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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

The Foundation Trilogy (original 1951; edition 2011)

by Isaac Asimov (Author)

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5,033621,499 (4.28)96
The Foundation, established after the Old Empire gives way to barbarism, fights against a mutant strain called the Mule and tries to get rid of the Second Foundation after learning it will inherit a future Empire.
Title:The Foundation Trilogy
Authors:Isaac Asimov (Author)
Info:Bantam Spectra (2011), Edition: First Edition/First Printing
Collections:Your library

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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (Author) (1951)


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I read the Foundation Trilogy when I was a kid, probably in late grade school or early high school. I loved it then. I was a hard science fiction fan, and this book was a classic when I bought it. At some point, I lost or gave away my beloved copy. About five years ago, I decided I wanted to read the book again. I didn't want a digital version and I didn't want to go to the library. I wanted to own a physical copy. I also wanted the edition, or as close to it as I could find, that I originally read. I searched used book stores on both coasts and finally found a copy at Curmudgeon Books at Savage Mill in Maryland just after Thanksgiving 2010. I bought it instantly and placed it reverently on my shelf. It sat there until last week when I finally found some time to read it.

The book flowed like it did when I was a kid. I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter, page or sentence! Asimov knew how to draw the reader in and then keep him strapped in for the entire ride. Some have said that Asimov didn't write action in these books. On one level, that might be true. Most of the action happens between chapters or sections. But he gives enough sense of what happened that the reader can fill in the details. The reader can create a more vivid image in their own head than any author can, so I think Asimov hit it just right. He shows us enough to keep us on the story arc, but lets us fill in the blanks and create the epic in our minds.

The book is pretty dated. On a technical level, you can't really fault Asimov for stories that were conceived starting in 1941 and published as short stories between 1942 and 1950. One interesting example involves a student writing a paper for a class. She had a voice recognition device that transcribed speech into text. However, it printed it out in cursive on what sounds like a regular typewriter. She also had to manually add a new sheet for each successive page. So, we see word processing that is both late 20th century and late 19th century.

On a more poignant point, the book is full of out of date sexism. Almost all the characters are male. In nearly every case, women are portrayed as scared, clueless or fawning wall decorations. They assume all domestic duties, cannot follow a scientific or logical train of thought, keep to the sidelines and otherwise only show up to support their man. There are two strong female characters, one a newly married woman and the other a teenager. However, it is revealed over time that the source of their strength came from men and that they didn't even realize they were manipulated, mentally, into the actions for which they are praised. Their agency is removed and they are again merely tools used by the male characters.

I never realized this huge bias in science fiction when I was growing up, but as I've reread books, especially from the 1940s through the 1970s, it's pretty obvious now. I'm very thankful that we now have authors such as Madeline Ashby who elevate female characters to full personhood and incorporate them into the story.

I'd rate this book among one of the best science fiction books ever, in its scope and execution. It reminded me of Dune in its breadth and epic plot.
( )
  drew_asson | Mar 22, 2020 |
Loved this one as a kid, always thought it would make a good movie adaption, the idea of Psychohistory is quite interesting, the writing does not hold up upon revisiting as an adult, but then not much Sci-Fi does. An example of Sci-Fi that most certainly does hold up is The Book of the New Sun. ( )
  easytarget | Feb 6, 2020 |
A brilliant classic sci-fi trilogy, set in a future that is at times terrifying. Yet reading this, one cannot help but wonder if some of the stories aren't a thinly veiled commentary on the government and state of affairs in today's world.

-library book ( )
  LilyRoseShadowlyn | Dec 24, 2019 |
Science fiction that teaches sociology by dividing humanity into groups and allowing them to grow independently. Illuminating, entertaining.
  JoniMFisher | Sep 19, 2019 |
Great to have this audio version, though it comes across as very stilted now, and so many of the voices are indistinguishable. ( )
  john257hopper | May 18, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, IsaacAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gunn, JamesForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hundertmarck, RosemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krugman, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonian, PhillipCover photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Punchatz, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thiemeyer, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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FOUNDATION: Headnote: Hari Seldon -- . . . born in the 11,988th year of the Galactic Era; died 12,069.
FOUNDATION: Text: His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.
FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE: The Galactic Empire Was Falling.
SECOND FOUNDATION: The First Galactic Empire had endured for tens of thousands of years.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This omnibus edition includes: Foundation; Foundation and Empire; and Second Foundation. Please do not combine it with any individual work, or with any other combination of titles. Thank you.
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