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Foundation

4.5 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Turtleback
  • Publisher: Demco Media (Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606275630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606275637
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,868,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

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.

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Customer Reviews

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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: 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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Format: Paperback
I have just re-read all 7 of Asimov's Foundation novels, having originally read them in the 1980s. For those of you new to the series it consists of 2 'prequel' novels, the original trilogy (which are actually a series of short stories originally written for a magazine published in three volumes, followed by two sequel novels. The four novels were written decades after the short stories in the original trilogy. This book (Foundation) is the third book (the first of the original trilogy), it was the first Foundation book I read (as I started before the prequels were published).

This is considered to be a very important sci fi story from the golden age of sci fi, but the modern reader needs to be aware that it is rather different than you might expect. First the fact that it is made up of a sequence of related short stories means that it does not read like a unified novel. There is little character development etc. You see far less of this in modern books, because most authors now jump straight into novels rather than starting writing short stories (for which there is just not the same market now). The second thing is that Asimov was never about predicting or focusing on advanced technology. As such much about the tech that is mentioned is either out of date or rather daft. An example of this is that in the story as the 12,000 year old Galactic Empire declines that many worlds lose the ability to use nuclear power. This in itself is not what is daft, it is that despite having to used coal and oil these planets can still have interstellar space ships etc. Asimov's depiction of computer technology is also rather easy to laugh at now - use of microfilm etc. to store records, punch card computers etc.
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