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Forward the Foundation Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The late Grand Master of science fiction brings his most famous work, the epic Foundation series, to a posthumous close in this volume. Returning to the format of earlier books in the saga, he presents the story in discrete, novella-length segments, finally grappling with the figure at the center of the entire series: the adult Hari Seldon, creator of psychohistory and father of the Foundation itself (the young Seldon was featured in the previous series novel, Prelude to Foundation ). Here, Seldon confronts various threats to the Empire or to the psychohistory project, thwarting them for the most part by his characteristic brand of informed intuition. In part I, Seldon recognizes the rise of a dangerous anti-Imperial movement led by the charismatic Jo-Jo Joranum, and defuses it while simultaneously backing into the post of First Minister. In the second segment (of five), Seldon narrowly avoids an attempt on his life but cannot prevent the assassination of the Emperor Cleon I. Seldon faces personal as well as political setbacks while civilization crumbles. This volume neatly sews up the series, though it offers few real surprises. Most interesting is the glimpse it affords of Asimov himself, obviously personified in Seldon. The psychohistorian's vast intellectual interest, his concern for the future of learning in a time of decline, and his frustration in the face of mortality, ring true with special poignance. Asimov's fans should savor this final taste of his unique persona.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-This prequel to the "Foundation" series chronicles the life of Hari Sheldon as he struggles with his developing science of psychohistory in order to secure humanity's survival. It works best when read in conjunction with the previous six titles. However, Asimov has left readers with a fascinating portrayal of a man set against the backdrop of the "rise and fall of the galactic empire." It is well written and peopled with believable characters. Essential for all science-fiction collections.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Foundation (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reissue edition (March 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553565079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553565072
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a prequel, of course, but in realtime it was the last book written in the series.
Strictly _as_ a Foundation book, I don't think this one is quite as strong as its immediate predecessor, _Prelude to Foundation_. It's good, all right -- but it's not very tightly unified, the writing is sloppy in places, and it introduces a few things that seem to contradict the original series at certain points.
What really makes this four-vignettes-plus-an-epilogue volume so engaging is that in it, Hari Seldon has clearly become a literary alter ego for Asimov himself. And Asimov was well aware as he wrote it that he hadn't long to live.
And _that_ suggests that in writing about Dors Venabili, Wanda Seldon, and psychohistory, Asimov was "really" _also_ writing about his wife Janet Jeppson Asimov, his daughter Robyn, and his own literary oeuvre. So completely aside from its value as an SF novel (or, really, a story collection), it's also of great interest for the light it sheds on Asimov himself.
Asimov is generally credited with three autobiographies: _In Memory Yet Green_, _In Joy Still Felt_, and _I. Asimov_ -- the last being my personal favorite because it's the most introspective and revealing of Asimov's character. (Excerpts from all three, plus some further surprising revelations that you've probably heard about by now, are included in Janet Jeppson Asimov's _It's Been a Good Life_.)
But there's a case to be made that he wrote a fourth volume of autobiography, and that this is it. At the very least, this work of ostensible fiction is almost as revealing of Asimov's character and end-of-life concerns as any of his nonfictional autobiographies.
For that alone, it will be of interest to every Asimov fan. May the Good Doctor rest in peace.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was Isaac Asimov's last novel; he died in April of 1992. This book, a part of Asimov's noted Foundation series, concerns events taking place between "Prelude to Foundation" (1988) and "Foundation" (1951) and helps pull together those two books. It consists of a series of four stories, each taking place at a different time in the life of the mathematician Hari Seldon. The first story ("Eto Demerzel") begins about eight years after the end of "Prelude to Foundation." Seldon's work on his mathematical theory of psychohistory is going slowly. He finds that he has to assist the First Minister of the Empire, Eto Demerzel, in defeating a populist demagogue. (A new Foundation trilogy was begun in 1997. "Foundation's Fear" by Gregory Benford takes place between the first and second stories in "Forward the Foundation." Greg Bear's "Foundation and Chaos" and David Brin's "Foundation's Triumph" also take place within the time frame of "Forward the Foundation") The second story, "Cleon I", takes place ten years later. Seldon is now First Minister of the Empire and he finds that he and his adopted son, Raych, must defeat the remnants of an opposition group and stop an assassination attempt. In the third story, "Dors Venabili", occurring about ten years later, Seldon and his wife, the historian Dors Venabili, must quelch the designs of a ruthless military junta that is governing the Empire as well as detect and stop someone within the psychohistory project from taking it over. In the last story ("Wanda Seldon"), about six years later, Seldon and his granddaughter Wanda must find a way to obtain funding to continue the research after Hari Seldon dies.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel begins eight years after Prelude to Foundation, and it is chronologically the second novel in the seven that Asimov wrote. I think this just might be the best novel Asimov wrote, and it happened to be completed just before his death.
The novel consists of four parts, each separated by about ten years. This is really about Seldon, and the path his life takes. In the first part, many things are simliar to Prelude, the Empire is falling to pieces, an old friend from the Robot series is the person functionally running the empire, and psychohistory is still just a fledgling science. He and his wife, who is his protector (appointed by Daneel Olivaw), have adopted the young boy they encountered in Prelude. The events of this first part see the departure of Daneel, with Seldon being unexpectedly elevated to fill his position.
Part two deals with Seldon's life as a political functionary, running the dying empire while trying to hammer out psychohistory so that he can save humanity. Again, a major character exits the scene, but not quite as one might expect. This results in Seldon exiting politics and focusing solely on his work in part three. Governmental authority has been assumed by the military, and psychohistory is finally able to make some predictions. Hari loses an old friend and his family uncovers a plot to kill someone, they think Hari is the target. While the plot twists a bit in this part are VERY well done, the end is really tragic. This time Hari lost the most important person in the galaxy to him.
In part four, Hari is essentially all alone, with only his granddaughter remaining of all the friends and family he once had.
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