“The Foundation” by Isaac Asimov

“The Foundation” by Isaac AsimovFoundation by Isaac Asimov
Series: Foundation #1
Published: 2004 by Spectra
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been participating in a groupread of Isaac Asimov’s “The Foundation.”  This is a short spoiler-free review of the book for anyone who hasn’t been reading along.  For further discussion, see The Foundation Groupread, Part I and The Foundation Groupread, Part II.

Rather than having a central protagonist, Asimov instead features a central concept, the Foundation.  When psychohistorian Hari Seldon calculates that the galactic Empire will soon fall, he brings together a group of scientists with the intention of preserving humanity’s knowledge.  He establishes the Foundation on the remote planet of Terminus.  As the Empire decays, Terminus is left to fend for itself in a changing world.

The structure of the book took some time for me to get used to, as it’s composed of short stories which tend to jump chronologically from one major even to the next.  The important characters change over time, but the Foundation remains constant, giving the story an episodic feel.

“Foundation” is the type of book that seems intimidating at first because it is classic science fiction.  At the same time, the story is accessible and doesn’t feel dated.  I’m caught up in the story, and am looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.

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I read this book during a groupread for The 2012 Science Fiction Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.  It also counts toward the Vintage SciFi Not-a-Challenge from The Little Red Reviewer and the Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Baffled Books.  I am also including the “Foundation” trilogy in the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books, as it won a Hugo Award in 1966 as the Best All-Time Series.  Generally Hugo awards are presented for individual works.  This is the only case in which one was awarded to an entire series, which makes this award an incredible honor.

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18 comments

  1. As long as you don’t read any of Asimov’s follow-up books to the original Trilogy OR the dismal “sequels” (or prequels?) by David Brin (a pretty good sci-fi writer)….

    1. So far I just plan on reading the main trilogy, as I have so many other books to read. I have a book by David Brin on my shelf (not a Foundation one), but haven’t started it yet…

    1. I haven’t started it yet; I will a bit later in the week so that when I get caught up in the story, I don’t have to put it down for too long before starting the next section. 😛

  2. That’s funny. I posted my review of this today for the Gathering Books challenge. I am still trying to track down the sequel. Hopefully I will!

      1. Funny enough when I posted my review I received an email from the library saying that the copy I requested was in. The book wasn’t due back until February so that was a lucky break.

  3. My book buying ban prevented me from joining the read-along, but it’s been fun to follow along and see everyone’s reactions. I’d definitely like to read the whole trilogy some day.

  4. Hi Grace, Now I am definitely intrigued. TBM also has a review of this book – I think you must belong in the same virtual book club (an idea which I found to be particularly ingenious), and you all deserve a huge congratulations for finishing this book! I’d be keen to find out what you guys thought about Books 2 and 3. We should also establish a virtual support group for reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – that’s also quite lengthy. 😉

    1. We’ll be posting about book two on Monday!

      I tried reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell a while back, but only got about halfway through because nothing seemed to be happening in the book. At the same time, lots of people seem to love it! Lengthy books can be great fun.

    1. I probably won’t see the film… I tend to hate movies that were based on books. They generally end up butchering good stories when they try to cut them down to a 2-hour time slot. Although… I could see Foundation working out as a miniseries. I’ve enjoyed a lot of miniseries that have been based on books, because they tend to not cut as many relevant parts out.