Foundation: 1/3 (The Foundation Series) Paperback – 28 Mar 1994
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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
‘One of the most staggering achievements in modern SF’
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Top Customer Reviews
If you're unfamiliar with the Foundation work, they are basically a series of short stories taking place over a number of centuries that chart the rise of an intergalactic civilisation from humble origins to a vast galactic power, and the trials and tribulations that shaped it, narrated from the perspective of its major historical figures, such as prominent civic leaders, military heroes, merchant traders, brilliant scientists etc. Underpinning all this is the strange figure of genius Hari Seldon, who predicted the whole course of future events through his discipline of psychohistory, a science that predicts the actions of whole civilisations and societies over a grand time-scale.
Each chapter starts with an excerpt from the fictional Encyclopedia Galactica on the events portrayed in the following scene as if the whole series is a look back at history from some undisclosed future. It lends a wonderful sense of grandness to the stories as well as being an original and novel way of introducing the new setting.Read more ›
Your other choice is to read the prequels first, then go onto Foundation. In that case, this is the fourth book you should read.
Whichever choice you make, don't read this book first.
On the surface, Foundation and Empire will seem like an uninspired playing out of Hari Seldon's vision for the future. Ah! But there's much more happening, so pay attention. When you get to the end of the book, you may find you have missed the mainstream and will have to go back. Don't worry, almost everyone has that reaction.
Asimov is a brilliant conceptual writer, but not someone who slaved over every word (in fact, he was famous for writing most of his many books in only 1 or 2 drafts, with little editing after that). This book begins to develop the full Foundation concept in all of its stunning beauty.
In many ways, you will be reading this book from the eyes of the first Foundation. But that's the unimportant one. The real action is with the second Foundation. Be sure to keep that in mind.
When you meet the Mule, don't think of him as an aberration but rather as an extension of today's potential. That will make the book more interesting for you.
Many people find this book to be the least interesting one of the Foundation series. Let me warn you that reading this one will greatly increase your pleasure in the following books beginning with the Second Foundation (which is your next pleasant reading assignment).
Enjoy this irresistible series!
Foundation is just that. The foundation for all other sci-fi adventures. So many books and films have followed in the steps of Foundation, and Asimov really has lead the way for people to let their imagination run riot and imagine what on the one hand, is so far fetched, but on the other leaves us wondering "well maybe..."
Everything in Foundation has a sort of logic, the theory that the future can be mapped out by mathematical equations. However even in the future, ideas can be thought of as heretic, and people with ideas that do not fit in with the norm, are cast away, to the edge of space where they can cause no trouble.
Foundation, and the following classics will stretch your imagination and throw you into a World of 'fantasy' that seems to have a lifeline to reality. Considering the Foundation series of Asimovs books were written so long ago, they are still fresh enough, and still have an edge to hold onto the reader until the very last page.
Structurally, it's somewhat unusual - really, the book is a series of connected short stories, each involving a different set of characters and a different societal context, all linked into one overarching epic tale of imperial degradation and rebirth. On the one hand, it makes it difficult to really get into the heads of the characters, each of which is a scheming Machiavellian genius. On the other, it creates a sense of epic scope and scale that simpler narrative forms wouldn't have allowed. It feels in some respects like dipping into a vast, ongoing drama from which we cannot drink too deeply lest it overwhelm. As a series of science fiction epic vignettes, it's done remarkably well.
Seeing the book in its modern context too reveals just how influential it has been in classic and modern science fiction. Warhammer 40k seems to have been one of the primary beneficiaries in that respect, with both the Imperium of Man and the Adeptus Mechanicus drawing liberally from the canon of Foundation, but there are precursor or progenitor fragments of half a dozen science fiction universes to be found within.
It's not a perfect book - the vignette style is important to the telling, but has the unavoidable consequence of fragmenting the reading experience, and there is an awful lot of exposition threaded through its scant few pages. However, it is a very good book and I enjoyed reading it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived ok waiting until rest of series arrives before reading! Will write fuller review thenPublished 1 day ago by Crisbnoodle
I just started reading Isaac Asimov's books a week ago. They are captivating and I just finished the Foundation.
It is fascinating, well written and it makes you think.
Purchased this recently as an audio book format having heard this when it was originally broadcast. However did not realize that I would not be able to play it in the car or on me... Read morePublished 1 month ago by RayvenUK
A classic book delivered very quickly (thank you) in good condition.Published 1 month ago by Mr. J.
The listing I bought from failed to mention this was actually a radio script rather than the novel but returned no problem.Published 3 months ago by D. K. Talbot