Foundation

Foundation

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, 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 scientis...

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Title:Foundation
Author:Isaac Asimov
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Foundation Reviews

  • Bookdragon Sean

    The scope of this is just hugely imaginative. The idea is to create the new, and perfect, galactic empire. The old one is dying. But new empires don’t just pop up overnight; it takes years for the right circumstances to arise; it takes years for all the pieces to slot perfectly into place. The brightest mind of the age has used his incredibly farfetched, yet incredibly brilliant, psychohistory to predict the exact date the empire will fall. He has

    The scope of this is just hugely imaginative. The idea is to create the new, and perfect, galactic empire. The old one is dying. But new empires don’t just pop up overnight; it takes years for the right circumstances to arise; it takes years for all the pieces to slot perfectly into place. The brightest mind of the age has used his incredibly farfetched, yet incredibly brilliant, psychohistory to predict the exact date the empire will fall. He has used this field of academia to predict the future, and because of this he can alter events, long after his death, and guide his fledgling civilisation into power.

    The old empire will crumble in exactly 300 years, so he manipulates the ruling body to send him, and his following, to a remote planet that will eventually develop into something grand. The settlers are all scientists, and they’re all set on one manipulated goal. Harry Seldon controls the future from the grave; he knew what would happen, and he knew exactly when the people of the future should act. He predicted that it would take 1000 years for the new empire to be born. So he appears to them in real moments of crisis in pre-recorded holograms to guide them in the right direction.

    It’s a remarkable book, so broad and innovative. I’m shocked reading this today; imagine what it would have bene like reading it in the 50s. It clearly defines so much of the genre. Star Wars and Star Trek clearly drew upon Asimov’s foundation. Would they have existed without it? The parallels are here. It’s a visionary book, though there are a few problems with it. All the characters are scientists and politicians; they are powerful and driven; they are singular in their forceful purposes. None of them really have the chance to develop. That’s not the purpose of this story. The idea is to show the development of a nation, of an empire, across the centuries. I found it hard to fully invest in it because of this. The scenes that didn’t have Harry Seldon in felt a little flat. He was the glue that held it together, the rest of the characters were forgettable.

    Thus, there is no action or real climax. Structurally speaking, this is essentially five short stories put together. They’re decades apart, and so were the characters. It shows the development of an empire, but from a great deal of distance. There was no real human element or emotions involved. This work is practically a work of genius, though it was impossible to fully care about the story because everything was objectified. It was a major case of show rather than tell. So I couldn’t rate it five stars even if I was tempted to. I’m a realist, I know he couldn’t have told the story any other way, but for me it lacked the human angle.

    This was a great book, though it lacked that vital element of storytelling. It was very deceiving at the start too; it was quite dry. I almost gave up with it, but I’m glad I persisted. I will be reading further into the series to see how things go, but I will most likely only go so far as the original trilogy.

  • Adina

    2.5* rounded up to 3 for the idea.

    I postponed writing the review as I was hoping that something would click in my head and I would realize just how magnificent this novel is. It did not happen, unfortunately.

    First of all, I was made to believe that this is a SF book. It isn’t. Not really. It is more of a socio-political one. It is not even a novel, but a set of stories who present a series of political, sociological, psychological and religious ideas all based on the famous Psychohistory conce

    2.5* rounded up to 3 for the idea.

    I postponed writing the review as I was hoping that something would click in my head and I would realize just how magnificent this novel is. It did not happen, unfortunately.

    First of all, I was made to believe that this is a SF book. It isn’t. Not really. It is more of a socio-political one. It is not even a novel, but a set of stories who present a series of political, sociological, psychological and religious ideas all based on the famous Psychohistory concept. The ease with which a religion can be created and the power it can have over the masses scared me as it is so valid even today. To use religion to control planets was a brilliant and scary idea and it felt the most interesting part of the book.

    The premise of the Foundation is brilliant, I admit. However, it would have been marvelous if the author have made me care about any of it. The characters had no growth, no real personality and the prose was so dry. The book is mainly a series of dialogues between different people who scheme and try to outrun each other with their cunning and intelligence in order to gain power. The fact that the whole thing takes place in space feels secondary to me.

    Please do not throw virtual tomatoes at me for what I am about to say. Here it goes…I believe Asimov is not a very good writer. It seems he can only write in dialogue and descriptive passage longer than a paragraph gives him the chills. This is a pity as it adds up to the (false) idea some people have that SF is not literature. I read enough of the genre to know that there are well written SF novels but I don’t think this one (or the Prelude) is one of them.

    If the novel is not very well written, too sciency or too deep than it is fun, right? Well, not really. It has its moments but mostly it is filler, filler and at the end we realize how smart the main guy of the story was.

    A funny thing that I observed is that there are only male characters except for a single chapter about a bitchy, sour wife who makes life miserable for one of the rulers of a planet. I know, I know, it’s the time the book was written. I am not offended. Still, I could not observe a phrase that went something like this: On the Foundation planet (forgot its name) there were X people together with their wives and children. So wives are not people, interesting idea.

    I appreciate the idea of the series and it could have been a wonderful experience had it been written by someone else. Like Ray Bradbury or Frank Herbert.

  • Luca Ambrosino

    English (

    )/ Italiano

    English (

    )/ Italiano

  • Christy

    Honestly, I don't get why this book/series is so popular. There are some interesting elements to it (for instance, the use of religion as a tool of mass control and the implicit resultant argument that religion is no more than a fraud, "the opiate of the people," after all), but the book gave me little to enjoy or dig into. The forces of the novel are broad, historical, dealing with masses of people; this means that there is little to no room for individual characters here and little to be done

    Honestly, I don't get why this book/series is so popular. There are some interesting elements to it (for instance, the use of religion as a tool of mass control and the implicit resultant argument that religion is no more than a fraud, "the opiate of the people," after all), but the book gave me little to enjoy or dig into. The forces of the novel are broad, historical, dealing with masses of people; this means that there is little to no room for individual characters here and little to be done by the few characters who do appear. One leader says, in fact, in response to a crisis, the threat of warfare and annihilation, "I'm going to do nothing. One hundred percent of nothing, and that is the secret of this crisis" (191). This is a recurring theme. Plus, there are no female characters to speak of. One man's wife makes a brief and apparently unnecessary appearance for a page-long chapter, but that's it. All else is done by and to men.

    There are a couple of minor things I do like about the book. One is Salvor Hardin's statement that "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent," which I like for its endorsement of nonviolent alternatives. Another is the characters' habit of saying "Space" or "Galaxy" instead of God when they exclaim or curse.

  • Kevin Kelsey

    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 s

    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.

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