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The Foundation Trilogy [Paperback]

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

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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
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Aug. 11 2014
By M Sockel TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful sequel May 15 2004
By Frikle
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Welcome to the second book in the Foundation trilogy (although Asimov did write further books, it was a trilogy originally). The book picks up where Foundation left off - the Foundation has established itself as a formidable force in the Periphery of the Galaxy. Of course, everyone is too well aware that gaining control of the local warlords is small potatoes compared to what's to come. In Foundation and Empire, the inevitable comes.
As the previous novel, Asimov has divided this into books, however here there are only two. As a result, he gets to explore the characters at more length then in Foundation. But again, expect wonder, amazement and enjoyment at the themes, issues and grandeur of this book, not the characterisation and "literary" qualities.
In the first book, the conflict between the Foundation and what's left of the Empire develops. This however is a much bigger game - in the past, the warlords barely out-war-powered the Foundation, while here the Empire dwarfs it even in its twilight. As always, something must be done other than a brute force tactic. Furthermore, the "heroes" of the Foundation are no more, in the conflict there are no Mallows or Hardins to guide the political intrigue, so it is here that Seldon's plan is put to the ultimate test.
In the second book (not to give away too much), a new threat to the Plan arises. A man known only as the Mule comes to light. And for the first time, an individual drastically changes the course of history. Indeed, he consists of the biggest threat to the plan thus far. What's so special about him?.. Personally, I found this book the most enjoyable in the whole trilogy - it reminds me of the little cryptic "detective" plotting from other Asimov works I read, such as I Robot and Steel Caves.
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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 1 month ago by M. Jacques
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Brand new, as advertised, great read!!
Published 1 month ago by Sean Price
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 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 2 months ago by M Joseph Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good seller
Book was as described
Published 2 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 7 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychohistory and the statistical prediction of mob behaviour!
By the end of the thirteenth millennium, mankind had populated millions of planets scattered throughout the galaxy. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2008 by Paul Weiss
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
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