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Foundation (Foundation Novels) by Isaac…

Foundation (Foundation Novels) (original 1951; edition 2008)

by Isaac Asimov

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12,582204190 (4)2 / 353
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 |
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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... ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  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 |
"Old memories sting when they come suddenly"

On the one hand, the liberal use of religion as a a means of controlling the people is quite interesting for a book of its time, and almost forgives the misogynistic portrait of characters. On the other hand, however, the blind faith in and person cult around Hari Seldon diametrically opposes this view, as well as the idealisation of science.

As such, I personally find the values of the book quite.. Unrelatable. ( )
  zojjz | Sep 29, 2014 |
There's so much to be said for Foundation. We start out with the psychohistorians with their leader Hari Seldon who has predicted a 10,000 year Empire is about to crash to its knees and herald in a new Dark Ages. Hari can't stop the Dark Ages but he can shorten it.

Interestingly he creates a priest class that runs the "nucleonics" of the Foundation, its erstwhile goal of creating an Encyclopedia Galactica set aside by stemming the tide of losing technology.

You see, the Empire is losing its grip on the other sectors of the galaxy. More and more are dividing and becoming their own little kingdoms. The book centers around several characters who, through inside and cleverness, make things happen to keep the Foundation and create an insidious society that keeps it going.

Asimov as an author, I have always been impressed with. His ability to create and predict (micro-miniaturization), parodies and criticism of religion and science, trade and technology, is throughout the book.

Near the end, we find that The Foundation is set to expand. Each chapter stands on its own and can be difficult for some to follow. But each chapter expands decades, some more, and as such can be hard to keep up.

Highly recommended. Not "hard core" sci-fi so much as character-driven sci-fi.
( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
Isaac Asimov scrie inteligent. Abia astept sa citesc restul cartilor din seria Fundatia. ( )
  mariusgm | Sep 12, 2014 |
The first of the Foundation novels to be published, the various parts of the book were published in various formats in science fiction magazines going back to the early forties, with only the opening chapters bdeing specifically written for the book in the fifties. Given this, there are a number of discrepancies that have made it through; at the trial of Seldon Dornick, Seldon says the Imperial Peace had lasted 12,000 years but when Hober Mallow made his way to the remnants of the empire it is said to have lasted only 2,000 years.

On the whole, however, the stories are remarkably consistant even if some elements undoubtedly feel a bit dated. Another thing that is commented on by Asimov himself in later episodes of the sequence is that much of the actual action lies off-screen - these books are basically people standing around talking, though still captivating all the same. ( )
  JohnFair | Jul 20, 2014 |
This book is amazing. The whole premise of future with a religion of science is very interesting. While it is in the future, you can draw parallels to the past, which makes this book become even more interesting. The author doesn't bog you down with details and just lets you imagine the journey through this wonderful story. It is very quick and almost seems like a set of short stories, which is perfect for discovering the overall implications of Foundation and the many decades this story covers. ( )
  renbedell | Jul 13, 2014 |
Re-reading this for the first time since I was thirteen or so. It still seems excellent and unique, if maybe a tiny bit less special. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Each time I re read this I cross my fingers hoping its better than I remembered as a youth. Sigh. Such a shame. Still a joyful romp through the stars, just ignore the politics though.
  MichaelODonoghue | May 22, 2014 |
Good book with great concepts surrounding the predictability of the human race as a whole in terms of large-group dynamics. ( )
  mccandlessn | Apr 24, 2014 |
Superbly original work, about the fall of a future Galactic Empire and its gradual reconstruction over the span of some centuries. I absolutely love how, despite being set 14,000 years in the future, EVERYBODY, on EVERY planet, keeps smoking cigars and cigarettes as if their life depended on it. Also, when they want to gaze at the stars, the charachters pull "heavy drapes" from the windows. Amazing. But Asimov doesn't give a crap about these details, what he's writing about is ideas and logical tricks, not people, not emotions, not a credible future reality.

I prefer the robot series, it's more engaging. The weakness of the Foundation series is the ultimate "goal" of decreasing the Middle Ages anarchic period from 30,000 years to 1,000 years. Doesn't make too much sense, and it does not help the reader to invest in the story, especially when the charachters necessarily change with each of the 5 stories. ( )
2 vote tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
I love Isaac Asimov??s ideas, but I just couldnƒ??t suspend disbelief for the plot of this famous novel. The premise is that Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian, has calculated the course of history and made preparations for preserving humanity on a distant planet. I think itƒ??s the psychologist in me that just canƒ??t get past this premise. Thereƒ??s no way that history can be predicted ƒ?? there are just too many factors. Another issue I have with Asimov, and itƒ??s so blatantly displayed here, is that though he could imagine all sorts of futuristic technology and possible histories, he didnƒ??t seem to be able to imagine that someday women might find their way out of their kitchens and bedrooms. ( )
2 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Similar to Dune, a classic that I had wanted to read for a long time. Enjoyable, with (to me) an unexpected structure. ( )
  JonathanCrites | Mar 17, 2014 |
Foundation is the first of The Foundation Trilogy. I like reading Asimov. His chapters are short and his characters are interesting though not the primary part of the story. In Foundation we are taken through years of time in leaps and bounds. The protagonist is really the Foundation and the evolution of society. The story is about growth according to the science of psychohistory and the theory of Hari Seldon that crisis will force the evolution along to the future Empire. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
My all time favorite Sci Fi book. Wonderfully written and imagined. I re=read this one every few years.
  MissJessie | Oct 16, 2013 |
I was expecting something more along the lines of scientific advancement, which will probably be more prevalent in the following volumes. Foundation focused more on psychohistory and the prediction and manipulation of the future. The premise was a fascinating exercise in galactic politics, I found myself abruptly moving forward in time before I was ready to detach myself from key characters. It was necessary in order to advance this particular plot, but it made me care a little less.

I was also a little disappointed in what the founder came up with in regards to the manipulation of human lives. While his goal of reducing great turmoil can hardy be argued with, I felt that there was a lack of disrespect in the use of religion to manipulate people. Yes, it has been done over and over, but the author seemed indifferent to what people really believed. Like all the other tools, religion in a spiritual sense was important only insofar as it accomplished the eventual goal. Had he used a secular ideology, although less effective than a false religion, I would have been less offended. Religion came across as a petty concept, yet from a humanitarian point of view it should have been portrayed with a modicum of dignity. There was a hint of arrogant pride in some of the affects of success, such as even fooling the priests. Human ideology, whether theist, agnostic, or atheist play a very important role on the human psyche and should be respected, especially when reaching out to a broad audience.

Regardless of my stand, this is a very engaging story and I am curious as to how it plays out in the following books. ( )
  YvonnevonInnes | Sep 25, 2013 |
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