In addition to the “Lord of the Rings” books, Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series made up part of Musk’s early interest in science fiction and fantasy.
The books center on the fall of the fictional Galactic Empire, which consists of millions of planets settled by humans across the Milky Way galaxy.
The stories may have had a huge influence on Musk’s career trajectory. Here’s what he said about the series in a 2013 interview with The Guardian:
“The lessons of history would suggest that civilizations move in cycles. You can track that back quite far — the Babylonians, the Sumerians, followed by the Egyptians, the Romans, China.
“We’re obviously in a very upward cycle right now, and hopefully that remains the case. But it may not. There could be some series of events that cause that technology level to decline.
“Given that this is the first time in 4.5 billion years where it’s been possible for humanity to extend life beyond Earth, it seems like we’d be wise to act while the window was open and not count on the fact it will be open a long time.”