ranger | Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids | Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus | Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury | Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter | Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn

Other science fiction novels: The End of Eternity | Fantastic Voyage | The Gods Themselves | Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain | Nemesis | Nightfall | The Ugly Little Boy | The Positronic Man

Mystery novels: The Death Dealers | Murder at the ABA Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American Jewish author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... Isaac Asimovs Robot Series is a series of books by Isaac Asimov, both collections of short stories and novels. ... The Caves of Steel is a book by Isaac Asimov. ... The Naked Sun is the second novel in Isaac Asimovs Robot series. ... The Robots of Dawn is a whodunit science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov, first published in 1983. ... Robots and Empire is a 1985 science fiction novel written by Isaac Asimov. ... The Galactic Empire Series contains Isaac Asimovs three earliest novels and one short story: The Stars, Like Dust (1951) The Currents of Space (1952) Pebble in the Sky (1950), his first novel Blind Alley (1945), short story reprinted in The Early Asimov They are only loosely connected. ... The Stars, Like Dust is a book by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. ... The Currents of Space is a 1952 novel by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. ... Pebble in the Sky - science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov, published in 1950. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Prelude to Foundation Prelude to Foundation is a novel written by Isaac Asimov. ... Forward the Foundation Forward the Foundation is a novel written by Isaac Asimov. ... Foundation and Empire is a novel written by Isaac Asimov in 1952. ... Second Foundation Second Foundation is the third novel of the Foundation series written in 1970. ... Foundations Edge Foundations Edge is a novel by Isaac Asimov, the fourth book in the Foundation Series. ... Foundation and Earth Foundation and Earth (1986) is a science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov, the fifth novel of the Foundation Series and chronologically the last in the series. ... Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name Paul French. Intended for juveniles, the books were written in the middle of the Cold War and the series shows traces of this, both in educational intent and in the nature of the... David Starr, Space Ranger is the first in a series of juvenile science fiction novels Isaac Asimov wrote in the early 1950s. ... Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name Paul French. Intended for juveniles, the books were written in the middle of the cold war and the series shows traces of this, both in educational intent and in the nature of the... Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name Paul French. Intended for juveniles, the books were written in the middle of the cold war and the series shows traces of this, both in educational intent and in the nature of the... Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name Paul French. Intended for juveniles, the books were written in the middle of the cold war and the series shows traces of this, both in educational intent and in the nature of the... Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name Paul French. Intended for juveniles, the books were written in the middle of the cold war and the series shows traces of this, both in educational intent and in the nature of the... Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name Paul French. Intended for juveniles, the books were written in the middle of the cold war and the series shows traces of this, both in educational intent and in the nature of the... The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov is a science fiction novel, with mystery and thriller elements, on the subjects of time travel and social engineering. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Gods Themselves is a 1972 science fiction novel written by Isaac Asimov (ISBN 1061500534). ... Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain is a 1987 science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov about a group of scientists that shrink down to microscopic size in order to operate on a brain tumor. ... Nemesis is a science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov. ... Nightfall is an influential science fiction short story (later adapted into a novel) by author Isaac Asimov, about the coming of darkness to the people of a planet ordinarily illuminated at all times on all sides. ... The Ugly Little Boy is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. ... The Bicentennial Man is a novella in the Robot Series by Isaac Asimov. ... The Death Dealers is a mystery novel by Isaac Asimov published in 1958 (later republished as A Whiff of Death). ... Murder at the ABA (1976) is a mystery novel by Isaac Asimov, following the adventures of a writer and amateur detective named Darius Just (whom Asimov modeled on his friend Harlan Ellison). ...

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Foundation (novel) - Biocrawler (1606 words)
The Psychohistorians is the only part of the Foundation Trilogy that was not originally published in Astounding Magazine and was, in fact, the last part of the trilogy that Asimov wrote (though, chronologically, it describes the earliest events).
Hober Mallow, a master trader (though not a Foundation agent), is sent to Korell on a trade mission and told to keep his eyes open and learn what he can about their technology and the missing ships.
Mallow is arrested for allegedly allowing a Foundation missionary to be killed while he was on Korell but the event was shown to be staged.
Foundation (novel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2045 words)
Several of the Foundation's atomic-powered ships have disappeared near the Republic of Korell, a nation that is suspected of developing advanced technology of its own, which would threaten the Foundation.
Hober Mallow, a master trader (though not a Foundation agent), is sent to Korell on a trade mission and told to keep his eyes open and learn what he can about their technology and the missing ships.
Years later, the Foundation is invaded by the Korellians, who have been armed with nuclear technology by a general of the Galactic empire seeking power and riches beyond the empire's periphery.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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