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Foundation Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1991
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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
Praise for Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series
“A true polymath, a superb rationalist, an exciting and accessible writer in both fiction and nonfiction, Isaac Asimov was simply a master of all he surveyed.”—Greg Bear
“Asimov served wondrous meals-of-the-mind to a civilization that was starved for clear thinking about the future. To this day, his visions spice our ongoing dinner-table conversation about human destiny.”—David Brin
“Isaac was still in his teens when I met him, a fan of mine before I was a fan of his. Writing for John W. Campbell back in the famous ‘golden age of science fiction,’ he became one of the founders of our field. With the Robot stories and the Foundation stories, he helped to shape science fiction as we know it.”—Jack Williamson
“I grew up on the ABC’s of science fiction—Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke. There’s a reason Asimov’s name comes first, and not just because of the alphabet!”—Janis Ian
“With his fertile imagination, his wit, and his prolific output, Isaac Asimov truly laid the foundation for all future generations of science fiction writers.”—Kevin J. Anderson
“If anything can be said to have been the launch pad for space-age science fiction, it has to be the Foundation trilogy. It’s a classic. And it’s unforgettable.”—Jack McDevitt
“The Foundation series is one of the masterpieces of science fiction. If you’ve never read these novels, then you’re in for a treat, and even if you’ve already read them, then you owe it to yourself to reread them, because they’re still great.”—Allen Steele
“Quite simply, Asimov got me started.”—Liz Williams
“Asimov’s Foundation trilogy was the pivotal touchstone of my life in creative fiction. His vision and scope spanned the galaxy across eons, and at the same time he told deeply personal stories of living characters. The writer I am sprang from the boy that these books touched back then. They continue to move me still. Thank you, Isaac, for opening my mind and my life to the possible.”—Tracy Hickman
“I’m sure there will be more Foundation stories, and more robot stories, and more science-fictional mysteries, because those are Isaac’s legacies to us. But reading them won’t be quite the same. There was only one Isaac Asimov; there will never be another.”—Mike Resnick
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 and Earth offers a nice closure tying events well with the Robot series however, he only goes 500 years into the Sheldon Plan leaving the reader to wonder how the Plan worked in the end.
Although Asimov left an opening for the next book which never happened, I was not so much bothered by the cliffhanger as much by the 500 remaining years of the Sheldon Plan. One can argue those are one and the same but I did not experience it that way.
Overall Foundation and Earth was a crescendo after the other five foundation books and the one I liked the most.
The whole series: I thoroughly enjoyed the Robot series, but I had to push through some of the Empire books (Pebble in the Sky). Most Foundation books were entertaining and I wanted to go back to reading any chance i got.
I am being careful not to give anything away, or at least nothing that you could not find in common places.
I gave it fours stars instead of five because on at least one occasion I predicted what will happen. I don't always appreciate such predictability and Asimov had such an amazing imagination that he could have avoid it.
This is the recommended reading order:
1. I Robot (or The Complete Robot) [ROBOTS]
2. The Caves of Steel [ROBOTS]
3. The Naked Sun [ROBOTS]
4. Mirror Image (short story) [ROBOTS]
5. The Robots of Dawn [ROBOTS]
6. Robots and Empire [ROBOTS]
7. The Stars, Like Dust [EMPIRE]
8. The Currents of Space [EMPIRE]
9. Pebble in the Sky [EMPIRE]
10. Prelude to Foundation [FOUNDATION]
11. Forward the Foundation [FOUNDATION]
12. Foundation [FOUNDATION]
13. Foundation and Empire [FOUNDATION]
14. Second Foundation [FOUNDATION]
15. Foundation's Edge [FOUNDATION]
16. Foundation and Earth [FOUNDATION]
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.