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Foundation Hardcover – June 1, 2004
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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.Read more ›
Anyway, Asimov at his best was a creator; he had amazing ideas of the universe, how it worked, and how to structure stories that manipulated the readers expectations.
The Foundation series is like a spider web that continues to become more intricate and complex with each chapter. The intricacy of the plotting is amazing, although honestly it's not self-evident in the first few stories of the first novel, given that they were published independantly, as serialized short stories told one at a time.
Only with the second book did this change.
The basic premise: The rise and fall of the roman empire, told on a galactic scale from a historian living in the 2nd empire a thousand years later.
The setup: One man creates a science, called Psychohistory, a fictional precursor to Chaos Math (a real statistical science today). This psychohistorian, Hari Seldon, predicted that the vast Galactic Empire is about to crumble, dropping humanity back into the dark ages. This dark ages was due to last 30,000 years (I believe), and while it is too late to prevent this horrible breakdown of society, Seldon believes he can use this new math to shorten the time period between empires.
To do so, he establishes two "Foundations" made up of scientists, one at the outer edge of the galaxy, and the other at "Star's End". In advance, Seldon plots out the future (using the math of psychohistory), and sets in motion a series of "domino" events.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Please be aware before purchasing this, that this is a transcript of an adaptation by BBC. Apparently, I didn't read enough reviews because this isn't at all what I wanted.Published 1 hour ago by Amazon Customer
I first read the Foundation series when I was younger and remember really enjoying it then. As I was currently reading it, my enjoyment was still very positive and engrossing. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Sloman1950
Aisimov is called a father of science fiction for a reason. He was skilled and well versed in both. If you like real science fiction — as opposed to paranormal fiction — you'll... Read morePublished 1 day ago by E. Lopez
Though it doesn't span the three or so centuries that Foundation does, it takes the once well-planned future of the Foundation and thoroughly flips it on its head by the book's... Read morePublished 1 day ago by C Marchetti
I read the robot novels a couple decades ago. Glad to finally read Foundation!
I wish I had read it a bit sooner as some of the tech is starting to show it's age, but... Read more
Generic review for Asimov's books because I bought all of them for my collection and am writing ALL of the reviews at once. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Darion
as of now, this series is one of my two favorite books. i have read it three times and have also purchased it on cd. each time i read it is a different experience. Read morePublished 8 days ago by p
An interesting read considered by some to be one of the greatest Science fiction series written. Character development is not a priority in this novel but rather the bigger picture... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Michael