Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Case Study No. 1908: Homir Munn

Chapter 20 Part 5 Isaac Asimov - Second Foundation {audiobook}
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"Quite right," said Munn. "I was there all through the war. I told Stettin there was no Second Foundation and he believed me. He felt safe. But there was no way of making the people suddenly disbelieve what they had believed all their lives, so that the myth eventually served a very useful purpose in Seldon's cosmic chess game."

But Anthor's eyes opened, quite suddenly, and fixed themselves sardonically on Munn's countenance. "I say you lie."

Homir turned pale, "I don't see that I have to accept, much less answer, an accusation of that nature."

"I say it without any intention of personal offense. You cannot help lying; you don't realize that you are. But you lie just the same."

Semic laid his withered hand on the young man's sleeve. "Take a breath, young fella."

Anthor shook him off, none too gently, and said, "I'm out of patience with all of you. I haven't seen this man more than half a dozen times in my life, yet I find the change in him unbelievable. The rest of you have known him for years, yet pass it by. It is enough to drive one mad. Do you call this man you've been listening to Homir Munn? He is not the Homir Munn I knew."

A medley of shock; above which Munn's voice cried, "You claim me to be an impostor?"

"Perhaps not in the ordinary sense," shouted Anthor above the din, "but an impostor nonetheless. Quiet, everyone! I demand to be heard."

He frowned them ferociously into obedience. "Do any of you remember Homir Munn as I do--the introverted librarian who never talked without obvious embarrassment; the man of tense and nervous voice, who stuttered out his uncertain sentences? Does this man sound like him? He's fluent, he's confident, he's full of theories, and, by Space, he doesn't stutter. Is he the same person?"

Even Munn looked confused, and Pelleas Anthor drove on. "Well, shall we test him?"

"How?" asked Darell.

"You ask how? There is the obvious way. You have his encephalographic record of ten months ago, haven't you? Run one again, and compare."

He pointed at the frowning librarian, and said violently, "I dare him to refuse to subject himself to analysis."

"I don't object," said Munn, defiantly. "I am the man I always was."

"Can you know?" said Anthor with contempt. "I'll go further. I trust no one here. I want everyone to undergo analysis. There has been a war. Munn has been on Kalgan; Turbor has been on board ship and all over the war areas. Darell and Semic have been absent, too--I have no idea where. Only I have remained here in seclusion and safety, and I no longer trust any of the rest of you. And to play fair, I'll submit to testing as well. Are we agreed then? Or do I leave now and go my own way?"

Turbor shrugged and said, "I have no objection."

"I have already said I don't," said Munn.

Semic moved a hand in silent assent, and Anthor waited for Darell. Finally, Darell nodded his head.

"Take me first," said Anthor.

The needles traced their delicate way across the cross-hatchings as the young neurologist sat frozen in the reclining seat, with lidded eyes brooding heavily. From the files, Darell removed the folder containing Anthor's old encephalographic record. He showed them to Anthor.

"That's your own signature, isn't it?"

"Yes, yes. It's my record. Make the comparison."

The scanner threw old and new on to the screen. All six curves in each recording were there, and in the darkness, Munn's voice sounded in harsh clarity. "Well, now, look there. There's a change."

"Those are the primary waves of the frontal lobe. It doesn't mean a thing, Homir. Those additional jags you're pointing to are just anger. It's the others that count."

He touched a control knob and the six pairs melted into one another and coincided. The deeper amplitude of primaries alone introduced doubling.

"Satisfied?" asked Anthor.

Darell nodded curtly and took the seat himself. Semic followed him and Turbor followed him. Silently the curves were collected; silently they were compared.

Munn was the last to take his seat. For a moment, he hesitated, then, with a touch of desperation in his voice, he said, "Well now, look, I'm coming in last and I'm under tension. I expect due allowance to be made for that."

"There will be," Darell assured him. "No conscious emotion of yours will affect more than the primaries and they are not important."

It might have been hours, in the utter silence that followed--

And then in the darkness of the comparison, Anthor said huskily: "Sure, sure, it's only the onset of a complex. Isn't that what he told us? No such thing as tampering; it's all a silly anthropomorphic notion--but look at it! A coincidence I suppose."

"What's the matter?" shrieked Munn.

Darell's hand was tight on the librarian's shoulder. "Quiet, Munn--you've been handled; you've been adjusted by them."

Then the light went on, and Munn was looking about him with broken eyes, making a horrible attempt to smile.

"You can't be serious, surely. There is a purpose to this. You're testing me."

But Darell only shook his head. "No, no, Homir. It's true."

The librarian's eyes were filled with tears, suddenly. "I don't feel any different. I can't believe it." With sudden conviction: "You are all in this. It's a conspiracy."

Darell attempted a soothing gesture, and his hand was struck aside. Munn snarled, "You're planning to kill me. By Space, you're planning to kill me."

With a lunge, Anthor was upon him. There was the sharp crack of bone against bone, and Homir was limp and flaccid with that look of fear frozen on his face.

Anthor rose shakily, and said, "We'd better tie and gag him. Later, we can decide what to do." He brushed his long hair back.

Turbor said, "How did you guess there was something wrong with him?"

Anthor turned sardonically upon him. "It wasn't difficult. You see, I happen to know where the Second Foundation really is."


From bookrags.com:

The Second Foundation is the third installment in Issac Asimov's Foundation series. Divided into two parts, "Search by the Mule" and "Search By the Foundation," it details two unsuccessful attempts to try to find and destroy the Second Foundation. The Second Foundation thwarts the Mule's attempt when they trap him at the planet Rossem and condition his mind to believe the Second Foundation never existed. Fifty-five years later, the Foundation try to find the them in an attempt relinquish the control they have over their destiny. However, again, the Second Foundation proves too strong.

In the first part, the Mule has all but destroyed the Foundation and has begun to build his own Empire. However, he knows that he can never truly claim success until he has found and destroyed the mythical Second Foundation and sends his general, Hans Pritcher, and the untrustworthy Bail Channis out on a quest to find it. With his skills of mind control, the Mule knows Channis is an agent of the Second Foundation, but at the same time, relies on Channis to inadvertently lead the Mule to the right location.

Channis takes Pritcher to the planet Rossem. At this point, Pritcher becomes suspicious of his comrade and arrests him on treason. He tells Channis that in fifteen minutes the Mule will arrive and kill him. However, by the time Mule arrives, Channis has taken over Pritchard's mind. Though his mind control is inferior to the Mule's, he tells him if he does not put down his blaster, he will give Pritchard the order to kill him. If the Mule puts down his blaster then he can have back Pritchard's mind. The Mule relinquishes his weapon and sets about weakening Channis' resolve. Fortunately, Channis only has to wait a few moments before the Second Foundation's First Speaker enters the room. The First Speaker tells the Mule that Channis has taken him to the wrong planet. Channis thinks Rossem is the Second Foundation, but only because the Second Foundation has conditioned his mind. Channis agreed to the conditioning so as to lead the Mule into a trap without being at risk of giving away their true location. At this point, the Mule drops his guard, and the First Speaker enters his mind. He conditions the Mule to believe the Second Foundation does not exist.

In the second part, the 14-year old Arcadia Darell is writing a report for school when a man appears at her window. The man's name is Pelleas Anthor and says he has come to see her father Dr. Darell. At this point Dr. Darell enters his daughter's room. He has been expecting Anthor and takes him downstairs to talk.

Seven days later Dr. Darell, Anthor, Homir Munn, Dr. Elvett Semic and Jole Turbor meet to discuss the Second Foundation. They decide to send Homir Munn to Kalgan where he can visit the Mule's now empty palace and find information. Upstairs, Arcadia listens into their conversation.

The next day Munn leaves for Kalgan. However, midway through the journey he finds Arcadia hiding in his baggage compartment. Realizing to turn back would look suspicious, he decides he has no choice but to take Arcadia with him.

When they arrive in Kalgan, Munn manages to set up a meeting with the Kalgan leader Lord Stettin. Stettin permits Munn access to the Mule's records but soon becomes suspicious of his real motives. On their second meeting, Stettin tells Munn he knows the real reason he has come to Kalgan and has decided to hold him and Arcadia prisoner, while he conducts a war against the Foundation. In the next room Stettin's mistress, Callia, helps Arcadia to escape.

Arcadia flees to the Kalgan Spaceport. She knows she cannot go back to the Foundation so she buys a ticket to Trantor. Just before she is about to leave, the Kalgan police enter the terminal to arrest her. Now in a desperate situation, she runs into the trader Palver Preemer and his wife. Preemer bribes the police and takes Arcadia back to his home in Trantor.

In Trantor, Arcadia has information she must get to her father, but with a war now raging, it is impossible for her to leave. She decides her best bet is to persuade Palver that war is potentially very profitable for a trader, and he could sell his goods to the Foundation. Palver agrees this is a great idea and sets off with a mind to make his fortune and a promise he will deliver Arcadia's father her message.

The Foundation defeats Kalgan and the five conspirators meet again at Dr. Darell's house. Homir Munn tells his friends that he could find no evidence of the Second Foundation's location and thinks it does not exist. However, Anthor refutes his claim and says members of the Second Foundation have tampered with Munn's mind. He says the Second Foundation is located on Kalgan. Dr. Darell disagrees. He says he stayed on Terminus to develop a Mental Static device. This device can detect members of the Second Foundation by blocking their brain waves, and the device found no evidence that Kalgon was home to any Second Foundation members. In fact, Arcadia sent him a message saying a circle has no end, and it was from this message he realized the Second Foundation was on Terminus. Anthor says this is not true, but Darell turns on the Mental Static Device, proving Anthor is a Second Foundationer.


From wikipedia.org:

Homir Munn (Second Foundation) is a librarian and owns one of the biggest collections of information about the Mule.

Munn is one of a group of conspirators who plan to find the location of the Second Foundation. Together with Toran Darell II, Pelleas Anthor, Jole Turbor, Dr. Elvett Semic they set about piecing together the evidence.

He agrees to go on a mission to Kalgan to find information about the second foundation from the Mule's palace. Arkady Darell, then 14, decides to be a stowaway on the flight, to take part in the adventure. Munn discovers her presence mid-trip. However she quickly persuades him that it is a good idea to have her along, and likewise persuades her father too, that her presence makes the whole trip appear more natural.

When at Kalgan, Munn, with Arkady's help, manages to persuade Lord Stettin to allow him access to the Mules palace for research purposes. Subsequently he unwittingly causes a war with the Foundation at Terminus, although the real cause is a combination of Arkady's machinations reinforced by Lady Callia.

He discovers the magnitude of the Mule's search for the Second Foundation and after the war finishes, returns to Terminus, convinced that the Second Foundation never existed. A mental analysis reveals that he has been manipulated by Callia into believing so.


From oocities.org:

Munn, Homir. Terminus librarian who owned the largest collection of Muliana in the Galaxy. Had several papers published speculating on the nature and function of the Second Foundation. Visited Kalgan in 376FE in order to search for the Second Foundation. Was granted permission to enter the Mule's Palace. Munn demonstrated that, at least in the belief of the Mule, the Second Foundation did not exist. Stettin used this information to begin the unsuccessful Stettinian War with the Foundation. After the war, he returned to Terminus as Mediator Extraordinary. His conviction in the non-existence of the Second Foundation had been re-enforced by a mind modification made by Callia while on Kalgan.


From msmc.edu:

Asimov, Isaac. The Second Foundation (New York: Street and Smith, 1948). ***

This is volume three in the Foundation Trilogy which later became a far-future series.

The male librarian, Homir Munn, one of five conspirators central to the plot, is a stutterer described as "lanky," "ill-at-ease," and "introverted." When he is asked to go on a fact finding mission off-planet, Munn replies, "I'm no man of action; no hero of any teleview. I'm a librarian."

When he returns to reveal the results of his research, Munn no longer stutters and behaves so confidently that he is suspected by his co-conspirators. They subject Munn to a brain analysis that reveals someone has tampered with his mind. He is bound, gagged, and ceases to play a major role in the story.

The stereotype behavior gives this librarian's image an overall rather negative rating. Asimov does convey that libraries and librarians are an important element in future society.

The Foundation series won a Special Hugo Award for the all time best series in 1966.


From io9.com:

Arkady's homework is interrupted by the appearance of a strange young man at her window. This is Pelleas Anthor, the newest member of the tiny resistance group Dr. Darell has assembled to root out the Second Foundation, so that the First Foundation can determine its own destiny. The resistance group meets, and Arkady eavesdrops on them with a listening device. The group decides to send one member, the stuttering librarian Homir Munn, to Kalgan, in the hope that the Mule's successor will give him access to old records that might help uncover the Second Foundation's location.

Munn takes off for Kalgan reluctantly - and Arkady stows away with him, without his or anyone else's knowledge. Even after he discovers her, Munn can't take her home, because doing so would attract greater attention from the Second Foundation, if it is in fact secretly watching. (The reason his trip wouldn't attract notice in the first place is that Munn is the galaxy's chief collector of Mule-related paraphernalia; it makes sense for him to be visiting the former tyrant's palace.)

So Munn and Arkady meet with Poochie - sorry, Lord Stettin - and Lady Callia. Their request to study the Mule's old residence is almost denied - and then Arkady rather deftly manipulates Callia into convincing Stettin to let them in. She's pretty pleased with herself, until she discovers Stettin's motivation: He thinks the granddaughter of Bayta Darell might just make a fine new consort.

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