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Prelude to Foundation

(Foundation, publication order #6)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  71,610 ratings  ·  1,738 reviews
It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capital of the Galactic Empire, forty billion people have created a civilization of unimaginable technological and cultural complexity. Yet Cleon knows there are those who would see him fall—those whom he would destroy if only he could read the futur ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published August 22nd 1994 by Voyager (first published May 1988)
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Jim Davis I was just thinking about this when the Sci Fi Aficionados club picked this as one of the books for a group read in November. I have read all the Foun…moreI was just thinking about this when the Sci Fi Aficionados club picked this as one of the books for a group read in November. I have read all the Foundation books in the order they were published and that is my personal preference. I never saw a problem with reading them this way and there is no specific reason for reading then in timeline order. The original trilogy was written in the early 50's and then there was a gap until the early 80's. Fortunately Asimov's writing style and lack of reference to specific technology doesn't make the first trilogy seem dated. But if you prefer your stories to be chronological instead of "flashing" back then you may want to read them in the order of the storyline which would be:

Prelude to Foundation (1988)
Prelude to Foundation (1993)
Foundation (1951)
Foundation and Empire (1952)
Second Foundation (1953)
Foundation's Edge (1982)
Foundation and Earth (1986)

This is from a word document I have that is suppose to be Asimov's suggested order. It's out on the web somewhere but I don't remember where. He also recommends reading the Robot stories and novels first and then the Galactic Empire novels because there are some tie-ins, especially with the Robot novels near the end of the foundation series.
Here is the list with the other two series included:

The Complete Robot (1982) Collection of 31 Short Stories about robots.
The Caves of Steel (1954) His first Robot novel.
The Naked Sun (1957) The second Robot novel.
The Robots of Dawn (1983) The third Robot novel.**
Robots and Empire (1985) The fourth (final) Robot novel.**
The Currents of Space (1952) The first Empire novel.
The Stars, Like Dust-- (1951) The second Empire novel.
Pebble in the Sky (1950) The third and final Empire novel.
Prelude to Foundation (1988) The first Foundation novel.
Forward the Foundation (1992) The second Foundation novel.
Foundation (1951) The third Foundation novel, comprised of 5 stories originally published between 1942-1949.
Foundation and Empire (1952) The fourth Foundation novel, comprised of 2 stories originally published in 1945.
Second Foundation (1953) The fifth Foundation novel, comprised of 2 stories originally published in 1948 and 1949.
Foundation's Edge (1982) The sixth Foundation novel.
**there would be no problem if you wanted to move the last two Robot novels here.
Foundation and Earth (1986) The seventh Foundation novel.

As I said my personal preference is to read them in the order they were published and I included those dates if you want to do it that way(less)

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Stephen
In the realm of science fiction, Isaac Asimov’s stories have always been my woobie.
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This rings especially true for his Robot and Foundation series. For me, they’re a literary panic room where I can escape the stress storms and never-ending deadlines of the day-to-day ruckus into a much simpler time where the ambient happy is always turned way up.
 
Yes…yes…before you say it, I'll acknowledge your gripes about Asimov and even concede to some of them.
 
Asimov wasn't as skilled a wordsmith as, say
...more
Baba
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, asimov-verse
Chronologically the first book in the Foundation (post Robot era Galactic Empire series), yet only published in 1988, four years prior to his death, yet the then 68 year old Isaac Asimov is still creating and expanding his Empire reality! In this book we get to meet Hari Seldon when he first proposed 'pyschohistory' to the Empire. A wonderfully weighted and typically gloriously innovated piece of world building as seen through the viewpoint of 'outworlders' Harry and his female (nice one Asimov) ...more
Peter
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unless you're just a die-hard Foundation fan and have to read them all, "Prelude to Foundation" can safely be skipped. In particular, I'm not sure that I would recommend reading it prior to the other Foundation novels despite the fact that it's a prequel.

It's not spoiling anything to briefly explain why this is. In "Foundation," which is really more a shorts collection than a novel despite the fact that the stories do flow very well together, Hari Seldon is already an old man. The whole premise
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1, Publication Order #6), Isaac Asimov
Prelude to Foundation is a novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, published in 1988. It is one of two prequels to the Foundation series. For the first time, Asimov chronicles the fictional life of Hari Seldon, the man who invented psychohistory and the intellectual hero of the series. It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capit
...more
Apatt
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
“What I have done is to prove that it is possible to choose starting conditions from which historical forecasting does not descend into chaotic conditions, but can become predictable within limits. However, what those starting conditions might be I do not know, nor am I sure that those conditions can be found by any one person—or by any number of people—in a finite length of time..”

That is pretty much the gist of what Hari Seldon, Asimov’s most iconic character, tries to accomplish in Prelude to
...more
John
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
My first Asimov book, it was both wonderful and disappointing. I loved the hugeness of the imagination at work here. The bizarre and diverse societies of Trantor with their rituals, structures, foods, ways of living, and just the physical structure of the world itself, with multiple layers and a surface covered with sand and the occasional forest, made for fun reading. As for the disappointments, although it is probably a cliché at this point, I could not stand the squareness of the dialogue, th ...more
Sud666
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The original Foundation series is one of my favorite sci-fi series. In fact, it could be argued that Seldon's "psychohistory" was the basis, in my youth, for what motivated me in my later years and eventually ended up being my Doctoral Dissertation on "A mathematical interpretation of conflict". But I shall not melt your brain with such dross, let's look at this prelude.

While most readers are used to an elderly Hari Seldon in a wheelchair spouting quixotical ideas about the future, this is the s
...more
C.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
This really wasn't that bad - in fact I enjoyed it quite a lot - but it was very disappointing. It is an entirely different kind of book to Foundation, which was about concepts. Not amazingly written, certainly, but neither was this, and without the great concepts, there's not a huge amount left.

I think it would be a bit harsh to say that this book was written to cash in on the phenomenon that was Foundation, though I suspect that is part of it. What probably happened is that Asimov realised tha
...more
Adina
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sf

I enjoyed this book more than I probably should have.

As the name suggest it is the prequel to the Foundation series which is considered one of the best SF series ever.

What I liked about this book is the idea of the psycho-history and also how the author imagined some of the worlds from Trantor. Also the action was gripping, if reading until 2:00am is a sign of that.
I have to admit, however, that the book is not a work of art. The prose is quite simplistic and it is full of dialog. OMG,too much
...more
Ana
Finally! After all these years! I have finished the first book of Foundation. What exactly took me so long, I will never know... I really enjoyed this work, it's high-quality SF, with all the societal elements inserted in it, all the questions about humanity posed and all of the wonders of the possible future bestowed on the reader. Brilliant for someone who loves the genre - and I most certainly am in love with science fiction, it sparks the imagination in a completely different way than any ot ...more
Daniel Bastian
"Why, he wondered, did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions—not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers?"

(Note: As with other reviews in this series, spoilers to follow.)

After five novels spanning as many centuries, one might have supposed Asimov's stepwise tinkering with his Foundation universe had come to an end. The adventures of Golan Trevize, Janov Pelorat, and Bliss concluded in Foundation a
...more
Maanasa
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I did the unthinkable when it comes to reading the Foundation series and started with Prelude (I recently also finished Forward the Foundation and have started reading Foundation). I read the book slowly during my commute, and I found myself getting progressively more annoyed with how quickly I got to and from work. I felt like the book went 0-60 in no time as it immediately set a brisk pace that it would follow for the rest of the book. I found that the flight of Hari Seldon was both exciting a ...more
Sesana
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm working on reading the Foundation-related books in internal chronological order. I've worked through the Robots and Empire books, and now I'm moving on to the Foundation books. Is this a good idea? It's probably still too soon for me to say. I imagine that somebody who's read Foundation would have a totally different reaction. For me, it was my first exposure to psychohistory, so it worked to see what I guess you could call the birth of the idea. I didn't need to see details into what exactl ...more
Tomislav
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Some day I'm going to read the novels of Asimov's future history in story order...

1 The End of Eternity (stand-alone) 1955
2 I, Robot (short stories) 1950
3 The Caves of Steel (Robot) 1954
4 The Naked Sun (Robot) 1957
5 The Robots of Dawn (Robot) 1983
6 Robots and Empire (Robot) 1985
7 The Stars, Like Dust (Empire) 1951
8 The Currents of Space (Empire) 1952
9 Pebble In The Sky (Empire) 1950
10 Prelude to Foundation (Foundation Prequel) 1988
11 Forward the Foundation (Foundation Prequel) 1991
12 Foundation
...more
Martin
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You mean that something quite accidental came to be viewed as a tradition?" p.118

"No no. I mean 'primitive' only in that it has been known as long as our records go back, that its discovery is shrouded in the mists of antiquity as is that of fire or the wheel." p.168

"So you insult us by asking about out religion, as though we have ever called on a mystrious, insubstantial spirit to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves." p.230

"They would support, as such, even that perfectly ridiculous tale
...more
Jocelyn
I should have seen that ending coming, but I didn't see it coming and OMG. I actually gasped out loud. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Harry got a bit irritating at times, but I kept having to remind myself of what white men were like when this was written. Overall an awesome story, I'm enjoying reading this series in chronological order so far!
...more
Benjamin Marcher
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read! Wonderful flow, fantastic twists and turns, excellent pacing and writing that just doesn't exist in Sci-Fi today. "Prelude" is the perfect introduction to the series and to Asimov's larger Universe! ...more
Joe
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Asimov wrote hundreds of books, but he is best known for his Foundation series and his stories about robots. The Foundation series chronicles human society far in the future; where we've spread across the galaxy and established colonies on millions of worlds but have forgotten the one we started on. And in the vastness of this human empire, decay has set in and cracks are growing; a galactic dark-age so grand in scope few can even see it's dimensions.

The hero of the series is Hari Seldon; mathe
...more
Adrian
Re-reading this great book, was like sitting in a favourite comfortable armchair, it was just so wonderful to be be back in the Seldon universe.
I first read the Foundation trilogy many moons ago, and have enjoyed every read since, especially as books were added, and the Robot novels gradually merged through the Empire novels to the Foundation.
I have seen some thoughts that you should NOT read the books in chronological order but in published order, personally I think that once you know the nov
...more
Diego Fernández
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Well, I had expected when Hari begin talking his theory of that person. Damn. This year I read the saga. I can't believe I did this year. I read a lot and other books also I've read. I hope to gain more vocabularies in the next year. :) ...more
John Mccullough
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In 1942 the brilliant Isaac Asimov published a series of stories that eventually formed a book called “Foundation.” Soon after, two other books were published that formed the “Foundation Trilogy.” These were so successful and seminal to other writers that eventually Asimov was encouraged to write two sequels to the trilogy. According to his wife, he was at a loss as to how to continue the series so he decided to write two “prequels,” the first being “Prelude to Foundation,” the first book in the ...more
Jon
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to what seems to be the popular consensus, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it was. I first read these books out of order. The original trilogy, then the two that followed it. I had never read the robot books, prelude/forward/empire novels. So I have been doing this.

Having already read the original trilogy and two sequels (as well as The Complete Robot, 4 robot novels, 3 empire novels... ), I thoroughly enjoyed Prelude to Foundation. It is certainly NOT a necessary read,
...more
Joel Simon
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Foundation book, and my second Asimov book (I, Robot was the first). Even though written later than the original books in the Foundation series, I decided to read it first because it is in chronological order of the story. I will never know whether or not this was the right thing to do and I can see from other readers' comments that many Asimov fans found this book to be disappointing. So in a way it is good that I read this Foundation book first because things will get even be ...more
Sophia Petrova
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
First Asimov book for me. I loved the dynamics and the different cultures exploration. Amazing concepts. I couldn't leave the book from the beginning until the end.

!!!SPOILERS!!!

On the other side, I felt like I missed thoughts and reasoning while Hari was trying to find ways to create psychohistory- it just felt flat the way that the solution came to him, we weren't part of the process of thinking. I would prefer to read more about what was going his mind.

And something I especially didn't like
...more
Cindy
Sorry Isaac, there were a few good parts with new information but mainly this was boring.
Craig Childs
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Galactic Empire is dying."

Hari Seldon is a young mathematician who arrives on Trantor to deliver a paper that, much to his surprise, will send ripples through the capital world. He has proven it is theoretically possible to predict the future using advanced mathematical models. In practicality, of course, it will not work -- the number of variables is simply too great -- but merely the suggestion of this new ability is enough to make Emperor Cleon I and his various challengers to the thron
...more
John
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Enjoyed it! Was super happy to Asimov address racism and prejudice in this book. Parts got into scifi super garble but over all the story elements were good and I enjoyed it.
Doug
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neo Marshkga
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Prelude to Foundation is the first prequel to the classic Sci-Fi saga, Foundation, written by Isaac Asimov.
This book starts before all the science that explains the Universe of the original Trilogy is fully developed.
We are drawn into a world where knowledge is on a constant state of decay, as the Empire itself.
After thousands of years, the Empire is so big and has extended so much, that several problems started to arise. The Universe is way too big, way too many planets compose the Galaxy, and
...more
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20,126 followers
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 one of the most prolific writers 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 o
...more

Other books in the series

Foundation, publication order (8 books)
  • Foundation (Foundation, #1)
  • Foundation and Empire (Foundation #2)
  • Second Foundation (Foundation #3)
  • Foundation's Edge (Foundation #4)
  • Foundation and Earth (Foundation #5)
  • Forward the Foundation (Foundation: Prequel #2)
  • Fondazione 1

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