Pamela's Reviews > Foundation and Empire

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
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did not like it
bookshelves: alternate-histories-or-futures, boring, disappointing, overrated, pointless, royal-snoozefest, sci-fi

I didn't like the first novel in this series, Foundation, at all. It was fragmentary at best, mind-numbingly boring at worst. I am surprised that people say that these are the novels that turned them on to science fiction--if it were me, I would have run screaming in directly the opposite direction.

Please don't take this to mean that I don't like and admire Asimov--I do! I really enjoyed the collection of stories in I, Robot (and yes, okay, I loved the movie too, and a lot of that had to do with the wickedly cool car), and the premise of the Foundation stories is an interesting one. However, the idea of putting short stories together, jumping about wildly in time, and expecting it to be a cohesive whole just didn't work out for me.

At least in Foundation and Empire we're dealing with only two main story arcs, covered in two separate stories, but they feel like they don't really belong together. I'm sure down the line it will all look cohesive, but an author can only ask so much of his or her readers. "Hang on--it seems totally disjointed now, but twenty books down the line you'll see my wisdom!" Not really. The first story, dealing with a general who's an idealistic patriot, military genius, and totally deluded, had the potential to be interesting but ended very abruptly. Then, randomly picking up about a hundred years later (I think?!??! I was so confused as to the time periods being discussed--it could have been twenty years later. I don't know), we are introduced to a newly-married couple thrust by the groom's dad into interplanetary sneak work. They, and the Foundation, are facing an enemy called The Mule (hee haw!) who has risen from seemingly nowhere and who has gained an insane amount of power in a ridiculously short period of time.

Evidently, enough stuff happened to propel the book to its (frustratingly cliffhanger-y) ending, but I honestly couldn't tell you what happened, or why I should care about the characters acting this out. It's so flat that I cannot find words to describe it.

Another weakness, which isn't really Asimov's fault, I suppose, is that this super-advanced-in-time version of humans look, talk, dress, and act pretty much exactly the same as humans of Asimov's time. On the GALACTIC CAPITOL world of the freaking GALACTIC EMPIRE, they are printing newspapers. Yup, with paper and ink. If you were the super-imaginative genius Asimov was (or was supposed to be), wouldn't you have figured that in thousands of years, we would have moved past the newspaper? We can travel through hyperspace--but we still read newspapers?

I suppose that, in order to say that I've read it, and in order to continue my past record of book-related masochism, I'll have to read the third book. If it's even marginally better than the first two I may weep with joy.
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Reading Progress

June 16, 2011 – Started Reading
June 16, 2011 – Shelved
June 16, 2011 –
page 48
June 17, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Clint To me this book was dull and boring. It took all my being to make it chapter 12. I figured there are so many better books out there. So I stopped wasting my time on F&E.

Andalee If you didn't like the first one please don't review the first one on a review for the second novel in the series.

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