- Series: Foundation (Book 2)
- Mass Market Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Spectra; later printing edition (November 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553293370
- ISBN-13: 978-0553293371
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,255 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Foundation and Empire Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1991
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From the Publisher
Led by its founding father, the great psycho-historian Hari Seldon, and taking advantage of its superior science and technology, the Foundation survived the greed and barbarism of its neighboring warrior-planets. Yet now it must face the Empire--still the mightiest force in the Galaxy, even in its death throes. When an ambitious general determined to restore the Empire's glory turns the vast Imperial fleet toward the Foundation, the only hope for the small planet of scholars and scientists lies in the prophecies of Hari Seldon. But not even Hari Seldon could have predicted the birth of the extraordinary creature called the Mule-a mutant intelligence with a power greater than a dozen battle fleets. . .a power that could turn the strongest-willed human into an obedient slave.
From the Inside Flap
The Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov are one of the great masterworks of science fiction. Unsurpassed for their unique blend of nonstop action, daring ideas, and extensive world-building, they chronicle the struggle of a courageous group of men and women to preserve humanity's light against an inexorable tide of darkness and violence.
Led by its founding father, the great psychohistorian Hari Seldon, and taking advantage of its superior science and technology, the Foundation has survived the greed and barbarism of its neighboring warrior-planets. Yet now it must face the Empire--still the mightiest force in the Galaxy even in its death throes. When an ambitious general determined to restore the Empire's glory turns the vast Imperial fleet toward the Foundation, the only hope for the small planet of scholars and scientists lies in the prophecies of Hari Seldon.
But not even Hari Seldon could have predicted the birth of the extraordinary creature called The Mule--a mutant intelligence with a power greater than a dozen battle fleets...a power that can turn the strongest-willed human into an obedient slave.
Top customer reviews
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The book jacket summarizes this 66-year-old book well. It stands up well to the passage of time. The twists and surprises take the story in unexpected and interesting directions. Asimov does not waste much space developing characters. In fact, it seems to me the characters in 'Foundation' take a distinct back seat to the story direction and underlying themes. If you like action-packed Sci-Fi, this book may not be your cup of tea. But if you like big human ideas,themes, or morals; you might want to read this one.
"Foundation" is from the 1940's, when some of the ubiquitous ideas of modern science fiction were born. In the 1940's, it was already clear that the universe was a very large and complex place (though it is even larger and more complex now than was known then!). So, writers, including Asimov, invented the devices of transport and communication faster than the speed of light. This brought the stars within "reach" and opened wide horizons for imagining how the future might develop if such technologies existed. "Foundation" and its original trilogy brought forth one of Asimov's unique contributions to the imagined future of science: "psychohistory." The concept of psychohistory is that large-scale social and political events can be mathematically forecast in the form of event probabilities. Asimov's various writings use these assumptions to write stories dealing with social, political, and individual challenges of an imagined future. Asimov adroitly mixes the large- and small-scale human events into richly entertaining stories. "Foundation" and other novels of the trilogy are composed of related vignettes, reflecting their original publication in serialized form. I find this style works well for these and other Asimov books, with small-scale stories adding together to convey a sweep of events. The whole adds up to more than the sum of the parts.
For readers who have little experience with SciFi novels, I think "Foundation" would be an excellent place to start. The writing is direct, crisp, and clear, and is fine for YA or adult readers. The original Foundation trilogy is almost completely free of profanity and sexual themes. Violence is limited to the occasional murder and wars at a distance.
If you are already a SciFi fan, and have not read some of Isaac Asimov's work, this is an excellent place to start, although it is not the "beginning". A semi-rational path for readers new to Asimov would be "Foundation", followed, if you like it by the two other members of the original trilogy, "Foundation and Empire," and "Second Foundation". From here, if you want a little more, try either the Robot series or the expanded 7-book Foundation series. If you are game for a lot more, and want to see Asimov's "future history" in a roughly (future) chronological order, I'd suggest looking at Asimov's main set of future history works that comprise the Empire series, the Robot series, and the expanded Foundation series.
I'd rate "Foundation" as Must Read for all except those who are severely SciFi-phobic!!
The Foundation Trilogy is a wonderful piece of work, but the Kindle edition butchers it! Someone has decided to water down Asimov's prose, eliminating some of the more enjoyable passages of the book. Here are some examples, found by comparison with an old Bantam Doubleday hardcover edition.
Several pages into chapter 3, Salvor Hardin is arguing with the Encyclopedists about the decline of the Empire.
Original: "If you ask me,", he cried, "THE GALAXY IS GOING TO POT!"
Kindle: "If you ask me,", he cried, "THE GALACTIC EMPIRE IS DYING!"
In chapter 5, Hardin is again meeting with the Encyclopedists and discussing the threat received from Anacreon.
Original: The message from Anacreon ... boils down easily and straightforwardly to the unqualified statement ... "You give us what we want in a week, or we beat the hell out of you and take it anyway."
Kindle: The message from Anacreon ... boils down easily and straightforwardly to the unqualified statement ... "You give us what we want in a week, or we take it by force."
I'm going to be asking for a refund.