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Foundation [Kindle Edition]

Isaac Asimov
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,164 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $4.99
You Save: $3.00 (38%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

One of the great masterworks of science fiction, the Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov are unsurpassed for their unique blend of nonstop action, daring ideas, and extensive world-building. The story of our future begins with the history of Foundation and its greatest psychohistorian: Hari Seldon.

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—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 edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves—or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Review

'One of the most staggering achievements in modern SF' The Times

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
296 of 331 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic June 19, 2008
Format:Hardcover
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. The Foundation series won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Isaac Asimov was among the world's best authors, an accomplished scientist, and he was also a genius with an IQ above 170, and it shows in the intelligently concocted but complex plots and narrative. There are already 331 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 50,000 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 30,000 years to 1,000 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.

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.
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Foundation trilogy is essential October 6, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The trilogy is essential, but since Asimov also capitalized on his own genius by writing what seems to be hundreds of lesser Foundation stories, it can all get very confusing and a bit draining. This is the second book in the original trilogy, so it is from a science fiction point of view essential reading. The trilogy itself comes up with two highly memorable characters, Hari Seldon, the psycho-historian, who uses Mathematics to predict the future and establish a "Foundation" that will limit the dark ages after the fall of the "Empire" to a single millenium (as opposed to ten.) He reappears as a hologram at certain points in the story with more or less accurate takes on what is happening in "History" at that point.
The other very memorable character is the Mule. He represents the variable that makes predicting "History" mathematically a tricky business at least, not to mention impossible. He is a nasty totalitarian character who strangely in Asimov's hands manages to elicit some sympathy. Asimov is playing with the idea of predicting human behavior scientifically (or controlling it scientifically,) but this character is also a humanistic meditation on how masses of people get overwhelmed by evil social forces like fascism and soviet communism. You can see that Asimov lived through the era of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Stalin and that these cult of personality tyrants and the submission of masses of people to their destructive and sadistic wills profoundly affected his view of human nature. Foundation and Empire seems to be an attempt to come to terms with that experience, and so has something to say about the specifics of twentieth century history, as well as about historical philosophy.
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176 of 203 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." September 12, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
[The quotation is from Salvor Hardin, Mayor of Terminus.]
Let's say it's around 1940 or so; you're studying chemistry in grad school but your true love is history; you've read Edward Gibbon's _The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, but writing a historical novel set in the _past_ would require just too much research; you get the bright idea of writing a historical tale set in the _future_, about the decline and fall of a _Galactic_ Empire, and you suggest as much to John W. Campbell, Jr.
Campbell's response: he gets excited and suggests that you introduce some pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo about "psychohistory". Do you:
(a) drop the idea and write something else?
(b) write the story just as Campbell describes it?
(c) use a little imagination, make Campbell's idea a bit more intellectually presentable, and crank out, not just a single story, but a Hugo-award-winning series?
If you picked (c), congratulations; you're Isaac Asimov.
The Hugo didn't come until 1965, when the Foundation series won for best all-time series (defeating even Tolkien's _Lord of the Rings_ books). By then Asimov had long ago tired of the series; you can tell by the first part of the third book. (But the _second_ part of the third book is probably the best part of the original three volumes.)
And heck, even in order to keep it going _that_ long, he had to introduce a radical departure from the Seldon Plan, in which the Mule initiates not just another Seldon Crisis but a new element altogether, one that wasn't accounted for in the Plan. (And in even later installments, it becomes pretty clear that Asimov isn't exactly thrilled by either the Plan or the Empire it's supposed to bring about.)
But in the first volume, all of it is still fresh.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Implausible idea, and where are the women?
I was a huge fan of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke as a teen in the 1970s, but I never got around to reading Foundation — I had this impression that it was a big, epic, dense... Read more
Published 6 hours ago by readergal
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for the next crisis...
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... Read more
Published 1 day ago by William H. Folk II
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome
Published 2 days ago by Jason Huber
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Isaac Asimov excels
Foundation reads like a book of short stories separated by decades but joined by the vision of Harry Selden to guide humanity back to recovery after the decay of galactic empire. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Marianne H.
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read the Foundation series many times since I ...
I have read the Foundation series many times since I was a teenager. The prose, the structure, the intelligence of the story and its insights into human behavior are as timeless... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Thomas Loeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
None better than Asimov the Foundation Novels.
Published 3 days ago by JCN4187
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent Service and Product as listed. Thank you.
Published 5 days ago by James C. Hagen
5.0 out of 5 stars Speculating on Humanity's Future
First off, this was evolving fiction written at the dawn of the atomic age, when aspiring families bought expensive encyclopedias to aid in their children's education. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent classic.
Hey, it's Isaac Asimov. If you've done any sc-fi reading over the years, then you know he is one of the "fathers" of speculative fiction. Wait, maybe I should correct that. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story line
A very interesting story line in the series.
Published 8 days ago by Vickie A. Clark
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