The plot of the series focuses on the growth and reach of the Foundation, against a backdrop of the "decline and fall of the Galactic Empire. The focus of the books is the trends through which a civilization might progress, specifically seeking to analyze their progress, using history as a precedent. Although many science fiction novels such as Nineteen Eighty-Four or Fahrenheit do this, their focus is upon how current trends in society might come to fruition, and act as a moral allegory on the modern world. The Foundation series, on the other hand, looks at the trends in a wider scope, dealing with societal evolution and adaptation rather than the human and cultural qualities at one point in time.
Furthermore, the concept of psychohistory, which gives the events in the story a sense of rational fatalism, leaves little room for moralization. Hari Seldon himself hopes that his Plan will "reduce 30, years of Dark Ages and barbarism to a single millennium," a goal of exceptional moral gravity.
Yet events within it are often treated as inevitable and necessary, rather than deviations from the greater good. For example, the Foundation slides gradually into oligarchy and dictatorship prior to the appearance of the galactic conqueror, known as the Mule , who was able to succeed through the random chance of a telepathic mutation. But, for the most part, the book treats the purpose of Seldon's plan as unquestionable, and that slide as being necessary in it, rather than mulling over whether the slide is, on the whole, positive or negative.
The books also wrestle with the idea of individualism. Hari Seldon's plan is often treated as an inevitable mechanism of society, a vast mindless mob mentality of quadrillions of humans across the galaxy. Many in the series struggle against it, only to fail. However, the plan itself is reliant upon the cunning of individuals such as Salvor Hardin and Hober Mallow to make wise decisions that capitalize on the trends. On the other hand, the Mule, a single individual with mental powers, topples the Foundation and nearly destroys the Seldon plan with his special, unforeseen abilities.
To repair the damage the Mule inflicts, the Second Foundation deploys a plan which turns upon individual reactions. Psychohistory is based on group trends and cannot predict with sufficient accuracy the effects of extraordinary, unforeseeable individuals, and as originally presented, the Second Foundation's purpose was to counter this flaw.
Later novels would identify the Plan's uncertainties that remained at Seldon's death as the primary reason for the existence of the Second Foundation, which unlike the First had retained the capacity to research and further develop psychohistory. Asimov tried unsuccessfully to end the series with Second Foundation. However, because of the predicted thousand years until the rise of the next Empire of which only a few hundred had elapsed , the series lacked a sense of closure.
For decades, fans pressured him to write a sequel. In , after a year hiatus, Asimov gave in and wrote what was at the time a fourth volume: Foundation's Edge. This was followed shortly thereafter by Foundation and Earth. The story of this volume which takes place some years after Seldon ties up all the loose ends and brings together all of his Robot, Empire, and Foundation novels into a single story. He also opens a brand new line of thought in the last dozen pages regarding Galaxia , a galaxy inhabited by a single collective mind.
This concept was never explored further. According to his widow Janet Asimov in her biography of Isaac, It's Been a Good Life , he had no idea how to continue after Foundation and Earth , so he started writing the prequels. Early on during Asimov's original world-building of the Foundation universe, he established within the first published stories a chronology placing the tales about 50, years into the future from the time they were written circa This precept was maintained in the pages of his first novel Pebble in the Sky , wherein Imperial archaeologist Bel Arvardan refers to ancient human strata discovered in the Sirius sector dating back "some 50, years".
However, when Asimov decided decades later to retroactively integrate the universe of his Foundation and Galactic Empire novels with that of his Robot stories, a number of changes and minor discrepancies surfaced — the character R. Daneel Olivaw was established as having existed for some 20, years, with the original Robot novels featuring the character occurring not more than a couple of millennia after the earlyst century Susan Calvin short stories.
Also, in Foundation's Edge , mankind was referred to as having possessed interstellar space travel for only 22, years, a far cry from the 50 millennia of earlier works. In the spring of , Asimov published an early timeline in the pages of Thrilling Wonder Stories magazine based upon his thought processes concerning the Foundation universe's history at that point in his life, which vastly differs from its modern-era counterpart. Many included stories would later be either jettisoned from the later chronology or temporally relocated by the author. Also, the aforementioned lengthier scope of time was changed.
For example, in the original s timeline, humanity does not discover the hyperspatial drive until around AD, whereas in the reincorporated Robot universe chronology, the first interstellar jump occurs in AD, during the events of I, Robot. Below is a summarized timeline for events detailed in the series. In Learned Optimism ,  psychologist Martin Seligman identifies the Foundation series as one of the most important influences in his professional life, because of the possibility of predictive sociology based on psychological principles.
He also lays claim to the first successful prediction of a major historical sociological event, in the US elections , and he specifically attributes this to a psychological principle. In his book To Renew America , U. House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote how he was influenced by reading the Foundation trilogy in high school. Paul Krugman , winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences , credits the Foundation series with turning his mind to economics, as the closest existing science to psychohistory.
Businessman and entrepreneur Elon Musk counts the series among the inspirations for his career. In , the Foundation trilogy beat several other science fiction and fantasy series to receive a special Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series". Heinlein , Lensman series by Edward E. Smith and The Lord of the Rings by J. Asimov himself wrote that he assumed the one-time award had been created to honor The Lord of the Rings , and he was amazed when his work won. The series has won three other Hugo Awards. Foundation's Edge won Best Novel in , and was a bestseller for almost a year.
Retrospective Hugo Awards were given in and for, respectively, "The Mule" the major part of Foundation and Empire for Best Novel and "Foundation" the first story written for the series, and second chapter of the first novel for Best Short Story For instance, "The Guide" of the former is a spoof of the Encyclopedia Galactica , and the series actually mentions the encyclopedia by name, remarking that it is rather "dry", and consequently sells fewer copies than the guide; the latter also features the ultra-urbanized Imperial planet Helior, often parodying the logistics such a planet-city would require, but that Asimov's novel downplays when describing Trantor.
It takes place about 2, years after Foundation , after the founding of the Second Galactic Empire. It is set in the same fictional universe as the Foundation series, in considerable detail, but with virtually all Foundation -specific names either changed e. The novel explores the ideas of psychohistory in a number of new directions, inspired by more recent developments in mathematics and computer science , as well as by new ideas in science fiction itself.
The oboe -like holophonor in Matt Groening 's animated television series Futurama is based directly upon the "Visi-Sonor" which Magnifico plays in Foundation and Empire. During the — Marvel Comics Civil War crossover storyline, in Fantastic Four Mister Fantastic revealed his own attempt to develop psychohistory, saying he was inspired after reading the Foundation series.
It's been a while but I'm sure you've made the right connection Asimov was required reading in the 60's. A BBC 7 rerun commenced in July The failure to develop a new franchise was partly a reason the studio signed on to produce The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Michael Wimer was named as co-producer. This project failed to materialize and HBO acquired the rights when they became available in However, on April 18, , Josh Friedman left the project as co-writer and co-showrunner.
This was apparently planned, with either Friedman or screenwriter David Goyer leaving and the other staying. The series is set in the same universe as Asimov's first published novel, Pebble in the Sky , although Foundation takes place about 10, years later. Pebble in the Sky became the basis for the Empire series. Thus, all three series are set in the same universe, giving them a combined length of 18 novels, and a total of about 1,, words see the List of books below.
The merge also created a time-span of the series of around 20, years. The stand-alone story Nemesis is also in the same continuity; being referenced in Forward the Foundation , where Hari Seldon refers to a twenty-thousand-year-old story of "a young woman that could communicate with an entire planet that circled a sun named Nemesis. The foreword to Prelude to Foundation contains the chronological ordering of Asimov's science fiction books.
Asimov stated that the books of his Robot , Empire , and Foundation series "offer a kind of history of the future, which is, perhaps, not completely consistent, since I did not plan consistency to begin with. Forward the Foundation , Nemesis , and The Positronic Man do not appear in Asimov's list, as they were not yet published at the time, and the order of the Empire novels in Asimov's list is not entirely consistent with other lists.
Also, although it was not mentioned in Asimov's "Author's Note", Asimov tied The End of Eternity into his broader Foundation Series by suggesting in Foundation's Edge that it is set in a universe where Eternity had existed but was destroyed by Eternals, resulting in an all-human galaxy. The End of Eternity is vaguely referenced in Foundation's Edge , where a character mentions the Eternals, whose "task it was to choose a reality that would be most suitable to Humanity".
The End of Eternity also refers to a "Galactic Empire" within its story. As for Nemesis , it was written after Prelude to Foundation , but in the author's note Asimov explicitly states that the book is not part of the Foundation or Empire series, but that some day he might tie it to the others. In Forward the Foundation , Hari Seldon refers to a thousand-year-old story of "a young woman that could communicate with an entire planet that circled a sun named Nemesis", a reference to Nemesis. In Nemesis , the main colony is one of the Fifty Settlements, a collection of orbital colonies that form a state.
The Fifty Settlements possibly were the basis for the fifty Spacer worlds in the Robot stories. The implication at the end of Nemesis that the inhabitants of the off-Earth colonies are splitting off from Earthbound humans could also be connected to a similar implication about the Spacers in Mark W. Tiedemann 's Robot books. According to Alasdair Wilkins, in a discussion posted on Gizmodo, "Asimov absolutely loves weird, elliptical structures. In The Robots of Dawn , Dr. Asimov's novels covered only of the expected 1, years it would take for the Foundation to become a galactic empire.
The novels written after Asimov did not continue the timeline but rather sought to fill in gaps in the earlier stories. The Foundation universe was once again revisited in 's Foundation's Friends , a collection of short stories written by many prominent science fiction authors of that time.
Orson Scott Card 's " The Originist " clarifies the founding of the Second Foundation shortly after Seldon's death; Harry Turtledove 's "Trantor Falls" tells of the efforts by the Second Foundation to survive during the sacking of Trantor, the imperial capital and Second Foundation's home; and George Zebrowski 's "Foundation's Conscience" is about the efforts of a historian to document Seldon's work following the rise of the Second Galactic Empire.
Also, shortly before his death in , Asimov approved an outline for three novels, known as the Caliban trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen , set between Robots and Empire and the Empire series. The Caliban trilogy describes the terraforming of the Spacer world Inferno, a planet where an ecological crisis forces the Spacers to abandon many long-cherished parts of their culture.
Allen's novels echo the uncertainties that Asimov's later books express about the Three Laws of Robotics , and in particular the way a thoroughly roboticized culture can degrade human initiative. After Asimov's death and at the request of Janet Asimov and the Asimov estate's representative, Ralph Vicinanza approached Gregory Benford , and asked him to write another Foundation story. He eventually agreed, and with Vicinanza and after speaking "to several authors about [the] project", formed a plan for a trilogy with "two hard SF writers broadly influenced by Asimov and of unchallenged technical ability: Greg Bear and David Brin.
These books are now claimed by some   to collectively be a " Second Foundation trilogy", although they are inserts into pre-existing prequels and some of the earlier Foundation storylines and not generally recognized as a new Trilogy. In an epilogue to Foundation's Triumph , Brin noted he could imagine himself or a different author writing another sequel to add to Foundation's Triumph , feeling that Hari Seldon's story was not yet necessarily finished.
He later published a possible start of such a book on his website. More recently, the Asimov estate authorized publication of another trilogy of robot mysteries by Mark W. These novels, which take place several years before Asimov's Robots and Empire , are Mirage , Chimera , and Aurora These were followed by yet another robot mystery, Alexander C. In , Donald Kingsbury published the novel Psychohistorical Crisis , set in the Foundation universe after the start of the Second Empire.
Novels by various authors Isaac Asimov's Robot City , Robots and Aliens and Robots in Time series are loosely connected to the Robot series, but contain many inconsistencies with Asimov's books, and are not generally considered part of the Foundation series. In November , the Isaac Asimov estate announced the publication of a prequel to I, Robot under the working title Robots and Chaos , the first volume in a prequel trilogy featuring Susan Calvin by fantasy author Mickey Zucker Reichert.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Science fiction book series by Isaac Asimov. First edition dust-jacket of Foundation. Main article: Prelude to Foundation. Main article: Forward the Foundation. Main article: Foundation Isaac Asimov novel. Main article: Foundation and Empire. Main article: Second Foundation. Main article: Foundation's Edge. Main article: Foundation and Earth. Main article: Foundation TV series. Main article: List of Foundation series characters. Therefore, at least this part of the book would be located after the events of Foundation and Chaos , Foundation's Triumph and the first chapter of Foundation.
Hugo Award. Retrieved July 28, New England Science Fiction Association. International Journal of Economics and Finance. La edad de oro II. Foundation's Edge. Halmstad: Spectra. Foundation and Earth. Retrieved Tor, Learned Optimism c by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. USA Today. February 6, The New York Times.
Garden City, New York: Doubleday. Of course, you'll remember the holophonor [ Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey. London: Harpercollins. Film Buff OnLine. Retrieved 11 November Retrieved 14 April Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 June Retrieved 29 August The Hollywood Reporter. From Robots to Foundations. Prelude to Foundation. Kitsap Regional Library. Retrieved 25 June Worlds Without End. Isaac Asimov 's Foundation series. Radio programme TV series. Characters Hari Seldon R. Preceded by: The Robot series and The Empire series.
Events of "Eto Demerzel" in Forward the Foundation. Dors Venabili dies. A military junta takes over the Empire for ten years after Cleon's death, but collapses after imposing a poll tax. Events of "Dors Venabili" in Forward the Foundation. Hari Seldon dies. This date is explicitly mentioned in "The Psychohistorians" in Foundation. Salvor Hardin is born. The Galactic Empire is well underway into the predicted total collapse.
Events of "The General" in Foundation and Empire. A rebel leader named Gilmer attempts a coup, in the process sacks Trantor  and forces the imperial family to flee to the nearby world of Delicass, renamed Neotrantor. The Galactic Empire is no more. The dark age of the entire Milky Way has begun. For nearly thirty years, the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. Asimov began adding to the series in , with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation.
The additions m The additions made reference to events in Asimov's Robot and Empire series, indicating that they were also set in the same fictional universe. View 1 comment. Not my first work by Asimov but I was told that this trilogy, together with his robot stories that I've read , are his finest work and some of the most important works in science fiction. I now understand why. Asimov does not only have an extremely amiable writing style, he is a master in phrasing complex matter in a simple, unassuming way that immediately transports you tens of thousands of years into the future.
Any concept, no matter how alien to us, becomes "normal" within only a few lines. I Not my first work by Asimov but I was told that this trilogy, together with his robot stories that I've read , are his finest work and some of the most important works in science fiction. In this particular case we start out during the time of the Galactic Empire - humanity has spread across the universe but as with any great civilisation, stagnation sets in and with it, doom.
A scientist has a mathematical way of predicting the future and not only predicts the fall of the Empire but also how long the ensuing "dark ages" will last. Before that backdrop, there are 5 parts of this novel: - The Psychohistorians - The Encyclopedists - The Mayors - The Traders - The Merchant Princes The first part shows the aforementioned scientist and the outrage caused by his calculations as well as his measures to ensure that his plan can proceed. His plan, simply put, is to shorten the period of the "dark ages" from the predicted The second takes place 50 years later when the so-called Enyclopedia Galactica a collection of all the knowledge of the doomed Galactic Empire is already under way but politics interfere with progress.
However, to me, that is in no way the worst. The third story takes place yet another 30 years in the future and here is where I disagree with the author. You see, in only 30 years technology has become a religion with technicians and maintenance personal being "priests".
Now, I do believe that many people nowadays are ignorant as to how certain technological achievements work and therefore I do not doubt that could happen in the future too. However, 30 years to go from technology used by everyone even if not understood , to being worshipped as something divine?! And what is more, it's not just ignorant people worshipping, the men being educated at the Foundation's main seat, Terminus, actually believe that their toolbox is a collection of holy artifacts. This is also where I started doubting the Foundation.
Before, I thought it was a great idea to preserve technology and shorten the "dark ages" but I despise religion and this one is no different. The fourth story takes place 55 years after the third years after the start of the book and introduces the traders that bring technology to the far corners of the galaxy in order to expand the influence of the Foundation financial and political.
The religious part of the movement is retreating, in many circles especially amongst the traders even frowned upon. Naturally, this story is therefore full of political intrigue since some worlds refuse to enslave themselves by accepting to depend upon Foundation's technology. However, as we are told within this story: "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!
The fifth and final story takes place years after the start of the novel and is about a trader being sent out into a far corner of space where Foundation ships mysteriously keep disappearing. It is believed that another world has technological growth, which puts the powerful position of the Foundation in jeopardy. Does the Empire still exist? Is there a new power?
The main theme throughout the book seems to be that violence is not the answer. Knowledge, if used correctly, is a far better weapon. I'm not sure it is morally better though. I deliberately left the rest of the novel shrouded because giving away too much would ruin the story except that I will say there was another pocket of scientists much like the ones that started the Foundation on Terminus but installed on the other end of the galaxy and I'm already curious how that will play out. It's in no way a book that is supposed to be as thrilling as an action movie or horror book.
Instead, there is a lot of social exploration in a very clever and accessible way, yet never preachy or boring or too theoretical. One last comment about Scott Brick, the narrator of my audio edition - he is fantastic. Somehow seemingly stoic but engaging at the same time.
Talk about perfect combination. No surprise this trilogy I assume at this point that the other two novels will be of the same quality is so well-known and well-liked. They are ground-breaking books on several fronts, not least of which on the so-called psycho-history the mathematical process with which to predict the future. View all 43 comments. Absolutely Loved it! Hail Asimov! He is brilliant! His writing is enchanting and filled with awe inspiring genius. Work of sheer Ingenuity!
Height of Inventiveness! Nov 19, Thomas rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Science Fiction fans. The Foundation trilogy three first books and the Foundation series all seven are often regarded as the greatest set of Science Fiction literature ever produced. Isaac Asimov was among the world's best authors, an accomplished scientist, and he was also a genius with an IQ above , and it shows in the intelligently concocted but complex plots and narrative. There are already reviews for this Science Fi The Foundation trilogy three first books and the Foundation series all seven are often regarded as the greatest set of Science Fiction literature ever produced.
There are already reviews for this Science Fiction novel, however, I still believe I have something unqiue to contribute which is stated in my last paragraph. This book and the rest in the series take place far in the future allegedly 50, years at a time when people live throughout the Galaxy.
A mathematician Hari Seldon has developed a new branch of mathematics known as psychohistory. Using the law of mass action, it can roughly predict the future on a large scale. Hari Seldon predicts the demise of the Galactic Empire and creates a plan to save the knowledge of the human race in a huge encyclopedia and also to shorten the barbaric period expected to follow the demise from 30, years to 1, years. A select people are chosen to write the Encyclopedia and to unknowingly carry out the plan to re-create the Galactic Empire.
What unfolds in this book and in the books that follow is the future history of the demise and re-emergence of a Galactic Empire, written as a series of adventures, in a similar fashion to the Star Wars series.
Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics | Books | The Guardian
Even though this is arguably the greatest set of Science Fiction novels ever written, I do not recommend it to those who are only mildly interested in Science Fiction. If you read this one you will feel the need to read the others which may take a long time. If you are new to Science Fiction start with something lighter and when you are hooked you can continue with this series.
Also, in my opinion the second and third books were better than the first. View all 8 comments. May 03, Apatt rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Yes, I have read Foundation before, chances are you have too! 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 Peter F.
The very first Foundation story was published in Yes, I have read Foundation before, chances are you have too! The very first Foundation story was published in , around the time poor Anne Frank was writing her diary. I first read the trilogy in an omnibus volume in the early 80s, before Foundation's Edge came out. 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.
Such prediction is necessarily based on aggregate behavioral trends of vast numbers of people billions. 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. 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; see links below.
Jun 24, mark monday rated it liked it Shelves: scifi-classic. Hari Seldon - that genius psychohistorian whose homely visage speaks to his followers hundreds of years after his death - says that the Empire must fall and that thousands of years of barbarism must follow.
Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics
The Foundation - that secretive colony of scientists established by Seldon psychohistory - "that branch of mathematics which deals with the reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli" - says that the patterns and cycles of human societies can be accurately predicted. The Foundation - that secretive colony of scientists established by Seldon on the planet Terminus - says that they will be humanity's last hope for shortening those thousands of years of barbarism and building humanity back up to its former glory.
Isaac Asimov - that celebrated science fiction Grand Master and clear-eyed progressive - says that he can fix up five linked stories and make of them a single novel with a single-minded purpose, a novel with prose that is straightforward but often witty and resonant, and a narrative that moves forward swiftly towards the inevitable.
View all 6 comments. Nov 17, J. Sutton rated it really liked it. Isaac Asimov's Foundation is a good start to a great series! Really like the idea of Hari Seldon, the psychohistorian at the heart of the Foundation Series. Even though he largely disappears after the book's beginning, much of the subsequent action is based on his predictions.
Seldon predicts the collapse of the 12, year galactic empire and what it will take to preserve the knowledge of mankind so that the period of barbarism between civilized life is shortened. That beacon of hope is the Fou Isaac Asimov's Foundation is a good start to a great series! That beacon of hope is the Foundation. During this reading, he reminded me of futurists I've been following who tell us about trends and what our world will look like in 20 or 30 or 50 years from now. For Seldon, though, his most consequential predictions are for thousands of years in the future.
Seldon's nearly prophetic vision based on scientific reasoning made me think of Asimov himself. He was also one of those visionaries or futurists. Asimov also anticipated the ubiquity of personal computers and how the internet could be used for education. Asimov was clearly a visionary! It's no surprise that Foundation is an innovative and engaging space opera that has shaped science fiction since it was published. The downside is that the actual writing isn't great for this first book in the series. It does improve in subsequent books, though. Even though I am dinging Foundation a bit for the writing, it is an important and recommended book which I still enjoyed!
View 2 comments. Feb 07, Markus rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction , , classics. A civilization falling. Nuclear power forgotten. Science fading to mythology — until the Foundation had stepped in. Its vain aristocracy is ignorant of this, but the psychohistorians, making predictions of the future under the guidance of the brilliant Hari Seldon, know it for a statistic fact. By careful planning and manipulation, they start the project that will provide a beacon of light and knowledge lasting through the Dark Ages in preparation for the formation of a new empire: the Foundation.
The book centres around the leaders and people of the Foundation itself, mostly on an around the main planet of Terminus, a faraway rock in outer space. The internal workings and tenets of the Foundation are quite interesting, mainly how it manipulates, threatens and employs divide and conquer strategies to combat those who would seize its resources, all without using violence. The innovate and prolific Isaac Asimov is by many regarded as the greatest and most popular science fiction author of all time, the Foundation series often coming in second behind Dune on rankings of sci-fi series.
While journeying through the pages of Foundation , the reader will discover so many passages and descriptions reminiscent of the greatest works the genre has later produced. There are flaws. One issue that invited curiosity followed by annoyance is the astounding lack of women. I was two thirds through the book when I realised there had been not a single female character nor any mention of the existence of women. I was curious because I assumed there would be some form of explanation, and that this was all part of the setting. Then the appearance of one single unimportant female character only to try on some jewelry made it abundantly clear that there was no good explanation.
Another point, which is hardly a flaw, but something readers should be aware of, is that Foundation is not about the setting, the characters or even the story, but rather the ideas. As others have pointed out before, this reads more like a fictionalised essay than a tale of science fiction. Characters and places are never particularly compelling compared to later works of the genre. But despite the flaws, and more than anything, this is an early work that inspired so many brilliant stories yet to come.
Call it an identification of myself with that mystical generalization to which we refer by the term, 'humanity. Don't even start looking for a more fitting word, because you won't find any. He's a genius, period and this is only the third time I rate one of his works less than four stars. The fact that this is happening with the first installment 3. The fact that this is happening with the first installment in the most famous of his series only makes the entire thing even more incomprehensible to my eyes and hurtful to my heart.
No wonder, then, that the author was forced to adopt some kind of strategy to make sure that all this material could be adequately contained in only three books. Thus, the episodic structure of Foundation. Now, I have nothing against episodic structure. Most of the times, actually, I even enjoy it, and a lot. Here Asimov employs it with his usual skill: each "episode" has an initial situation, a conflict, a resolution.
In terms of plotting and scheming, every single one of them is perfect. The actualization of each stage, though, leaves a bit to be desired. And I know that Asimov's literary production has never shone for and didn't make his fortune thanks to its cast, but truth be told I've always had a particular weakness for his characters, especially his robots yes, believe it or not, this man created the most human and robotic robots I've ever read about. Doesn't make any sense? I couldn't care less. Go read his Robot series and then we can talk about it. Which is, at the end of the day, the reason why I'll never, ever, ever stop to read this magnificent author.
An amusing read, but I think I still prefer Brin and Simmons when it comes to epic space opera. Probably the most interesting thing about this book and, I assume, the rest of the series is the millennia-spanning time scale of its narrative, which Asimov handles by establishing Hari Seldon's statistical prophesy, and then dropping in at critical junctures to investigate how individuals contrive to fulfill that prophecy. It's kind of a fun model, always knowing the general direction of the plot An amusing read, but I think I still prefer Brin and Simmons when it comes to epic space opera.
- Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance.
- Who was Isaac Asimov?.
- Isaac Asimov - The Foundation Trilogy | Hacker News.
It's kind of a fun model, always knowing the general direction of the plot without knowing the detail, a bit like reading the last page first. It can also be dull, contradictory, and occasionally unpleasant. There isn't that much suspense when you can always know Seldon is going to end up correct, and the in the end the Foundation will end up ushering in the Renaissance. Asimov's characters also aren't all that likable, or human.
They're like strategic robots, avatars the author can inhabit to explain the brilliance of the little political puzzle he's concocted. It's also slightly ridiculous that in a universe where computational power is so great as to statistically model the destiny of civilizations with great accuracy, we are asked to believe that individual wills and intellects are responsible for shepherding these statistical trends.
Characters are always saying, "Oh, it's a Seldon crisis, we should make sure we don't screw this up. This is also a universe of white guys. I'm not against books about white guys, and I don't think every book needs to have a sympathetic, fully-realized representative of every socio-sexual-political-racial identity, but I don't love books about boring , soulless white guys in which all the other humans are pointedly idiotic.
I think there is one woman in the entire book, and she's a petulant, impotent princess who's easily impressed by fancy jewelry. I guess it's not really a book about people. Anyway, a decent read, though I'm not feeling particularly compelled to read the next. Should I? If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. The Dead Hand: "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov If I remember rightly, Asimov's robots do indeed find a cunning way around the three laws - they invent a Zero-th Law which states that "no robot can injure humanity or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm" which doesn't directly contradict the First Law, so their brains will accept it, but has the interesting effect in moral philosophical terms of turning them from Kantians to util If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
The Dead Hand: "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov If I remember rightly, Asimov's robots do indeed find a cunning way around the three laws - they invent a Zero-th Law which states that "no robot can injure humanity or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm" which doesn't directly contradict the First Law, so their brains will accept it, but has the interesting effect in moral philosophical terms of turning them from Kantians to utilitarians.
So rather than being guided by an absolute "thou shalt not kill" imperative they become able to kill or harm humans if and only if they have calculated it's for the greater good. Rather than becoming brutal overlords because of this as the other laws still apply they end up guiding the development of humanity quietly from the shadows, taking on a role not a billion kilometers from Ian M.
Banks's AIs. More stuff on the other side of the rainbow. View all 3 comments. Jan 15, Tom rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who has a grain of interest in Sci Fi. I highly recommend Foundation to anyone who professes to have a grain of interest in Sci-Fi.
The political intrigue, religious undertones, innovative sci-fi thoeories, world building, and epic scope make Foundation one of the most worthy reads of speculative fiction. The premise is that the genius, Harry Seldon, has created and perfected a new science, phychohistory, a form of advanced statistics, to the degree that he can mathematically predict and guide the future of extremely large population I highly recommend Foundation to anyone who professes to have a grain of interest in Sci-Fi.
The premise is that the genius, Harry Seldon, has created and perfected a new science, phychohistory, a form of advanced statistics, to the degree that he can mathematically predict and guide the future of extremely large population samples. Through mathematics, he predicts the inevitable fall of the galactic Empire and the decline of humanity into a barbaric dark age. He then sets in motion events to minimize the negative effects of this dark age and eventually create a new Empire to maintain the glory of humanity throughout the universe. The novel and sequels cover generations of time as the events he posthumously predicts and directs take place.
Having some statistics background from my Economics education, I found Asimov's ideas of psychohistory to be both fascinating and implausible. Even though Harry Seldon's phychohistory plots the future using data from an enormous sample size, history is largely written by leaders whose individual actions could not be determined or swayed by mathematics. While it is plausible to me that advanced perfected statistics could predict the fall of the empire, I must suspend my disbelief to believe that Seldon could accurately predict the course of the much smaller Foundation which so heavily depends on the decisions of individual leaders like Salvur Hardin.
Although some of the concepts behind Foundation require a dose of suspended disbelief, I didn't mind because the same ideas are so damn interesting and the way Asimov applies them to the plot is brilliant. I don't think that "beaming up" or "hyper space travel" are plausible notions either, but I love the ideas nonetheless. The idea of psychohistory, or a super-advanced form of the econometric regression analysis I studied in college, is absolutely fascinating and serves as the basis for one hell of a clever read.
I loved how Asimov approaches the idea of God. I personally believe in a God that is omnipotent and omniscient-- able to guide and predict the future. Asimov sets up Seldon to be a God-figure and explains his powers to predict and guide the future by his genius wielding of psychohistory. Religion even crops up based on Seldon's legacy. Speculating about the nature of higher power is a classic facet of sci-fi. An interesting sidenote is that this kind of speculation gave way to Tom Cruise's Scientoligist beliefs through the author L.
Ron Hubbard. This shows that a clever idea placed in the right mind at the right time can dramatically influence the masses--which happens to be a theme of Foundation. With my background rooted in Cristianity, I find characters such as Aslan, Jean ValJean, and Harry Seldon that symbolize deity or reflect the authors ideas of higher power fascinating. Nov 11, Denisse rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Science Fiction hardcore fans. Shelves: best-adult-books , favorites. And with reason.
This first book is what we can call a huge introduction to what is in my opinion and little experience the best sociological study ever put in fiction. There is no problem exposed in Foundation that cannot be transposed to our reality or history. And that can be difficult for some readers. It is a book about the history and future of the Galactic Empire, an empire so big that any catastrophe to come with it will have huge repercussions. Excellent pace, great exposition and incredibly intelligent. A must for anyone who appreciates a serious and mature plot in the genre.
Muy importante leerla con detenimiento y razonar todo lo que dice. Sacale la vuelta si no puedes leer nada que no tenga por lo menos 20 explosiones. O si por el momento simplemente no estas de humor para algo muy profundo. View all 12 comments. One of my all time favourite books, I first read this many years ago and as books have been added to the original trilogy I have re-read the whole series.
I feel that IA pulled the stories together well, so the Robot novels all join with the Empire novels, what a master. Well I re-read it again 2nd time GR officially, umpteenth time un-officially and realise yet again what a marvellous book it is.
- Isaac Asimov!
- Apple Makes a Show Based on Asimov’s Foundation Series!
- Frequently Asked Questions about Isaac Asimov.
- Engineering Decisions for Life Quality: How Safe is Safe Enough??
- Newest listings by Isaac Asimov?
- The Human Heart: A Basic Guide to Heart Disease!
Yes it is split as a collection of stories but Asimov is such a master story-teller it all hangs One of my all time favourite books, I first read this many years ago and as books have been added to the original trilogy I have re-read the whole series. Yes it is split as a collection of stories but Asimov is such a master story-teller it all hangs together so so well.
Still 5 stars. Jun 12, Penny rated it it was amazing Shelves: scifi-fantasy-clubchallenge , adventure , highly-recommended , bookclub , books-they-say-i-should-read , classics , science-fiction , philosophical , scifi-and-fantasy-club-bookshelf , short-stories. There's a reason everyone recommends this trilogy. It really is that good. I flew through this granted it really isn't long and loved every second! It's essentially 5 short stories that follow one another and need to be read in order.
I'm very keen to read the rest of the Foundation novels when I'm finished with my challenge. The investigation of science, religion and trade, and how they can work together and against one another is remarkably well done. It was unusual to read Asimov sans There's a reason everyone recommends this trilogy. It was unusual to read Asimov sans robots, but of course he didn't disappoint. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone! The introduction tells the story of how Isaac Asimov came up with the idea for this series the fall of the Roman Empire in space basically and how the original publication proceeded.
The interesting part came when he'd completed the trilogy and was very much done with the Foundation novels, but could not escape their popularity and was eventually strongly persuaded by his publishing company to write more Foundation novels. When he re-read his trilogy, he found that he did have a lot of unanswered questions and there was a lot more to write, and so he wrote the sequels and prequels. I'll be reading this series in publishing order. Mar 31, Kevin Xu rated it it was amazing.
This is where Science Fiction especially Space Opera first started. Any fan of Science Fiction has to read this, this is the father of all Science Fiction. Its why its called Foundation. It is the Foundation of science fiction. Apr 10, Steven Harbin rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: fans of classic science fiction. I just re-read this for about the 5th or 6th time, although this was probably the first time I've gone back to this volume in over a decade or even two. Asimov still holds up for me, though I can't say how much of that is nostalgia.
Still, he's probably not for everyone, a little wordy at times, not much action. Even so the whole Foundation series was a major great concept when it first came out and I still recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction, especially "classic" science fiction. T I just re-read this for about the 5th or 6th time, although this was probably the first time I've gone back to this volume in over a decade or even two.
This book is a collection of 5 short stories, in chronological order, concerning the establishment of the "First Foundation" and how it survived and thrived on the outer edges of the galaxy as the original Galactic Empire began to wane and decline. I recommend it to any science fiction fan who hasn't ever read, if just to see what the fuss was about. If you are a history fan like me as well, then that helps with the enjoyment of Asimov's "Future History. Mar 06, Phrynne rated it liked it.
This is a very interesting book full politics and intrigue. Actually not a lot really happens but the author provides a lot of food for thought. Some times I felt the writing was just a bit too dry and the characters a bit too bland. Overall however it is a classic piece of science fiction and I am happy I have read it. View all 5 comments. One of my very favorite old Golden Age SF novels. The old empire is dying, says one Hari Selden, a brilliant historian and statistician, even though hardly anyone believes him.
Can he and his followers use their knowledge of history and human behavior to build a better galactic society when the current empire collapses? A quick and absorbing read that's great fun. I cut my science fiction-lovin' teeth on this trilogy. Asimov was brilliant. Read count: I dunno, 4 or 5 times? Alongside the Robots, the Foundation must be the most endearing and enduring thing that Asimov has created. Being the mathematics nut that I am, I enjoyed the whole concept of being able to predict human behaviour accurately statistically, given the size of the population was big enough.
The discipline of psychohistory is presented with just enough uncertainty to make it credible. A terrific read! Feb 20, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: ebooks , award-nominee-hugo , science-fiction , , galactic-civilizations , award-winner-hugo , locus-all-time-science-fiction-poll , humans-rule-the-galaxy. On my list of "All Time Favorite" novels.
The epic scope of this series e. It is just loads of fun. Jul 10, Scott rated it it was amazing Shelves: sci-fi , re-read. Confession: This is one of my favorite books and I've probably read it times, I usually read it at least once a year.