How does Hari Seldon create a theory of psychohistory that can save the empire from decline?
I like how Seldon, despite his insistent determination to prove to others that his mathematics has no practical usage in creating a valid method to save the empire; in his exchanges with the locals or professors of imperial Trantor he again feels disappointed and overwhelmed, for how can a galaxy of millions of worlds and their respective histories conform to a theory or simulation that can predict the limits of possibility?
This is an exciting prequel with a lot of action, which touches on the origins of the Foundation series and themes that are present in many of Asimov's novels. The writing was engaging, and a bit like speech. I would read more of his work and I recommend this one.
I'm not sure how well the novel would work in isolation (hence 4 stars), but it is an excellent addition for those already familiar with the series. It fills in some of the back story to the original Foundation Series and, hopefully without giving too much away, forging links to the series of stories started with 'The Caves of Steel'.
For anybody wanting to pick up the Foundation Series, I would recommend reading in the order published, rather than the chronological order of the story - this book has been written as a prequel and I enjoyed it more having read about the results of Seldons work before learning of the events that set the series in motion. Think of the impact of watching Starwars in the order episodes 1-6 rather than 4-6,1-3.
After hearing, for years, the hype about the epic 'Foundation Series' I read this book with high expectation. At first it struck me as being rather quaint, and not what I expected from a galaxy sprawling epic, yet non the less kept me enthralled in its own special way. The summation is fantastic and only upon reading futher into the series do you realise the full scale of what has been invoked in this volume. It also expands upon the character of Hari Seldon, which is much appreciated after the fleeting glimpses we get of the man throught the other Foundation novels. We get to meet the man behind the plan, and see that even great prophets have human frailties and reservations like the rest of us. A fine place to start with the series and worth your time...