Friday, March 19, 2010

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Book Details
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Paperback, 272 pages
2008, Spectra
ISBN: 0553382578
Series: Book 1 of Foundation

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to 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 a 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. Mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun—or fight them and be destroyed. 

Foundation surprised me. I had been expecting dry, hardcore science fiction with hard to grasp worlds and characters. I couldn't have been more wrong. Foundation takes politics, psychology, statistics and survival and showcases them in a galaxy far, far away.

Time passes quickly in the novel, so you don't get very attached to any of the characters. The focus is the big picture, the future, and the steps taken to prevent the coming anarchy. More than that, the focus is on the plot. Clean dialogue and a lack of heavy description keeps the plot constantly moving forward. The pace the plot progression sets makes the book very hard to put down. Foundation is a smart and easy read that deserves its label as being one of the best science fiction books of all time.



  1. I've been meaning to read an Assimov book for a while, but I've been hesitant because I find hard scifi intimidating. This looks like a promising read, though I do like to connect with a book characters so I'm not sure if I'd like the fact that this doesn't happen here. Thanks for the review!

  2. It SO does deserve the hype! I read the Foundation books when I was, like, 12, and I remember very little about them other than that I loved them. Now that I am 27, I have really been thinking I need to go back and re read them.

  3. Asimov really surprised me as well. I've recently read I, Robot and was fascinated by it and need to check out more of his books soon!

  4. I tried reading Asimov's science fiction when I was about 13 and was on a Bradbury and Heinlein kick. I found it hard to understand. Now ... 30 years later ... I guess it time to try again, eh? :-)