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Foundation [Paperback]

Isaac Asimov
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Way to Start Your SF Education March 13 2004
Format:Hardcover
Foundation owes its genesis to young Asimov reading Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. As the author explains, he started thinking, what would happen if he described the fall of a GALACTIC Empire? Armed with a "science" of history known as psychohistory, Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell set about trying to describe the fall and rebirth of that mythic Empire. While the trilogy (and even the subsequent sequels) did not finish the 1,000-year cycle, enough was described to bring about some rather intriguing fiction.
Asimov, of course, is fond of puzzles involving logic. While logic is rather hazy regarding human behavior (the "Laws of Psychohistory" are deliberately kept off-stage), the characters are nevertheless able to make guesses that fall within the expectations of said logic.
The prime element in the resurrection of the Empire is, of course, Hari Seldon, the greatest psychohistorian in history. Seeing through his equations that the galaxy is about to fall into ruin, Seldon strives to create a "Foundation" which will preserve the wisdom of the old empire when the collapse comes. This Foundation will ensure that, instead of thousands of years of barbarism following the collapse, only 1,000 years will ensue. The Foundation begins harmlessly enough, as a scientific organization, designed to write the "Encyclopedia Galactica," a repository for all the galaxy's knowledge. However, as the Empire falls and the scientists of the Foundation are isolated by the barbarism on the galactic periphery (in a series of "Seldon Crises"), it becomes much more. That is the basic context of the first book in the series.
Seldon also creates a "Second Foundation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
By the end of the thirteenth millennium, mankind had populated millions of planets scattered throughout the galaxy. The centre of the imperial government was located on the planet Trantor, in effect a single planetary city some 75,000,000 square miles in extent. Every conceivable square foot of habitable space was occupied with a teeming population well in excess of 40 billion souls. Its internal problems were so vast that it was all but inevitable that its grip on the outer reaches of its dominion should weaken. The empire, like every other empire that had preceded it, was in the throes of decline.

Hari Seldon, a brilliant mathematician and psychologist developed the science of psychohistory - the use of mathematics and symbolic logic to evaluate and predict the future behaviour of statistically large segments of human population. When he applied his analysis to the Empire, the conclusions were bleak and inescapable. The stagnating Empire would imminently fall and collapse into a galactic dark age - a period of anarchy and chaos and a loss of art, culture, knowledge, technology and science that would last for thirty thousand years.

When he knew that imperial collapse was inevitable, he created the "Foundation" and implemented what was later to become known as the Seldon Plan. He couldn't stop the dark age but he could shorten its duration to a mere thousand years and give civilization the ability to start over again.

Asimov, known to his millions of fans merely as the "good doctor", certainly didn't stint when it came to the scope of his ideas and the size of the canvas on which he chose to paint. "Foundation" is a classic sci-fi novel that leans far towards the left side of the sci-fi spectrum.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Aug. 11 2014
By M Sockel TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books (sequel) I have read
Isaac Asimov is a genius.
I was not sure at the beginning since it is an book of sci-fi written in the 50's. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Jacques
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Brand new, as advertised, great read!!
Published 2 months ago by Sean Price
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
SON IN LAW LOVED IT
Published 3 months ago by Carol Droeske
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed classic that lacks any female characters
I know this is a scifi classic but there is a fundamental problem at the core of Foundation that made it impossible for me to finish reading it.

There are no women. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M Joseph Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good seller
Book was as described
Published 3 months ago by sarah
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Drivel
Completely disjointed narrative with a cast of thousands, no character development and a plot line that seems more at home in a novel about ancient history rather than a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by cleo
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of SciFi
I don't want to give any spoilers so I will just say that this book and it's entire saga are full of amazing surprises. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2011 by Sergio Juarez
5.0 out of 5 stars It Ages Well :-)
I first read "The Foundation Trilogy" back in high school and really enjoyed it. I recently reread the trilogy and still enjoyed Asimov's tale of galactic history. Read more
Published on April 17 2011 by Daffy Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book of conquest I ever read
It's not just territorial conquest... it's conquest over the world of physics, technology, psychology. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2008 by S. Lemieux
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time;Stick to Robot novels.
This book is one of the most overrated books I have ever read. There is very little in the way of plot and character development. There is no climax in this book. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by R. Riordan
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