Kiri's Reviews > Foundation

Foundation by Isaac Asimov
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Jul 31, 12

Read from July 17 to 31, 2012

I'd been meaning to read this forever -- one of those classic cornerstones of science fiction. And yet it fell kind of flat. The basic premise is intriguing: the use of "psychohistory" to predict the evolution of a society and how to shape it in a direction of maximal benefit for all involved, even if not for individuals. But the message that emerges from the series of conflicts the characters face over time is simply "Hari Seldon knows all" and "do nothing because all the dominoes have already been set up to fall". It's difficult to admire any of the characters as brilliant, because Seldon is simply TOO good (he has mythical powers never really explained) and the rest just conclude that they should stay hands off and let Seldon's contrivances work themselves out. Beyond that, none of the characters feel rich and real; they are all very similar (note how hard it is to remember their distinct names) and when they're different, they're different in caricature ways (e.g., foppish accent). But hey, Asimov starting writing this when he was only 21.

If you're looking for a story of a dead person still controlling the present (and future) through clever planning, read C.J. Cherryh's Cyteen. Now that's great science fiction, with great characters.

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan I read a bunch of Foundation a long time ago and couldn't get into it for exactly these reasons.

Asimov is never someone to read for characters, though. He's an idea guy.

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