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Foundation (Foundation #1)
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2012 Reads > FOUND: Futuristic Setting, Stage Play Style

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Corbitt | 18 comments I've gotten a bit of an early jump on this book and found it a much quicker read than I expected. I may even finish before its actually September. I enjoy the world crafted, but can't really connected to any specific part of the world or any character - anyone that has finished will probably understand why.

However one thing I noticed and enjoyed is the stage play like style of this book. Nearly every chapter is less concerned about action and seems to make use of a single conversation amongst characters. It sets the scene, tells you the characters and then they head off into conversation to lay out the story. Even once they start talking there is very little notable movement or action. Despite not featuring any overpowering single characters, dialogue is the star of this book.

Has anyone else noticed the similarities to how this is written and either stage plays or single-camera television shows?


message 2: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Alm | 34 comments I see what your saying about each chapter focusing more on a conversation between two or more people. It would adapt well to stage I think.

As you may or may not know is that the original 3 novels were actually 8 short stories serialized in Astounding Magazine.


Corbitt | 18 comments I was wondering about that! The different sections of Foundation definitely feel like they could have been autonomous at some point.


Sarah (sarahjean58) | 15 comments I think what I like about his writing is that he doesn't add a lot of extra BS. I think that is my main issue with a lot of writers from our generation. I don't NEED 3 pages describing what a tree looks like...I have an imagination :)


Corbitt | 18 comments Yes. He also doesn't spend a lot of time talking about the science unless it applies to the greater goal. Which I think also lends its ability to adapt into a stage play. The tech doesn't need explanation most of the time, its just there. People understand "spaceship" well enough by now.


Joshua (JKFraser) | 18 comments Sarah wrote: "I think what I like about his writing is that he doesn't add a lot of extra BS. I think that is my main issue with a lot of writers from our generation. I don't NEED 3 pages describing what a tree ..."

Yes, totally agree there. I do like descriptions if they are important to the plot, or create atmosphere, but if you can't describe it in a page, you should probably just leave it out. Seldon was an old man with a book in a wheelchair. That is perfect. The Ambassador had a lisp and played with his sideburns, good enough.


message 7: by James (new)

James | 5 comments @Joshua By settling for Seldon was an old man in a wheelchair, I think you're giving up on what could be a much more interesting understanding of the character. People's bodies talk to us; they reveal aspects of character. Details matter. Seldon with his rheumy eyes, bent back, and froggy voice is decidedly unique from Seldon with his preternaturally smooth-skinned face and wry grin. Both could be in a wheelchair. Yes, I suppose I have the freedom to imagine either one, but so what. I can imagine a whole story for myself; I picked up this book for a reason.

I think you also draw attention to one of the pitfalls of Asimov's description-lite approach. I felt the ambassador's lisp to be problematic. I debated about whether it was a speech defect or some sort of regional accent. I wondered if Asimov was constructing some homosexual stereotype (he certainly makes a big deal out of the character's hairstyle). Was this part of some criticism of effeminacy? Because there is so little additional characterization or context, any interpretation I make is essentially speculative. I don't think that's good enough, not for a serious discussion of this work.

There's obviously a happy (or happier) medium here, but I worry about labeling descriptive world-building as BS, as Sarah does.


Corbitt | 18 comments I've noticed a lot of people had issues with the ambassador's speech. I take it as a purposeful manner of speech to put some pomp in his speech. Notice that at some points it goes away. I believe he's trying to sound more important than he is.

As for the stripped down style vs. world building I believe both have merits. Taking a lot of time to dsscribe a scene when the meet is in the dialogue can slow the story down, but a well detailed scene can paint an unforgettable mental image. I liked the bare bones style of Asimov in Foundation, but he was all about the dialogue in this one. But in Assassin's Apprentice I loved the descriptive nature of it. I suppose it depends on the author's style.


Katie (Calenmir) | 211 comments Corbitt wrote: "I've noticed a lot of people had issues with the ambassador's speech. I take it as a purposeful manner of speech to put some pomp in his speech. Notice that at some points it goes away. I believe h..."

My issue was just that it was so darn hard to read! It's always difficult to write in 'dialect'. I think though that it advanced the ambassador's purpose (view spoiler) Possibly being liberal with the spoiler tag, in deference to people still reading.


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