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Foundation (Foundation, #1)
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Series Read: Foundation > Foundation Series Book 1: Foundation

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message 1: by mark, personal space invader (last edited Jun 03, 2017 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
Hello everyone, and welcome to our next Series Read: Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation series. Originally a trilogy, the series was expanded to include a total of seven books. The latter additions to the series connected the Foundation series to Asimov's Robot and Empire series. The original trilogy won the Hugo Award's "Best Series" in 1966.

Foundation, published in 1951, is a cycle of five interrelated stories.

In 2012, Foundation was included on i09's list of "10 Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them)":

http://io9.gizmodo.com/5924625/10-sci...

Now you no longer need to pretend!


Rafael da Silva (morfindel) | 59 comments It started with suspense, I liked that beginning.


Adrian | 50 comments Just to clarify, are we starting at "Prelude" and finishing at "Foundation and Earth" ?
I read some of the series last year but as this is my all time favourite series I'm happy to read again and don't mind where we start or end 😀


message 4: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
My plan is publication order, to better appreciate how Asimov expands upon his ideas. Prelude would then be book #6.


Adrian | 50 comments That's fine by me, and would certainly give a different perspective 👍


Katy (kathy_h) mark wrote: "My plan is publication order, to better appreciate how Asimov expands upon his ideas. Prelude would then be book #6."

Sounds like a great plan.


Mickey | 596 comments Although I have already read all of them many years ago. At some point in time, one should also read The Caves of Steel. Another story of the main character of the series.


Adrian | 50 comments Aah, the 4 novels of "Lije Baley", a great forerunner to the Foundation series, as well as I, Robot if you wanted to go back to the "very" beginning.


Staci Johnson | 7 comments Sorry to ask but I need the reading order for the Foundation series. I understand it's the pub order but I want to make sure our lists are the same.


Adrian | 50 comments I presume given Mark's comment, and I'm looking forward to this reading order, it will be :..

Foundation.
Foundation and Empire.
Second Foundation.
Foundation's Edge.
Foundation and Earth.
Prelude to Foundation.
Forward the Foundation.


Staci Johnson | 7 comments Thanks Adrian


message 12: by mark, personal space invader (last edited Jun 04, 2017 01:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "Although I have already read all of them many years ago. At some point in time, one should also read The Caves of Steel. Another story of the main character of the series."

I just read that last month and enjoyed it. a nice little appetizer to Foundation (although of course at that point the series weren't linked). I may also read its sequel Naked Sun during my Foundation read.


message 13: by Dan (last edited Jun 05, 2017 06:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan | 344 comments Guys, did you forget that Asimov near the end of his life tied his Robot books in with his Foundation series? Seriously, I think if you just read the Foundation books without the robots, you would be missing a huge part of the picture. From the Wikipedia page, the following is Asimov's himself's reading order:

List of books within the Foundation Universe

The "Author's Note" of Prelude to Foundation contains the chronological ordering of Asimov's science fiction books, in which he also said, "they were not written in the order in which (perhaps) they should be read". Forward the Foundation does not appear in Asimov's list, as it was not yet published at the time, and the order of the Empire novels in Asimov's list is not entirely consistent with other lists. For example, the 1983 Ballantine Books printing of The Robots of Dawn lists the Empire novels as: The Stars, Like Dust, The Currents of Space, and Pebble in the Sky. Given that The Currents of Space includes Trantor and that The Stars, Like Dust does not, these two books possibly were accidentally reversed in Asimov's list.

The Complete Robot (1982) and/or I, Robot (1950)
Caves of Steel (1954)
The Naked Sun (1957)
The Robots of Dawn (1983)
Robots and Empire (1985)
The Currents of Space (1952)
The Stars, Like Dust (1951)
Pebble in the Sky (1950)
Prelude to Foundation (1988)
Forward the Foundation (1993)
Foundation (1951)
Foundation and Empire (1952)
Second Foundation (1953)
Foundation's Edge (1982)
Foundation and Earth (1986)

To be honest, because I am old I have read most of the books in the order they were published. Most people nowadays recommend reading series in order of internal chronology. Would you recommend to kids watching Star Wars movies to do so in order of production, for example? (Correct answer: no) I recommend approaching Asimov's series in internal chronological order. The Wikipedia page lists an expanded and corrected strictly chronological reading order for the books if you want to consider a list 32 books long. You can shorten the list to 22 books if you take out the non-Asimov contributions, but those are some primo authors that wrote those 10 other books!

Here's the link to the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundat...

So, I Robot anyone?


message 14: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "Guys, did you forget that Asimov near the end of his life tied his Robot books in with his Foundation series? Seriously, I think if you just read the Foundation books without the robots, you would ..."

Dan, did you forget that I actually mentioned that in my first post in this thread? Seriously, I am confident you can read the Foundation series without reading the Robot series first.


message 15: by Mickey (last edited Jun 05, 2017 06:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mickey | 596 comments Dan wrote: "Guys, did you forget that Asimov near the end of his life tied his Robot books in with his Foundation series? Seriously, I think if you just read the Foundation books without the robots, you would ..."

I have read all 16 of those books.

However, Mark is correct about the Foundation Series. The first time I read anything by Isaac Asimov was the The Foundation Trilogy. I felt that those three books alone was self contained that completed the story. To me this trilogy was not about robots, but the theory of "science of psychohistory".

If Mark believes, I created a spoiler. Feel free to edit my posting. No hard feelings at all.


message 16: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
I don't see any spoilers so no need to edit anything, Mickey! also, I'm not big on spoilers being marked anyway, unless it is to avoid a big plot twist or surprising ending.


Mickey | 596 comments It is embedded in my DNA, I tend to worry about what to worry about.


message 18: by David (new)

David Agranoff | 16 comments Interesting I have read almost all those in both series I didn't realize Asimov connected them. It has been since the 90's since I read them.


message 19: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan | 344 comments mark wrote: "Dan, did you forget that I actually mentioned that in my first post in this thread? Seriously, I am confident you can read the Foundation series without reading the Robot series first. "

I didn't forget. I just felt that you attached no importance to it.

I am confident that you can read the Foundation series without reading the robot series first too, or at all. If you do though, you can't later go back and fix things by unreading when you have already read ahead in the series.

According to an article on Foundation, "In 1966, the Foundation Trilogy received the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, beating out the Lord of the Rings. (Asimov himself confessed surprise at winning the award, believing, as many others, that the category had been explicitly created to honor Tolkien's work.)"

For one who has not read the Foundation series yet, wouldn't you recommend that it is worth doing right? The character called The Mule, for just one example, Olivaw is another, really benefits from a fuller inner chronological reading. That's all I'm saying.

Here's the rest of that really cool article on the Foundation series if you are interested: http://io9.gizmodo.com/what-absolutel...


message 20: by David (new)

David Agranoff | 16 comments Robots series has to be read in order, the depth Asimov added to the series gives the books a natural build.


message 21: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
Dan, you do make a good point about Daneel and the post-trilogy Foundation novels where he is apparently an important character. i wouldn't be opposed to doing a side read of the Robot novels in advance of his eventual appearance. but let's see how much interest people show in Foundation first, and cross that bridge when it appears.


message 22: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) This will be my first reading of any of the Foundation series (or Robot series), but if I need to read the Robot series before Foundation -- that is 10 books before this one. It may be a while before I could even start Foundation. But I would like to do it right.


Mickey | 596 comments Katy wrote: "This will be my first reading of any of the Foundation series (or Robot series), but if I need to read the Robot series before Foundation -- that is 10 books before this one. It may be a while befo..."

There is no right way.
One way is just as good and as good the other.


MadProfessah (madprofesssah) | 74 comments I have also read both series and I think there is a lot of pleasure gained from seeing them connected.


message 25: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
Katy wrote: "This will be my first reading of any of the Foundation series (or Robot series), but if I need to read the Robot series before Foundation -- that is 10 books before this one. It may be a while befo..."

Katy, I'd echo what Mickey just said, and perhaps not even read the rest of this here post!

but still,

If you want to go by book publication order, then Foundation came before the first Robot novel, and decades before Asimov brought his three series together. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this will allow readers to see how Asimov develops his themes across his trilogy and, 30 years later, his eventual sequels and prequels.

The Robot series features a robot character named R. Daneel Olivaw. He also appears in the last three Foundation novels. If you want to see how Asimov develops this key character before bringing him into the Foundation series, then I'd read the Robot series after the first trilogy. (At least that's what I plan on doing, although I've already read the first Robot novel.)

If you want to read the entire Asimov Universe in chronological order, then that actually goes (1) Robot Series, (2) Empire Series, and (3) Foundation Series, despite the fact that the Foundation Series actually was written first. In the end that would also mean you'd have to read roughly 8 Robot & Empire novels and 2 Foundation prequels before getting to the book we are reading this month. That sounds like... a lot. And also unnecessary.

Okay, I think this will be the last I say on this topic, at least until after we at least get through the first trilogy! It feels increasingly silly to me to get bogged down in chronological versus publication order when so many decades separate so many of the books before all three series even come together.


Haaze | 29 comments mark wrote: "It feels increasingly silly to me to get bogged down in chronological versus publication order when so many decades separate so many of the books before all three series even come together. "

Hear! Hear!


message 27: by Dan (last edited Jun 07, 2017 03:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan | 344 comments Foundation is a more entertaining read than I, Robot, for sure. You're probably right in that it's better to hook readers than be puritanical on reading order. I think we'll be fine jumping in at the middle of the series and expanding out in chronological direction both ways as the mood suits. That's how I read the books of the series that I read starting in the late 1970s. Doing it that way didn't prevent my enjoyment. Thank you for your consideration of the points I raised.


message 28: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 116 comments I've read all the books in the Robot/Empire/Foundation cycle except Forward the Foundation. I recommend publication order over internal chronology. For one thing, I think his '50s output is better than his '80s output. For another, you get to track the development of Asimov's thought process and the changes in his approach to the craft as the decades progress. Otherwise, it's a bit jarring to keep shifting between '50s style Asimov to '80s style Asimov.


message 29: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) Excellent -- thanks all. I'll just start right off with the group read of Foundation with you all then.


Adrian | 50 comments Ok, I just thought I'd chip in with my two penneth ( old English expression ). Without wishing to re-ignite the "lively" discussion on what to read when, I have read all of the Asimov Robot, Empire and Foundation novels (a lot) more than once and started in the mid 70s like Dan. My opinion for people who have not read any of the Asimov novels, apart from being green with jealousy, is to read the Foundation novels first (although in my opinion Foundation itself is not the best). Then if you enjoyed them, including the 80s novels (I have to agree that his 50s output is different to his 80s output (but is it better?)) then start on the early Robot novels (with Susan Calvin), then relish the Lije Baley and Daneel (and Giskard) novels (Sci fi with a detective ( Asimov did write non-sf detective/mystery novels ) , oh what joy ).
Anyway I seem to have lost my thread, and I'm just waffling so I will just say whatever you read in whatever order, just enjoy, Asimov is a wonderful writer and his books are extraordinary.


message 31: by Phil (last edited Jun 07, 2017 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 116 comments Adrian wrote: "(although in my opinion Foundation itself is not the best)."

How so? I like it a lot for its simplicity and the directness of the ideas. Do you feel like they weren't developed enough?

Also, I read the paperback with this cover, which is hard not to love:
description


Adrian | 50 comments Don't get me wrong, I still think Foundation is a wonderful book ( I have given it 5 stars ). However every time I read it I am reminded it was a set of 4 short stories joined together by Asimov and Campbell. I am certainly not averse to short stories and these are excellent but I do feel the latter 2 novels of the trilogy are better.
BTW, great cover
Foundation (Foundation, #1) by Isaac Asimov
I think this was mine in the early 70s.


message 33: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 116 comments My favorite Foundation story is the Mule section of Foundation and Empire, but this first quartet of stories is a close second.

I actually like the disjointed-ness of it. Something that appeals to me about the whole Foundation concept is the vast scale of it. The stories in this book feel like excerpts of some much longer chronicle. Kind of like a more focused version of The Silmarillion.


message 34: by David (new)

David Agranoff | 16 comments Phil wrote: "My favorite Foundation story is the Mule section of Foundation and Empire, but this first quartet of stories is a close second.

I actually like the disjointed-ness of it. Something th..."

there is something to this...It gives it a a feeling...certainly the writing gets better but the mess of it gets it a lived in feeling


message 35: by Laz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laz the Sailor (laz7) Which do you recall better - Hari Seldon's principles or the 3 Laws of Rob0tics?

And Whelan covers are the best!


Mickey | 596 comments The three laws are sound in many ways. As the robot books covers the different possibilities.

However,

Hari Seldon theory smacks of any chaos theory. Long term predictions even with the smallest error rate makes future predictions unbelievable.

However, we can see still dream in an impossible future and have fun.


Teresa Carrigan I have read all the Foundation and Robot books, and enjoyed them.

As a professional software developer, there is no way that the three laws of robotics can be implemented as stated. Simple use case is the trolley problem. If you take no action, five people will be killed. If you take action, one person not currently in danger will be killed. Humans tend to freeze in this situation, particularly if the one separate person is a child or a friend and the five are adult strangers. There are multiple other issues.

But they make great stories.


message 38: by Mickey (last edited Jun 08, 2017 10:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mickey | 596 comments Humans are not machines.

Five people on the track and my little Yorkie on the the other track. I would let the five die and save my little Yorkie (my only friend, Sarcasm here). Then say I froze in shock about doing nothing. However, if I needed to flip the switch to save my little doggie, I would say I do not remember flipping the switch. Where the robot would have perfect memory.

Robots would choose the least carnage. I would morn my poor little Yorkie (Damn Robots, more sarcasm).

As for "ethics"? I heard of that word but not sure what it means. Facetious and Sarcasm here.


Teresa Carrigan As the robotics laws are stated, it explicitly says "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm". Nothing there about what to do if either way some human is injured much less killed. Software has to cover all the weird edge cases. A large part of my job is getting solid answers to what should be done in those weird edge cases, so that the application performs to specs instead of crashing or doing something strange.


message 40: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will (wlinden) | 13 comments Some did not vote for "The Lord of the Rings" because it is a novel, not a series.


message 41: by Dan (last edited Jun 09, 2017 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan | 344 comments Will wrote: "Some did not vote for "The Lord of the Rings" because it is a novel, not a series."

Wrong. Series name: The Lord of the Rings. Novel names that comprise the series: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Thanks for playing; next contestant.

More importantly for our topic, Series name: Foundation.
Novel names that comprise the series (publication order): Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation, Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation.
Short stories that comprise the first three novels:
1. "Foundation" May 1942, "Bridle and Saddle" June 1942, "The Big and the Little" Aug. 1944, "The Wedge" Oct. 1944
2. "Dead Hand" April 1945, "The Mule" Part 1 Nov. 1945, Part 2 Dec. 1945
3. "Now You See It ..." Jan. 1948, "... And Now You Don't" Part 1 Nov. 1949, Part 2 Dec. 1949, Part 3 Jan. 1950.


message 42: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) I started the book today and have read Parts 1 and 2. Very nice!


message 43: by C. John (last edited Jun 10, 2017 06:32AM) (new)

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 372 comments Dan wrote: "Will wrote: "Some did not vote for "The Lord of the Rings" because it is a novel, not a series."

Wrong. Series name: The Lord of the Rings. Novel names that comprise the series: The Fellowship of ..."


Actually Tolkein wrote it as a novel. It was his publisher who decided to break it up into three books.


message 44: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 116 comments It was my impression that Tolkien wrote it as six books, and the publisher put it out as three.

Is there a Tolkien expert in the house? I'm curious to know how he intended LotR to be perceived- as a book or as a series of books.


message 45: by Rafael (last edited Jun 10, 2017 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rafael da Silva (morfindel) | 59 comments He wrote it as one book, but right after WW II there's not a lot of paper available (paper was expensive) and the publisher was not eager to publish a book 1000 pages lenghty. It thought that it was too risky do that, so It was published as a series, the book it's divided in six books, but as a story it's three books. Even here in GR it is considered a series, and it was published as a series, the first one and the second one were published in 1954, the third one in 1955, so the people in that years could buy it one by one.


message 46: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) Finished Foundation. A very nice classic sci-fi book.


Adrian | 50 comments @Katy, I'm glad you enjoyed it. When a non SF (in general) reader enjoys one of one's favourite books, it is a good feeling (that sounded rather pompous, sorry). Hey I'm glad you enjoyed it :)


message 48: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
I've read the first two and half stories and found them very appealing. Asimov is just so readable! I noticed that right away in Caves of Steel - my vague impression of him being dry and dull when I had yet to read him was nonsense. although I think he is first and foremost an Idea Man, he makes sure to have his ideas being mulled and put forward by relatable characters.

that said, I do wish that the characters he sets in opposition to his relatable protagonists were less straw men and made more multi-dimensional. I noticed a similar thing in Caves. but I could also see how supplying depth to cardboard antagonists could appear pointless, as depth of characterization is not really his overriding interest.

as far as that overriding interest goes - in this case the mapping out of future civilization and the idea of psychohistory... my jury is still out on what I think of it. I have appreciated the stories individually but need to complete the whole piece before reflecting too deeply.

one of the things that I particularly am enjoying is that Asimov breaks that whole show-don't-tell axiom by making the telling a compelling experience and by ending his stories before what would be the climax in most other stories.


message 49: by mark, personal space invader (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday (happy-end-of-the-world) | 1274 comments Mod
just finished the third story and I sure was wrong about that tell-don't-show/no climax! fantastic story with a very exciting climax.


message 50: by Scott (new) - added it

Scott This is a collection of stories?


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