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Foundation by Isaac Asimov
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15,182256224 (4)2 / 428
Member:mlq3
Title:Foundation
Authors:Isaac Asimov
Info:New York : Bantam Books, 2004.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Author) (1951)

Recently added byRashaad, stevemiedema, danbolster, schufman, nfeldbaum, ooxog, private library, williamskt, rena75
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English (234)  Italian (4)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Slovak (2)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (254)
Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
This is not a long book, but still I've struggled to get through it. Foundation is the story of a visionary's project to collect the entirety of human knowledge and keep it safe so as to mitigate a coming "dark age." Hari Seldon, a man whom many see as a doomsayer, has used his science of "psychohistory" to predict what will happen to the human empire many thousands of years down the line. The concept is interesting and I found the first part of the book somewhat enjoyable.

Unfortunately, with each section the story jumps ahead a certain amount of time. With that come new characters (Hari has passed on), if you could even call them that. They are more like talking heads that blather endlessly about politics and who knows what. I couldn't tell one from another and the talk was so dull that I began to lose my grip on the story. Who are these people, where are they, what is going on? There's an invasion coming, I guess, from some alien race that could be any alien race. Only one character stood out in the second part, and in a bad way: a man who can't pronounce Rs at the end of his words. What is this comedy Texan doing here? It was torture to read his dialogue. Skimming ensues. The only thing that kept me going was the desire to find out what was in a mysterious vault, even though the cover of my edition gives it away (good job, Bantam!) It turns out Hari's project was a big hoax, only not really, but kind of. I don't even know.

By the third part I had lost the plot completely, and cannot drum up any interest to continue.

P.S. Isn't it "Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent"? The character(s) in this book keep saying it's the last, but that doesn't make any sense.
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
A great piece of thinking for sure, but 'Foundation' still has its troubles.

Asimov was a genius. There are few people who doubt that, even if they only had a small sampling of his work. His books cover a broad variety of topics, but they didn't lack depth. So it disappoints me to really notice the biggest blunder in this groundbreaking series ----And no, I'm not talking about computers.

I'm talking about women.

Go on and roll your eyes, but I'm serious. The first four parts were stories written and published in the 1940s, but is that really a legitimate excuse? At all? I'm not talking about a lack of a female main character, or supporting characters. There's simply no women at all until we get to the last section of the book (first appearing in 1951). Unless one counts Hari Seldon dismissing a prosecutor's figures in the very beginning for the amount of people working for him, because they include women and children. And when women finally do make an appearance in the last they are represented by a serving girl and a shrewish wife in a political marriage. Both are equally entranced by shiny baubles.

Furthermore, a major point in a Foundation victory is that women get restless when their appliances stop working. The women are counted on to not have a "jacquerie", but "important" people would pick up on the womenfolk's restlessness and assure a stop to the war after a long enough period of hearing their grumbling.

I understand and applaud the fact that 'Foundation' is a novel about ideas over characters, but what I first noticed as an odd quirk ("huh, no women"), became distracting, and then disheartening. Especially when you remember that he was writing stories featuring robo-psychologist Dr. Susan Calvin at the same time. Asimov was a visionary, a man of great imagination; so why couldn't he have thought that women would have become more than dissatisfied housewives after mankind took the stars?

I still like and enjoy the book, obviously. For a book that so deliberately kept away from the action, it's fast-paced and always interesting. It is a huge leap for SF. Best series ever? Not so much.

Foundation

Next: 'Foundation and Empire' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Classic and highly respected science fiction. The story moves with a nice pace, there are insights about government on a macro level, the characters are drawn with broad historical insight but it is still just science fiction. There are no real philosophical dilemmas or core issues about governance of any deep measure. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
UGH. I wanted more of a space opera! Instead I got more of a political space thriller! Foundation traces the fall of the galactic empire to the creation of the Foundation, a colony comprised of science, art, and technological development and preservation that will eventually become the second empire. Spanning decades in places, centuries in others; Foundation is more a story of the growth of a colony through time, then it is the story of people and plot. As the years progress the Foundation becomes stronger and centralized; better able to control the planets and systems around it. This audiobook had me snoozing. Just not my cup of tea, I will definitely not continue the journey by reading more of the series. ( )
  ecataldi | Jan 21, 2019 |
The premise of Foundation is thus: Hari Seldon is a psychohistorian (a person who uses a scientific way of predicting the future through history). His mathematical sociology tells him the Dark Ages are fast approaching. In order to curate humanity's integrity he establishes two foundations, one at either end of the universe. Each foundation is comprised of creative and engineering people capable of preserving the characteristics of the current universe.
As an aside, Fred Pohl saved the Foundation series. Because of conversations with him, Asimov worked on the series for the next decade. It was only supposed to be a trilogy. Thirty years passed between the trilogy and subsequent novels. Asimov, according to his introduction to Foundation, said he needed to reread the series to really remember where he left off. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 15, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Asimov, IsaacAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fruttero, CarloForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giralt, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lucentini, FrancoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scaglia, CesareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
Post-1973 reissues:
To the memory of my mother
(1895–1973)
1951 issue:
To my Mother

Of whose Authentic Gray Hairs
Not a few were caused by myself.
First words
HARI SELDON ... born in the 11,988th year of the Galactic Era: died 12,069.

ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA
His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.
Quotations
It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Violence is the last refuge of the competent.
He had brought down his first Nyak when scarcely thirteen; had brought down his tenth the week after his accession to the throne; and was returning now from his forty-sixth.

‘Fifty before I come of age,’ he had exulted. ‘Who’ll take the wager?’

But courtiers don’t take wagers against the king’s skill. There is the deadly danger of winning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
First issued as Ace Double D-110 (with Poul Anderson's "No World of Their Own"); shortly thereafter, reissued as a stand-alone with the same publisher's number (D-110); reissued again a few years later as D-538. One of the stories that make up the 'fix-up' novel "Foundation".
www.amazon.com- Foundation marks the first of a series of tales set so far in the future that Earth is all but forgotten by humans who live throughout the galaxy. Yet all is not well with the Galactic Empire. Its vast size is crippling to it. In particular, the administrative planet, honeycombed and tunneled with offices and staff, is vulnerable to attack or breakdown. The only person willing to confront this imminent catastrophe is Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian and mathematician. Seldon can scientifically predict the future, and it doesn't look pretty: a new Dark Age is scheduled to send humanity into barbarism in 500 years. He concocts a scheme to save the knowledge of the race in an Encyclopedia Galactica. But this project will take generations to complete, and who will take up the torch after him? The first Foundation trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation) won a Hugo Award in 1965 for "Best All-Time Series." It's science fiction on the grand scale; one of the classics of the field
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553293354, Mass Market Paperback)

Foundation marks the first of a series of tales set so far in the future that Earth is all but forgotten by humans who live throughout the galaxy. Yet all is not well with the Galactic Empire. Its vast size is crippling to it. In particular, the administrative planet, honeycombed and tunneled with offices and staff, is vulnerable to attack or breakdown. The only person willing to confront this imminent catastrophe is Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian and mathematician. Seldon can scientifically predict the future, and it doesn't look pretty: a new Dark Age is scheduled to send humanity into barbarism in 500 years. He concocts a scheme to save the knowledge of the race in an Encyclopedia Galactica. But this project will take generations to complete, and who will take up the torch after him? The first Foundation trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation) won a Hugo Award in 1965 for "Best All-Time Series." It's science fiction on the grand scale; one of the classics of the field. --Brooks Peck

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:11 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A band of pscyhologists plant a colony to encourage art, science, and technology in the declining Galactic Empire.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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