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on 25 December 2016
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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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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on 8 June 2017
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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on 27 September 2015
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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on 27 September 2015
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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on 22 October 2013
I do not read Pure Sci Fi books too often mainly Koontz/Herbert/King but, when told to get the Asimov series, I made the leap and found I could not put them down and ended up reading one after the other. These are excellent books and keep you interested all the way through the lifetime of the foundation series. I would recommed these to anyone who likes to read well written and gripping books. I have tried other since but no other author can keep me interested as Asimov did. I suppose it is dependent upon individual tastes and these are my cup of tea. Seller was excellent providing great service and delivery.
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on 9 January 2015
What's not obvious on the cover is that this audio CD is only one small part of the Foundation Series: Book 1 Part 5, The Merchant Princes. It's like buying what seems to be the unabridged Canterbury Tales, to find that all you have is The Merchant's Tale.
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on 21 March 2013
Foundation is a collection of short stories telling a big story, the collapse of entire galactic empire, and the creation of its successor by a small sects of scientists devoted to predicting the future. It is a book of big ideas: the feasibility of knowing the future, the relationship between science and religion, the evolution of ideas, the struggle between the individual and the state, and the role of technology in promoting war and peace.

The only thing small about this book is the book itself.

Foundation is undoubtedly a classic of science fiction, trail blazing a path for many imitators, and formulating ideas that influenced a generation of science fiction writers. It deserves to be a longer book, and I found its brevity dissatisfying and the characters somewhat shallow. I guess that means I should read volume two. Given its size, if you are interested in science fiction, you don't have much excuse for ignoring this book.
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on 30 April 2017
The actual stories (all five) are great to read. The only downside was the very poor editing of the book, especially story five. Numerous errors (Sun regularly being written for Jordan Sutt) and word omissions. This is in the Harper Voyager edition.
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on 13 November 2013
I bought this book to complete my series, and what a series, even though poor Asimov was pestered by his publishers to write more more... when he did he did not rush it , he took his time and the quality is still there, obviously if you are interested in this book you have read some of them so carry on. remember pass your books on to the kids get them reading SF if you can too many hours on the IPad and no creative ideas from reading books makes jack a dull boy..Buy it its great
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