Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Foundation” as Want to Read:
Foundation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Foundation (Foundation (Publication Order) #1)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  219,209 ratings  ·  4,221 reviews
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 ...more
Audiobook
Published April 20th 2010 by Random House Audio (first published 1951)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Foundation, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Roberta Wright It will make a lot more sense if you read the two prequels first, Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation. I highly recommend reading his…moreIt will make a lot more sense if you read the two prequels first, Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation. I highly recommend reading his introduction in Prelude to Foundation.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Christy
Honestly, I don't get why this book/series is so popular. There are some interesting elements to it (for instance, the use of religion as a tool of mass control and the implicit resultant argument that religion is no more than a fraud, "the opiate of the people," after all), but the book gave me little to enjoy or dig into. The forces of the novel are broad, historical, dealing with masses of people; this means that there is little to no room for individual characters here and little to be done ...more
Kane
Foundation. The name is apt.

Isaac Asimov's sprawling scifi tale is the rock on which much of today's space opera is built. Truer scifi historians than me would cite the late 1920s and pulp magazines such as Amazing Stories and E. E. "Doc" Smith as the DNA donors that spawned a thousand space operas. They would be right, but Asimov's fame towers above all others. His 1952 story of the decline and fall of the Galactic Empire is space opera's... foundation.

Unfortunately, the analogy continues. Fou
...more
Ken-ichi
An amusing read, but I think I still prefer Brin and Simmons when it comes to epic space opera. Probably the most interesting thing about this book (and, I assume, the rest of the series) is the millennia-spanning time scale of its narrative, which Asimov handles by establishing Hari Seldon's statistical prophesy, and then dropping in at critical junctures to investigate how individuals contrive to fulfill that prophecy. It's kind of a fun model, always knowing the general direction of the plot ...more
Thomas
Nov 26, 2008 Thomas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction fans
Recommended to Thomas by: Mats Henriksson
The Foundation trilogy (three first books) and the Foundation series (all seven) are often regarded as the greatest set of Science Fiction literature ever produced. The Foundation series won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Isaac Asimov was among the world's best authors, an accomplished scientist, and he was also a genius with an IQ above 170, and it shows in the intelligently concocted but complex plots and narrative. There are already 331 reviews for this Science Fi ...more
Tom
Dec 04, 2013 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has a grain of interest in Sci Fi
Recommended to Tom by: Me Mums
I highly recommend Foundation to anyone who professes to have a grain of interest in Sci-Fi. The political intrigue, religious undertones, innovative sci-fi thoeories, world building, and epic scope make Foundation one of the most worthy reads of speculative fiction.

The premise is that the genius, Harry Seldon, has created and perfected a new science, phychohistory, a form of advanced statistics, to the degree that he can mathematically predict and guide the future of extremely large population
...more
Penny
There's a reason everyone recommends this trilogy. It really is that good. I flew through this (granted it really isn't long) and loved every second! It's essentially 5 short stories that follow one another and need to be read in order. I'm very keen to read the rest of the Foundation novels when I'm finished with my 2014 challenge.

The investigation of science, religion and trade, and how they can work together and against one another is remarkably well done. It was unusual to read Asimov sans
...more
Kevin Xu
This is where Science Fiction especially Space Opera first started. Any fan of Science Fiction has to read this, this is the father of all Science Fiction. Its why its called Foundation. It is the Foundation of science fiction.
Steven Harbin
Jun 03, 2012 Steven Harbin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic science fiction
I just re-read this for about the 5th or 6th time, although this was probably the first time I've gone back to this volume in over a decade or even two. Asimov still holds up for me, though I can't say how much of that is nostalgia. Still, he's probably not for everyone, a little wordy at times, not much action. Even so the whole Foundation series was a major great concept when it first came out and I still recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction, especially "classic" science fiction. T ...more
Apatt
Yes, I have read Foundation before, chances are you have too! However, for some reason I missed out on the later Foundation books from Foundation's Edge, I can barely remember who Hari Seldon is or why “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”. So reread the series from the beginning it is then; no great hardship really, a fun time is already guaranteed, and the three volumes combined are shorter than a single book by Peter F. Hamilton.

The very first Foundation story was published in 1942
...more
Eric
Nov 12, 2012 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of classic sci-fi
Recommended to Eric by: Sword and Laser
It's always good to read something that helped mold a genre you love -- in the case of science fiction, that means reading Heinlein, Bradbury and Asimov. What's even better is when that classic turns out to be more interesting than anticipated.

In this particular case, that seems to be in spite of itself. It tries really hard to be very boring, in a number of ways.

1) Consistently telling instead of showing, to the extreme that there were literally no action sequences in the entire novel, a nove
...more
Stephen
6.0 stars. On my list of "All Time Favorite" novels. The epic scope of this series (e.g., a Galactic Empire spanning 25 million worlds and containing over a quadrillion people), the great characters, the fun story and the concept of psychohistory, which I think is one of the coolest concepts ever, make this an absolute must read for SF fans. It is just loads of fun. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

Winner: Hugo Award for Best All Time Series (The Foundation Trilogy) (1966)
Voted onto the Locus Li
...more
Elijah Spector
"Somewhere in the fifty years just past is where the historians of the future will place an arbitrary line and say: 'This marks the Fall of the Galactic Empire.'"
p. 80

Foundation is The Book of Kells writ large. The amazing-but-made-up science of psychohistory determines that the Galactic Empire is crumbling and the impending Dark Age can only be, at best, shortened (from 30,000 years to 1,000) if all its expansive knowledge and learning are preserved and disseminated in just the right way. This
...more
Rick
May 30, 2007 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fictioneers, psychology fans, history buffs
I first read this when I was 16, and it changed my life, giving me a whole new take on history and psychology and even math. I even tried a year as a psych major in college to see if the statistical approach was really the answer. Forty years later, I read it again, just to see what effect it would have. What I noticed was that the plot was carefully staged and not "fair" (in that the writer often kept some secret informaiton up his sleeve that the reader didn't know, but still it was a good rea ...more
Ben Babcock
I read the Foundation novels when I was younger, probably around the same time that I began getting into science fiction and fantasy in grades 7 and 8. I read a lot of Asimov, both because there was a lot of him in my suspiciously well-stocked public library and because … well, he wrote a lot of books. I read about the Foundation, psychohistory, his Three Laws of Robotics … everything and anything Asimov, if I could check it out with that brilliant plastic card, I would devour it. I can’t rememb ...more
Brad
an html thing!>

--i could have sworn i read this a decade ago, but now i don't know. something tells me i read an excerpt in a class sometime and thought i read the book. i didn't remember a fucking thing other than Hari Seldon

--c'mon ... Lucas is the most shameless thief since Shakespeare. Coruscant = Trantor. Don't even pretend it doesn't. And the Ewoks are stripped straight out of The Word for World is Forest.

--psychohistory is a load of crap, but a fun load of crap.

--Sherri told me that Fo
...more
Alison Looney
I enjoy reading science fiction, and even seek it out when I'm ready for a break from well-written books in which nothing really happens. As with all sci-fi, there were some great ideas in this book, psychohistory chief among them. Much like psychology predicts behavior, psychohistory predicts large, sweeping patterns through time. The book then explores influence, power, and control within the frame of psychohistory. Some interesting questions and themes come along - does the individual matter ...more
Arun Divakar
There has been volumes written about this work and its companion volumes. It has been called seminal,monumental and pathbreaking in the field of Sci-Fi. But after reading this, I found it to be outstanding in the amount of intellect that oozes from the book.

I do not wish to write a detailed dissection about the book but there are a few things that stood out for me. Firstly, all three of the male protagonists : Hober Mallow, Salvador Hardin and Hari Seldon are extremely sharp and far sighted. The
...more
Michael

It really is high time I review this sucker, even though I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. Even Hari Seldon doesn't know how I'm going to do it, but that's because individuals are hard to predict. He could tell you fer sure what's going to happen in 2012, though: whether or not we can expect Xenu's return, whether or not the Tea Party is going to win and realize they don't have a bloody clue how to lower taxes, whether or not the final battle between vampires and werewolves will happen, whate
...more
Katie
A book that's more intriguing than good, I think. I get why it's a classic - the book is full of interesting ideas, and Asimov does a fun job in taking the large scale forces of earthly societies and transplanting them into space. It's very clear that he has a background in medieval studies, and this book could probably be subtitled "A Rather Negative View of Medieval History in Space." Psychohistory, while ridiculous, is a fun concept in the abstract. And it would not surprise me - if I knew mo ...more
Ana
i remember when i first discovered asimov and herbert in the back of my bookshelf, hidden away like some dark, forbidden books that no one in the house even bothered to display. they are old editions, probably the first ones that were translated in my language and are held together with scotch in a very frail way, that enables me to only read them on my desk, turning each page very carefully. i remember how amazed i was, at thirteen, because i had never read proper SF before. it was all so new, ...more
David Sven
The book is set some tens of thousands of years in the far flung future where mankind has populated countless planets as part of a unified Galactic Empire similar to the Roman Empire.

Psychohistory is a science (supposedly) whereby the future can be mathematically mapped out. Only one person is smart enough to do it ie Hari Seldon, who projects/prophesies the fall of the Galactic Empire and a subsequent thousand year period of chaos before a Second Empire rises from the ashes. This first book in
...more
Jesse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie
Isaac Asimov's Foundation series is often cited amongst the nerdegalian as the best sci-fi series evar. It's set, as you may guess, far into the future where a man discovers that Rome ...uh, I mean The Galactic Empire is fated to collapse and bring about 30,000 years of barbarism unless certain actions are taken to start a long chain of events, the first of which is to create a kind of galactic Wikipedia. I'm not normally a fan of hard science fiction, and reading this trilogy kind of reminds me ...more
Ms. Nikki
I made it to page 168 then skimmed the rest.
Hari Seldon is the know all see all and he, this book, bored the hell out of me.
It was chaotic, and my brain was not interested in caring about the Foundation or the Empire.

Not For Me.
John Park
This is a 1979 revision of the 1951 novel that I read with great disappointment as a teenager: "atomic" energy has been changed to "nuclear". Possibly other improvements were made too, which might explain why the book didn't seem as bad as I'd remembered it.

The underlying idea—a failing empire and the attempts to avoid a galactic dark age by exploiting statistical analyses of human behaviour—has power, of course, but the execution is still mostly 1950s' pulp. Almost all the key scenes are dialog
...more
Anton
Foundation is a tough novel to rate because it's so convoluted. From what I've heard, you must read all of the books in order to get the complete story. Characters in this book last three or four chapters at most, before you're hit with a new set of characters. The plot takes center stage in this one however, and what a great story it is. I can't help but respect this work, and what it represents.

What it represents is what I believe is Issac's personal religion, and this novel challenges me to t
...more
Terence
Nov 17, 2010 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Asimov fans, SF Classics completists
For a certain generation of SF readers, Foundation is one of those canonical texts that have to be read if you're to be considered a true "believer."

Not so much so today.

And that's not a bad thing. Foundation is hopelessly naive and simplistic and so much a product of the '50s - and there's so much more sophisticated and interesting SF out there (including some contemporaneous authors) - that you won't miss out if you never crack its cover.

If I were an SF virgin, Foundation would merit, at most,
...more
Michael
Seems like every Science Fiction novel I read that was written in the 1960’s or 1970’s they seem to substitute story for social and philosophical issues. Foundation is no different, while this book has a very interesting take on a shifting society; I found the story and the characters very flat. While I didn’t like this aspect of the book there fast paced; rise of the foundation was really great. Don’t read this for the story; read this book for an interesting social aspects and the effects chan ...more
Manny
I can't improve on Mark Rosenfelder's brilliant review at zompist.com. A one-sentence summary of the key argument: psychohistory must be nonsense, because it doesn't predict itself. Now why didn't I think of that?
♥Xeni♥
As a science fiction classic, this book is one hailed necessary to be read by all sci-fi fans. I didn't quite understand it, but now, after having finished the book, I do understand.

There are so many things in this book that Asimov must have thought up first and that later science fiction writers just built up on. In that way, this is a truly amazing book (historical sense).

But if I take into account his actual writing style and so forth, then I have to say it failed miserably. I wasn't all tha
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Must reads according to TIME magazine 4 44 Apr 29, 2015 09:43PM  
Fantasía y Cienci...: * Comentarios y opiniones. 17 82 Feb 11, 2015 02:19AM  
ÑÑS: Opinión General 2 8 Jan 25, 2015 03:09PM  
  • Rendezvous with Rama (Rama, #1)
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2)
  • Startide Rising (The Uplift Saga, #2)
  • Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles, #6)
  • Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2)
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)
  • Way Station
  • The Stars My Destination
  • The Black Cloud
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • Jupiter
  • The Citadel of the Autarch (The Book of the New Sun #4)
  • The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #4)
  • Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1)
16667
Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
...more
More about Isaac Asimov...

Other Books in the Series

Foundation (Publication Order) (7 books)
  • Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2)
  • Second Foundation (Foundation, #3)
  • Foundation's Edge (Foundation, #4)
  • Foundation and Earth (Foundation, #5)
  • Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1)
  • Forward the Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #2)
I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2) Second Foundation (Foundation, #3) The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, #1-3) The Caves of Steel (Robot, #1)

Share This Book

24 trivia questions
4 quizzes
More quizzes & trivia...
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” 4722 likes
“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” 795 likes
More quotes…