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The Foundation

Posted on: July 24, 2012

Name : The Foundation

Author:  Isaac Asimov

Genre : Science fiction novel

Pages : 255

Language: English

Publication Year: 1951

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book :

Awards :  Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966.

Rating: 5/5


Isaac Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series, his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Foundation series won the one-time Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966.

The Foundation is highly recommended to anyone who admit that they have a keen interest in sic-fi. The foundation series is considered as greatest science-fiction novels ever written, these novels are not recommended for those who are only mildly interested in sicience-fiction. If you are new to sci-fi genre, start with something lighter and once you are comfortable with the genre then you can start with this series.

Foundation was originally a series of eight short stories published in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950. The first four stories were collected, along with a new story taking place before the others, in a single volume published by Gnome Press in 1951 as Foundation. The remainder of the stories were published in pairs by Gnome as Foundation and Empire (1952) and Second Foundation (1953), resulting in the “Foundation Trilogy”,  as the series was known for decades.

The novel is set in far future where humans have scattered across the milk way galaxy and inhabited the all life supporting planets and ruled by Galactic Empire. The premises of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon – has developed a mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mas action – psychohistory can predict the future but only on a large-scale. It works on the principle that the behavior of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillion of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future.

Using psychohistory Seldon predicts demise of the galactic empire and creates a plan to save the knowledge of human race in huge encyclopedia knows as encyclopedia galactica and also he creates a plan to minimize the barbaric period expected to follow the demise of empire from 30,000 years to 1,000 years.

He establishes the foundation on planet Terminus with selected few to write encyclopedia galactica and to carry out the His secret plan.

The main focus of this novel is not character development so you won’t find much in terms of character development in this novel. The novel is divided into five parts namely The Psychohistorians, The Encyclopedists, The Mayors, The Traders and The Merchant Princes. Each part introduces set of new characters and each part deals with the progress of foundation in terms of encyclopedia galactica and carrying out the secret plan of Hari Seldon. Hari Seldon is the only person who appears in all five parts. Every time foundation faces some crises (know as Seldon Crises), a vault is opened automatically and Hari Seldon’s pre-recorded video is played in which Seldon will provide the solution for present crises and future course of action for foundation.

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves—or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.

“The whole war is a battle between those two systems; between the Empire and the Foundation; between the big and the little. To seize control of a world, they bribe with immense ships that can make war, but lack all economic significance. We, on the other hand, bribe with little things, useless in war, but vital to prosperity and profits.” – Foundation.


5 Responses to "The Foundation"

i just read two more in the foundation series i liked them and yet i don’t think i am going to read any more any time soon. maybe next year when i have forgotten this 🙂

Thanks Sanyukta, which two books in series you read?

I really enjoyed this one.. soon will start foundation and empire.

Kadri saheb, it is a huge series. Further, Asimov went on link the Foundation series to his Empire and Robots series into one common thread, totalling around 20 books.

Wow!! Seems like it’s goining to be a huge read!

I am planning to compelete original triology first and after that will pick up sequels and prequels.

[…] Book 1 : Foundation – Review […]

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