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Foundation and Empire (Book Two of The Foundation Series): 2/3 Paperback – 28 Mar 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; New Impression edition (28 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586013555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586013557
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘One of the most staggering achievements in modern SF’
The Times

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Asimov's Foundation series was more aptly named than many suspect. Over the years it has served as an inspiration to many science fiction masterpieces, and became the benchmark by which all other epic science fiction was based. Much of today's space opera owes much to the original vast planet-spanning tale of the birth of a civilisation guided through the ages by the God-like hand of Seldon, and its testament to the enduring legacy of the work that its still as awe inspiring a tale as it was more than half a century ago. True, some of the technologies and settings are a little dated but that's not where the strength of the series lies.
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.
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Format: School & Library Binding
Ultimately, the hardest decision about the Foundation books is to decide the order in which to read them. Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but I think you will enjoy them more if you read them in the order they were written. If so, this is the second book. If you have not yet read Foundation, then you need to go back and do so before tackling this one.
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!
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Format: Paperback
Imagine a time, set so far in the future... A time when Humans have left Earth to explore, and settled throughout the Galaxy, a time where the idea that mankind ever only inhabited ONE planet, is thought to be an old wives tale.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Foundation is undoubtedly one of the seminal works of science fiction, and it holds up reasonably well as a modern read. Some of the references seem a little dated - the holding up of 'atomics' as the be-all and end-all of scientific progress for example comes across as a little quaint, but if you can put that aside you'll find a very enjoyable book awaits you.

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.
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