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Foundation and Empire (Foundation Novels) School & Library Binding – 1 Oct 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 324 customer reviews

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Product details

  • School & Library Binding: 282 pages
  • Publisher: San Val (Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0808520792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0808520795
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,516,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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

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

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Got this because I had unfortunately misplaced my paperback editions of the paperback novels and had felt a desire to read them again after a long absence. So this collection was the most economic or way of replacing them but what has surprised me has been the quality of this book-it is beautifully bound - The photo doesn't do it justice. Underneath the dustjacket the binding is a lovely red cloth and there is a cloth bookmark attached. The quality is such that it has inspired me to want to collect some more editions in this series and build my own library of classic novels - something I was not expecting to do when I bought this.

As for the foundation novels themselves, they hardly need me to recommend them but if you have never heard much about them before and are coming to them as a curious newcomer, you are in for a real treat. This is science-fiction at its best and greatest but written in a beautifully readable style that is wonderfully page turning and absorbing even as it stretches your imagination. A true work of genius. So this is a beautifully produced volume of one of the best science fiction works ever. Give this as a present to any science fiction fan and they will be in your debt forever.
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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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Format: Audio Download Verified Purchase
I have read Asimov's trilogy years ago and wanted to buy a kindle version as I love the story but there isn't a kindle version so I bought the audio version instead. It is the first audio book I have tried and have only heard the first chapter. I use it on my kindle fire, I think it is good however my hearing is not 100% so I have the volume at maximum which may account for some distortion. I find it more difficult to visualise the characters than when reading but as I've read it before that's ok but the dramatic music that delineates the scenes is overpowering and must have been input for radio listeners. Overall I think it is good and certainly value for the money I paid although I may try headphones in future
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This one is more fantasy than SF. A mutant with mind-controlling powers disrupts Asimov's rise-of-empire story. That's fun for a while, but Asimov can't think of a way out so he gives the entire Second Foundation the same powers, and they wave a mental wand and that's it. All sorted. As for what those powers are - we all had them once, apparently, but lost them with the development of language. Oh, Isaac, that's lazy.

Still, it's a good story with at least one compelling character in 14-year-old aspiring novelist Arcadia Darell, a prototype for feisty teen investigators.

There's one slip-up where Asimov puts us inside the head of a character who could not possibly be thinking what he tells us she is because it later turns out she's been on top of the whole situation all along. Isaac, that's careless; you were pantsing it, I suspect.

At the end, having enjoyed the ride, I still had to wonder why Hari Seldon didn't just put the psychologists (who are really kind of psycho-economists) and the physical scientists on the same planet. It would have saved a lot of confusion. That'll be why, then.

Quite a lot of typos in these editions, by the way. You can work out what was meant but it's irritating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting concept, a future history, and Asimov finds an effective if dramatically unostentatious way of telling it in a series of two-handed talk scenes. I was impressed by his grasp of how empires decay and reform, and plausible military tactics, though this is so early a work that a lot of the credit for that probably goes to John W Campbell.

Having got the impression of Asimov as merely a workmanlike writer, I was also surprised by occasional felicities of expression: pleasure-craft lazing against the sky, a star cluster like fireflies "caught in mid-motion and stilled forever". What's most pleasant is to spend time with Asimov's genial, humanistic, intellectually curious mind.
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