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Foundation (Foundation Novels) by Isaac…
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Foundation (Foundation Novels) (original 1951; edition 2008)

by Isaac Asimov

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13,151216168 (4)2 / 363
Kind of slow, but I'm reading the whole series from the beginning, so I soldier on. The first two books were better, but this one was written in the 50s when he was just beginning his writing career. ( )
  coffyman | Apr 19, 2012 |
English (197)  Italian (4)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Slovak (2)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (215)
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I started out with great enthusiasm and highly enjoyed the style of the writing and development of the narrative. My zeal wavered around page 70 when I realised that no named female characters had appeared; indeed, the only mention of women were in terms of the "women and children", i.e. unproductive family members, who were exported with the male Foundation employees. Some excuse this kind of thing by saying "Oh, it's a product of its time", but I have read many novels by authors of both sexes from the same period and earlier that do not treat half of the population with such disdain.

Then I became aware of a second annoyance, being that the main character in each of the eras covered seemed to be fundamentally identical in attitude and personality. I do like that character, but after his (inevitably, of course, his) third or fourth appearance I was craving just a spot of variety.

This leaves me in a quandary as to whether to bother with the rest of the series. I have read that things change, but on the other hand I've also read articles Asimov wrote which leave in no doubt his violently low opinion of women. I feel, as a result, excluded and alienated so I doubt I will pick up another of his offerings any time in the near future. ( )
  Vivl | Mar 6, 2016 |
  MisaBookworm | Feb 2, 2016 |
I found it too disconnected - just when a part of the story would start to get interesting we would jump forward a few hundred/thousand years and start again on something only loosely related to what went before. ( )
  DavidGibson | Jan 31, 2016 |
Foundation is the first book in Asimov’s Foundation series (7 books in all, I think). Psychohistorian/mathematician Hari Shelon uses science and mathematics to predict future events. Through the use of science he predicts a dark age in the future of the Galactic Empire that will last 30 thousand years and will be characterized by barbarism, warfare, possibly the end of the human race. In an effort to curb the length of this dark age, he concocts a plan to essentially sequester the brightest minds on a distant planet at the edge of the Galaxy. This planet becomes known as the Foundation. The story in the first book spans over a 100 years so there are several “main” characters but the central character is the whole Foundation and who it’s citizens deal with various emerging crises to their civilization’s integrity and future.

Finally a Sci-Fi book I actually enjoyed and didn’t make me want to die of boredom (okay, with the exception of the Dispossessed which I also liked). I found the idea of psychohistory to be interesting and I thought the ways in which the author discussed political, religious, and economic power was clever. It was an easy read and one that was not filled with technical jargon that has made me dislike so many other Sci-Fi reads. ( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
Set in the distant future when the origins of the human species have been lost and humanity now occupies various planets accross the galaxy a gifted mathematician Hari Seldon uses the science of psychohistory to predict the end of an Empire and the rebirth of another.

To ensure his prediction of the future comes into effect he sets events in motion that will span hundreds of years and several planets but will he ultimately be proved right? ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Foundation is a science fiction classic. It is about a civilization's evolution and one man's attempt to manipulate the future to avoid hundreds of thousands of years of turmoil (reducing it to only one-thousand). I really enjoyed the book since I am interested in politics and evolutions of societies. The book skips from time period to time period, from crisis to crisis, often skipping decades. The characters change with the times, thus there is no character that you can identify with or root for throughout the book. This does not bother me, but it may not be for everyone. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series to see where Asimov goes with the concept. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
I found this book interesting, but not phenomenal. I think it's most interesting as a view into this point in history [1951].

I like the ambition of covering something much larger than the human timescale, but I found trouble relating to all of the characters, as there wasn't a protagonist.

Asimov seems to be of the opinion that empire is good. I think the times have changed, and that is now a fringe view.

He also felt that complex civilization would fall apart because people wouldn't have competence in complex tasks. At our point of systems collapse, the opposite is true; societies fail because people forget how to do basic tasks, like grow their own food, or raising children.

I'm still debating whether or not to finish the trilogy. ( )
  willszal | Jan 3, 2016 |
Yes, I have read Foundation before, chances are you have too! However, for some reason I missed out on the later Foundation books from [b:Foundation's Edge|76683|Foundation's Edge (Foundation, #4)|Isaac Asimov|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1442201382s/76683.jpg|1725527], I can barely remember who Hari Seldon is or why “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”. So reread the series from the beginning it is then; no great hardship really, a fun time is already guaranteed, and the three volumes combined are shorter than a single book by [a:Peter F. Hamilton|25375|Peter F. Hamilton|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1235123752p2/25375.jpg].

The very first Foundation story was published in 1942, around the time poor Anne Frank was writing her diary. I first read the trilogy in an omnibus volume in the early 80s, before [b:Foundation's Edge|76683|Foundation's Edge (Foundation, #4)|Isaac Asimov|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1442201382s/76683.jpg|1725527] came out. I did, of course, gobble up all three books up at once, and I did love it, in fact I have never met anyone who does not like the Foundation Trilogy (and I don’t want to, I suspect they are all churls).

The trilogy is auspiciously my first sci-fi series, I have since read many others, though I don’t think I have read a better one (yes, I prefer it to the [b:Dune|234225|Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)|Frank Herbert|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1434908555s/234225.jpg|3634639] trilogy). This first Foundation book is a fix-up novel of connected short stories, unlike some fix-up novels I have read these stories join up beautifully into one cohesive novel. In this volume we meet the legendary Hari Seldon, the founder of the Foundation and ultra-brilliant “psychohistorian”, who is able to predict the future through mathematical algorithms combined with history, sociology and goodness knows what else. Such prediction is necessarily based on aggregate behavioral trends of vast numbers of people (billions). Seldon predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire and makes it his life’s mission to reduce the span of the dark ages which will inevitably follow. To this end the Foundation is established on a remote planet called Terminus ostensibly to compile a mega Encyclopedia Galactica but in truth to save mankind as a whole from an extended period of dark ages, and eventually to set up a Second Empire.

Seldon is not the only protagonist of Foundation, as the book spans hundreds of years and several generations three other heroes (no anti-heroes here) follow him: Salvor Hardin, Linmar Ponyets, and Hober Mallow. The first is a politician and the other two are traders. What they have in common is a can-do attitude, a disdain of violence, and the instinctive wiliness to outwit just about anybody they come across. In fact this series is a fine example of “The Triumph of Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism” (thank you Craig Ferguson). The showdown between these heroes and their antagonists are all battles of wit, no ass kicking is ever implemented.

What I did not appreciate in my teens is what a good writer and story teller Asimov is. He is not great prose stylist (witness the ample use of exclamation marks in the narrative), nor did he need to be for the type of stories he wanted to tell. However, there is a sincere and infectious enthusiasm in his story telling and a clarity that render the narrative very readable and entertaining; not to mention the witty and sardonic humour in much of the dialog. The scene where the Foundation citizens are waiting outside a vault for a hologram of Seldon to appear after 50 years is really quite thrilling.

The futuristic tech and world building are a lot of fun of course, though you will have to allow for some dated tech ideas or anachronisms such as messages printed on tapes, the use of microfilms and lack of AI (computers are not mentioned).

As good as this first Foundation volume is I find it to be the least exciting of the trilogy. I distinctly remember some edge of the seat developments in the two follow-up volumes; more on them very soon.

Personally I can’t wait to read [b:Foundation's Edge|76683|Foundation's Edge (Foundation, #4)|Isaac Asimov|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1442201382s/76683.jpg|1725527]. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
I was first introduced to Asimov’s Foundation trilogy in the 1970s when listening to the BBC Radio dramatisations (probably in 1977 when the 1973 series was rebroadcast). Though I at first liked the concept of psychohistory which underpins the storylines I became less enamoured of it in time after reading other fictional future histories, such as H G Wells’ 1933 classic The Shape of Things to Come which, though it successfully predicted war (beginning in 1940 and ending ten years later), thereafter got it spectacularly wrong in prophesying the demise of religion, the rise of a global benevolent despotism and a subsequent universal utopia. If short-term prediction (albeit by just one individual) could go so wrong, what chance another fiction-writer postulating any more reliably a future history in millennia to come?

And yet — as I had hoped — a re-read, even one as long delayed as this, has helped me revise some of my first hasty opinions.

The Empire, based on a galaxy that’s neither a long time ago (it’s in our future) nor far, far away (it’s our own Milky Way, of which we are a part), has its capital on Trantor. This is a planet which has been completely covered by an exoskeleton of metal, on which nothing of its original surface can be seen. From this planet psychologist Hari Seldon is by his own deliberate machinations banished to the periphery, with a one-way ticket to the ominous-sounding planet Terminus. Here, with a select workforce and their families, he founds a community ostensibly dedicated to creating the Encyclopedia Galactica, a record of past and present history. In reality it is a foundation to also monitor the history that is to come, a foundation enshrining the science of psychohistory. Why the self-imposed banishment? It is for the Foundation even after his own demise to escape the worst of the Empire’s death-throes, the decline and fall of which he had foreseen from his calculations.

What Foundation does is chronicle the events leading up to successive so-called Seldon Crises. These are moments when evolution could so easily give way to revolution, when co-existence could lead to violent overthrow and confident statistical forecasts be torn to shreds. But these crisis points — typically when a hologram of Hari Seldon himself appears to an assembled company on Terminus — can’t be anticipated or they could have what today’s psychologists call the observer effect: where the actual act of observation has an effect on what is being observed, potentially skewing and therefore invalidating the results.

Strangely enough, the anticipation of what is felt to be a coming Seldon Crisis is enough for one man — and in this mid 20th-century novel it is inevitably a man — to seek to resolve the developing situation through non-violent means, because violent conflict could jeopardise the existence of the Foundation. Today we might call this crisis management or conflict resolution; then (and we’re talking now of a 20th-century vision of the future) the saviour of the situation would act the Great Man role as defined by Thomas Carlyle in On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, though re-defined by later writers. “The history of the world is but the biography of great men,” Carlyle declared, and apart from the brief appearance of two token females this is essentially a cigar-chomping men-only universe. The emphasis on peaceful resolution may well reflect Asimov’s reaction to the war raging in Europe when he initially began Foundation as four related short stories between 1941 and 1942; “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” is a phrase much in evidence here, uttered either explicitly or implicitly.

Hari Seldon with his sidekick Gaal Dornick initiates the move from Trantor to Terminus in the first part ‘The Psychohistorians’. Salvor Hardin dominates proceedings in ‘The Encyclopedists’ set fifty years later on Terminus; his name betrays his role, Salvor being a play on Salvatore meaning ‘saviour’, and incidentally also sharing some syllabic elements of Hari Seldon’s name. Thirty years on and Hardin is still in evidence in ‘The Mayors’, dealing with nearby planets like Anacreon, all breakaway kingdoms from the Galactic Empire and all jostling for power. ‘The Traders’ focuses on Limmar Ponyets, a pragmatic trader who takes as his motto one of Salvor Hardin’s epigrams, Never let your morals prevent you doing what is right! when dealing with religious superstition. And with ‘The Merchant Princes’ we come to trader Hober Mallow who, when contact with the Galactic Empire is re-established, realises as the next Seldon Crisis approaches the core principles that psychohistory is based on: “Seldon crises are not solved by individuals but by historic forces. Hari Seldon, when he planned our course of future history, did not count on brilliant heroics but on the broad sweep of economics and sociology.” This is close to later criticism of Carlyle’s Great Men of History postulate: Mallow accepts that “the solutions to the various crises must be achieved by the forces that become available to us at the time” — in other words, individuals arise to take advantage of given situations, not to steer history on a new course of their own choosing.

How much of this Asimov actually subscribed to, and how much he made up for the purposes of his fiction (reportedly the Foundation series was his creative response to Gibbons’ Decline and Fall) I must leave to scholars. It’s enough that since I first read the original trilogy I am in a better position to appreciate the realpolitik of Asimov’s puppet heroes rather than look for the expected closures of traditional narrative arcs. Developments since the early 1940s (when most of Foundation was published as four separate magazine short stories) and, inevitably, the rise of super-computers have meant that statistical modelling of systems (such as weather patterns) have become exponentially more sophisticated, so that Asimov’s scenarios projected tens of millennia into the future seem just a little more plausible. Given that scant decades later Salvor Hardin surmised that this psychohistory could “unravel human emotions and human reactions” [my emphasis] — enough to forecast precisely how social and economic conditions would change in years to come — a super-computer way beyond our imaginings could well number-crunch its way through to anticipating how and when crises would arise and the resulting resolutions.

Asimov trained as a chemist, later migrating to biochemistry. Commentators have compared his psychohistory concept with the workings of Boyle’s Law, which defined the mathematical relationships between the volume of a gas, the pressure exerted by that gas in a given space and its temperature. It’s a short step from predicting how a very large number of gas molecules may react in an environment to imagining how quintillions of human beings in all the inhabitable worlds of just one galaxy might interact over time. As a character (in Foundation and Empire) suggests, “Psychohistory dealt not with man, but with man-masses. It was the science of mobs; mobs in their billions. It could forecast reactions to stimuli with something of the accuracy that a lesser science could bring to the forecast of a rebound of a billiard ball.”

But there was to be a fly in the ointment. “The reaction of one man could be forecast by no known mathematics; the reaction of a billion is something else again.” Seldon, by basing his psychohistory on humans, could not and did not take into account those who might be either non-human (that is, those with alien intelligences working with totally different mental processes) or advanced human, whose abilities had evolved beyond normal human capabilities. (Nor, for that matter, could psychohistory predict cosmic events such as, for example, catastrophic meteor strikes.) But this is matter that is to be examined in the Foundation sequels.

http://wp.me/p2oNj1-1sY ( )
  ed.pendragon | Dec 2, 2015 |
So, Wikipedia anyone? Yup, this book published in 1951 and its always-being-written/edited Encyclopedia Galadctia. So much classic what-if and ideas that have since become a reality or a complete joke as technology went different directions!

I began this series in my teens and actually enjoyed better re-reading as an adult who got more than just a "good story set in space/otherworlds." Without being very heavyhanded on the science, worldbuilding or even the math behind psychohistory. The classic "what if" in this science fiction -- i.e., what if, while predicting an individual's life/actions an impossibility, there was developed a mathematical way to predict humanity as it grew to such a mass to become statistically feasible. What actions would you take to protect mankind if those predictions brought apocalyptic destruction to everything mankind had built? How would you prevent? How would you keep the plan in check/balance over centuries and all the changes that could impact it? Hence the establishment of the "Foundation" responsible for correcting the course of future history to keep mankind on the right path.

The writing style is vintage Asimov and actually had better developed characters and story arc than some of the other contemporary publications (despite what another reviewer said about being too huge in scope to have individual characters). Because the series encompasses centuries, you won't have all the characters living in all the volumes but oh do some of them still remain memorable after decades.

I highly rate all the books in this series with two exceptions -- (1) the volume where the "mule" appears to throw psychohistory off read very jumpy like a series of short stories and was very confusing on a first read and (2) after Asimov's passing there were other authors who tried to carry on the series and it just did not work for me (partly because I felt Asimov had brought the series to the completion he wanted and partly because some of them sucked and tried to get the depth by being forcibly profund, pedantic, whatever and none of them brought a sympathetic or even particularly memorable character into play). The continued-by-other-authors thing seldom works for me (a notable exception being the Wheel of Time series, probably because author had future volumes planned out and Sanderson took such care to keep to Jordan's voice versus a whole new vision) ( )
1 vote Spurts | Oct 29, 2015 |
So, Wikipedia anyone? Yup, this book published in 1951 and its always-being-written/edited Encyclopedia Galadctia. So much classic what-if and ideas that have since become a reality or a complete joke as technology went different directions!

I began this series in my teens and actually enjoyed better re-reading as an adult who got more than just a "good story set in space/otherworlds." Without being very heavyhanded on the science, worldbuilding or even the math behind psychohistory. The classic "what if" in this science fiction -- i.e., what if, while predicting an individual's life/actions an impossibility, there was developed a mathematical way to predict humanity as it grew to such a mass to become statistically feasible. What actions would you take to protect mankind if those predictions brought apocalyptic destruction to everything mankind had built? How would you prevent? How would you keep the plan in check/balance over centuries and all the changes that could impact it? Hence the establishment of the "Foundation" responsible for correcting the course of future history to keep mankind on the right path.

The writing style is vintage Asimov and actually had better developed characters and story arc than some of the other contemporary publications (despite what another reviewer said about being too huge in scope to have individual characters). Because the series encompasses centuries, you won't have all the characters living in all the volumes but oh do some of them still remain memorable after decades.

I highly rate all the books in this series with two exceptions -- (1) the volume where the "mule" appears to throw psychohistory off read very jumpy like a series of short stories and was very confusing on a first read and (2) after Asimov's passing there were other authors who tried to carry on the series and it just did not work for me (partly because I felt Asimov had brought the series to the completion he wanted and partly because some of them sucked and tried to get the depth by being forcibly profund, pedantic, whatever and none of them brought a sympathetic or even particularly memorable character into play). The continued-by-other-authors thing seldom works for me (a notable exception being the Wheel of Time series, probably because author had future volumes planned out and Sanderson took such care to keep to Jordan's voice versus a whole new vision) ( )
  Spurts | Oct 29, 2015 |
So, Wikipedia anyone? Yup, this book published in 1951 and its always-being-written/edited Encyclopedia Galadctia. So much classic what-if and ideas that have since become a reality or a complete joke as technology went different directions!

I began this series in my teens and actually enjoyed better re-reading as an adult who got more than just a "good story set in space/otherworlds." Without being very heavyhanded on the science, worldbuilding or even the math behind psychohistory. The classic "what if" in this science fiction -- i.e., what if, while predicting an individual's life/actions an impossibility, there was developed a mathematical way to predict humanity as it grew to such a mass to become statistically feasible. What actions would you take to protect mankind if those predictions brought apocalyptic destruction to everything mankind had built? How would you prevent? How would you keep the plan in check/balance over centuries and all the changes that could impact it? Hence the establishment of the "Foundation" responsible for correcting the course of future history to keep mankind on the right path.

The writing style is vintage Asimov and actually had better developed characters and story arc than some of the other contemporary publications (despite what another reviewer said about being too huge in scope to have individual characters). Because the series encompasses centuries, you won't have all the characters living in all the volumes but oh do some of them still remain memorable after decades.

I highly rate all the books in this series with two exceptions -- (1) the volume where the "mule" appears to throw psychohistory off read very jumpy like a series of short stories and was very confusing on a first read and (2) after Asimov's passing there were other authors who tried to carry on the series and it just did not work for me (partly because I felt Asimov had brought the series to the completion he wanted and partly because some of them sucked and tried to get the depth by being forcibly profund, pedantic, whatever and none of them brought a sympathetic or even particularly memorable character into play). The continued-by-other-authors thing seldom works for me (a notable exception being the Wheel of Time series, probably because author had future volumes planned out and Sanderson took such care to keep to Jordan's voice versus a whole new vision) ( )
  Spurts | Oct 29, 2015 |
So, Wikipedia anyone? Yup, this book published in 1951 and its always-being-written/edited Encyclopedia Galadctia. So much classic what-if and ideas that have since become a reality or a complete joke as technology went different directions!

I began this series in my teens and actually enjoyed better re-reading as an adult who got more than just a "good story set in space/otherworlds." Without being very heavyhanded on the science, worldbuilding or even the math behind psychohistory. The classic "what if" in this science fiction -- i.e., what if, while predicting an individual's life/actions an impossibility, there was developed a mathematical way to predict humanity as it grew to such a mass to become statistically feasible. What actions would you take to protect mankind if those predictions brought apocalyptic destruction to everything mankind had built? How would you prevent? How would you keep the plan in check/balance over centuries and all the changes that could impact it? Hence the establishment of the "Foundation" responsible for correcting the course of future history to keep mankind on the right path.

The writing style is vintage Asimov and actually had better developed characters and story arc than some of the other contemporary publications (despite what another reviewer said about being too huge in scope to have individual characters). Because the series encompasses centuries, you won't have all the characters living in all the volumes but oh do some of them still remain memorable after decades.

I highly rate all the books in this series with two exceptions -- (1) the volume where the "mule" appears to throw psychohistory off read very jumpy like a series of short stories and was very confusing on a first read and (2) after Asimov's passing there were other authors who tried to carry on the series and it just did not work for me (partly because I felt Asimov had brought the series to the completion he wanted and partly because some of them sucked and tried to get the depth by being forcibly profund, pedantic, whatever and none of them brought a sympathetic or even particularly memorable character into play). The continued-by-other-authors thing seldom works for me (a notable exception being the Wheel of Time series, probably because author had future volumes planned out and Sanderson took such care to keep to Jordan's voice versus a whole new vision) ( )
  Spurts | Oct 29, 2015 |
I honestly don't know how many stars to give this book. I know how many I'm supposed to -- five. After all, it -- and the other two books that make up the Foundation trilogy -- was awarded the one time Hugo for best all time sci fi/fantasy trilogy ever, beating out Lord Of The Rings and others. So it's major. And I was prepared to be mightily impressed. Unfortunately, I wasn't. It was okay. It was interesting. At times, I suppose it might have been exciting. But on the whole, it was largely dull. There was absolutely no character development at all. There was only one female character in the whole book and she appeared in about two pages toward the end of the book. The book is about one Hari Seldon, who has developed a new branch of mathematics called psychohistory. This is 50,000 years in the future, by the way. Psychohistory can roughly predict the future on a large scale. Seldon predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire and creates a brilliant plan to save the knowledge of the human race in a gigantic encyclopedia as well as to shorten the barbaric period expected to follow the demise from 30,000 years to 1,000 years. A select group of scientists are chosen to write the encyclopedia and to unknowingly carry out the plan to re-create the Galactic Empire in 1,000 years.

Seldon dies and others carry on with his plans. The Foundation, as it is called, is a nuclear world. The barbaric worlds around it are not. The Foundation creates a religion in which to "invade" the nearby worlds, establish their religion and establish nuclear nations so that these worlds will become dependent upon the Foundation for their very lives. It's brilliant. But somewhat dated. And there is no fighting in this book. All warring is done by wits. Which is interesting. The first Seldon replacement is a politician. The next two are traders. The book ends with the third and I assume the next book will pick up with a fourth, although I don't know what his status will be. I've read that the next two books are better than this one and I'm hoping that's the case because I really wasn't overly impressed with this book. Indeed, I'd give it three stars, to be honest, if in fact it weren't Asimov and the Foundation series, with its gigantic reputation -- thus the four stars. Nonetheless, recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Oct 15, 2015 |


I have to ask...What is the big deal with this series???

I have read Foundation, and honestly, it left me flat. I have geared myself up for an epic SciFi novel, and found myself reading something resembling an instruction manual instead. The novel revolves around psychohistorians who successfully apply mathematics to social studies with an end result of detailed prediction of the future. The concept is very interesting I admit. However, Asimov's writing is not that ingenious and leaves much to be desired.

His characters are presented as dehumanized logic obsessed calculators, witch is a fact that doesn't help the story. I understand that these people are supposed to be extremely intelligent and can quickly apply a mathematical formula to any living situation, but if you don't allow a human factor into the equation you have successfully produced a novel in witch you describe how a computer computes. An incredibly boring read. The points that the psychohistorians made throughout the novel were not too groundbreaking, rather than common sense. What goes up, must come down. Everything has its birth, life and death. That includes an enormous Empire. Politicians lie. Religion can be used as a method of control of the masses. The more information you possess, the better chances you may have. Honestly, comparing to some other SciFi authors out there this isn't all that good.

Also lacking was the general plot. After twelve thousand years the Empire is predicted to fall apart and force humanity into something akin a dark age. The fall on it's own cannot be avoided, but its recovery can be sped up if the knowledge of the current Empire is preserved. So a bunch of scientists inhabit a planet on the outer edge of the galaxy and begin their work. Close to the publication of the first edition of the Encyclopedia the planet becomes strategically important to the fractions that arise from what is the beginning of the end of the Empire.

It could have been so much more, I expected so much more....but I was left disappointed. ( )
1 vote IvieHill | Aug 6, 2015 |
You rail against the boorish common masses and their anti-scientific ways, but then go on to invent a new religion complete with a prophet and crusaders. Every time there's a crisis, Seldon appears from the grave in the nick of time so save the day. Yawn.

Second star because the collected body of work (Three-laws and Foundation) had an impact. Doesn't make it good literature though.

---

It pisses me off that I loved this stunted drivel as a kid. So much of what's wrong with me is Asimov's fault. OK, and Heinlein's. ( )
  meekGee | Jul 6, 2015 |
A great story, told in a terribly boring fashion. One-dimensional characters engaged in various trade negotiations, political upheavals and general planning. Dry beyond belief. The concepts are very engaging--religion as a means of control, psychohistory, etc--but the telling of the story leaves much to be desired. Some sections are much better than others, particularly 1 & 3. There is a really good story between the lines here; one that I think would work much, much better as a television series. ( )
  heradas | May 31, 2015 |
This book was such a pleasure to read. I loved the time jumps between chapters and seeing how much the Foundation had changed during those times.

Great descriptions and wonderful language. Asimov has such a gift for writing and telling a story. I can't wait to read the next book.

I will admit the power struggles get a little confusing since there are so many various characters to keep track of. But overall this book was very well done. ( )
  CareBear36 | Mar 19, 2015 |
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the... ( )
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  Tutter | Mar 2, 2015 |
Going back to an old friend. This is the first "real" sci-fi book I read at the prompting of my husband. That was back in '99. I haven't read much of any other genre since this. ( )
  fabooj | Feb 3, 2015 |
Asimov provides an epic struggle for the survival of humanity after the fall of the Empire. Extremely difficult to put down. The Foundation "Trilogy" later expanded to encompass seven novels directly and also tied in many of Asimov's Robot stories and novels. ( )
  DavidMKelly | Dec 9, 2014 |
I've never read any of Asimov's books and I have to say that I have clearly been missing something. The story was well done...simplistic but with a deeper plot than one would expect. I found myself wanting to constantly look for the next crisis. ( )
  gopfolk | Nov 21, 2014 |
There was too much politics and intrigue in this for my taste. It's a popular book for many but to me it's just not going anywhere interesting. It's a small book and still it dragged. ( )
  peterjameswest | Nov 21, 2014 |
I cannot quite tell what the fuss is all about. Foundation is well written but the plot resembles a history text book more than a science fiction thriller - though I suppose that is entirely the point. Still, written the way it is I often felt too distant from the characters and their future society to really care how well they fared. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Nov 8, 2014 |
Too dry for me. Very little in the way of characterization. Very much concept-driven. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
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