Thomas's Reviews > Foundation

Foundation by Isaac Asimov
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M 50x66
's review
Nov 19, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Thomas by: Mats Henriksson
Recommended for: Science Fiction fans
Read in January, 1982 , read count: 2

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 Fiction novel, however, I still believe I have something unqiue to contribute which is stated in my last paragraph.

This book and the rest in the series take place far in the future (allegedly 50,000 years) at a time when people live throughout the Galaxy. A mathematician Hari Seldon has developed a new branch of mathematics known as psychohistory. Using the law of mass action, it can roughly predict the future on a large scale. Hari Seldon predicts the demise of the Galactic Empire and creates a plan to save the knowledge of the human race in a huge encyclopedia and also to shorten the barbaric period expected to follow the demise from 30,000 years to 1,000 years. A select people are chosen to write the Encyclopedia and to unknowingly carry out the plan to re-create the Galactic Empire. What unfolds in this book and in the books that follow is the future history of the demise and re-emergence of a Galactic Empire, written as a series of adventures, in a similar fashion to the Star Wars series.

Even though this is arguably the greatest set of Science Fiction novels ever written, I do not recommend it to those who are only mildly interested in Science Fiction. Character development is not the focus of these novels and the large amount of technical/scientific details, schemes and plots can become both confusing and heavy for the unitiated Science Fiction reader. If you read this one you will feel the need to read the others which may take a long time. If you are new to Science Fiction start with something lighter and when you are hooked you can continue with this series. Also, in my opinion the second and third books were better than the first.
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04/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven Peterson I loved science fiction when I was younger (actually, I still like it but don't have much time to read in the genre); this was one of my first major encounters with sci-fi. You're right; at this point in his career, Asimov was pretty mediocre with characterization. Still, a great series (I just reread the trilogy plus later entries by Asimov into the Foundation/Robit series and their interconnection. Good review indeed!


Brian I agree with you on the characterization. This book is definitely about the plot and less about the players


message 3: by Darren (last edited Dec 14, 2010 07:04AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Darren 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.

Let me start by saying, I don't give a flying SPACE, about this author's IQ, SPACE damn it, so FRACK you!

This book is not a complicated read as you suggest Thomas, it is not bogged down with large amount(s) of technical/scientific detail, [with] schemes and plots [that] can become both confusing and heavy for the unitiated Science Fiction reader. The reason I am finding this book to be a yawn, is that I like to become involved with (and in) the characters, and I like to experience the development of the individuals who are introduced into the narrative.

Perhaps the reason why Asimov couldn't achieve developing complex characters might be due to what appears to be his lack of emotional and social intelligence-in other words, and to put it plainly, is he doesn't understand people, and that certainly shows in this novel. I might be a little premature regarding the afore mentioned statement, given that I haven't read any other writings of Asimov, so I stand to be corrected.

An IQ of 170, huh! I think Asimov was targeting the teenage demographic with this particular novel. My IQ is only in the double digits and I
thought...now...um...what what I thinking....?

Ouch! I just lent forward and bruised my frontal lobe...too much space, SPACE damn it, inside my cranium.

Now, where was I....


Amartya Kundu Characters! Who cares about characters, they are as insipid as the real ones. It is the grandness of the idea that is mesmerizing. With respects to Ayn Rand individuality does not matter that much. The sum is more than the parts. Human history is affected by the huge societal forces that Asimov has written about. Foundation is the best of the Foundation series.


Amartya Kundu Characters! Who cares about characters, they are as insipid as the real ones. It is the grandness of the idea that is mesmerizing. With respects to Ayn Rand individuality does not matter that much. The sum is more than the parts. Human history is affected by the huge societal forces that Asimov has written about. Foundation is the best of the Foundation series.


Amartya Kundu Characters! Who cares about characters, they are as insipid as the real ones. It is the grandness of the idea that is mesmerizing. With respects to Ayn Rand individuality does not matter that much. The sum is more than the parts. Human history is affected by the huge societal forces that Asimov has written about. Foundation is the best of the Foundation series.


Amartya Kundu Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


This is the power of Asimov's ideas. Characters are all about the pride and prejudices of the author and his companions. While the true greatness lies in the idea and the plot.


Amartya Kundu Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


This is the power of Asimov's ideas. Characters are all about the pride and prejudices of the author and his companions. While the true greatness lies in the idea and the plot.


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