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Group Reads 2018 > June 2018 Group Read - Foundation

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo | 1093 comments This is to discuss the June 2018 group read, Foundation by Isaac Asimov.


message 2: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 643 comments Started today. I think I read it when I was a boy, but I'm not sure. I've got all the following parts lined up, in case I get hooked.


Rosemarie | 515 comments I re-read Foundation earlier this year. I hope I get time to read Foundation and Empire this month, since I enjoyed the first book.


Sara Salazar (sarabarbosa) | 4 comments I've read the trilogy, it got me completely hooked. I think what's amazing about asminov is that he can write books that are so entertaining and not heavy and at the same time introducing absolutely amazing sci-fi concepts here and there that kind of blow your mind, specially taking account when it was written.

I'm now reading the Asminov books in the advice order that it's found on the internet taking into account the chronology of the universe he created. I'm starting at the complete Robot, I am really enjoying it!


message 5: by Kacper (last edited Jun 02, 2018 02:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kacper Wu | 2 comments I've already read the Foundation series some time ago and I'm eager to discuss what you guys think about it. I'm going to reread it now for better recollection. Anyway, it's really great book, not only from sci-fi perspective, but also sociological.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) | 718 comments I'll start this one later this month. Looking forward to it. This will be my first Asimov!


Bill Burris (wburris) I have been reading the Foundation Universe books in the chronological order as given on Wikipedia. Currently I am on Second Foundation.

I skipped the Robot Mystery series by Mark W. Tiedemann and the Caliban trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen. This was a mistake, since they are part of the background for the Second Foundation trilogy. In the back of Foundation's Triumph by David Brin, he gives a complete timeline which shows how the Robot Mystery and Caliban books fit in.


Phil J | 100 comments The eternal debate on this series is publication order vs. internal chronological order.

I prefer publication order, largely because I prefer early Asimov over middle-late Asimov. It's hard to go wrong with Foundation and I, Robot.

I thought about this book when I watched a documentary about Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil and his peers are attempting the same things that Hari Selden does in Foundation.


message 9: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4281 comments Mod
I'm still on hold for the audio book. Hopefully the library will free it up soon. It's been too many years since I read it for me to discuss it. I don't recall being all that thrilled with it.

I generally prefer chronological order, but I won't insist on it. If the author has anything to say about the reading order, I'll go with that for a first read for certain.

How does Kurzweil & this compare to Dickson's The Final Encyclopedia? It's been a while since I read that, too.


message 10: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo | 1093 comments Phil wrote: "The eternal debate on this series is publication order vs. internal chronological order.

I prefer publication order, largely because I prefer early Asimov over middle-late Asimov. It's hard to go ..."


Are there some series that are actually better read not in publication order? I can't think of any off-hand but i'm wondering if there are some good examples to satisfy my curiosity.


message 11: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4281 comments Mod
Jo wrote: "Are there some series that are actually better read not in publication order? I can't think of any off-hand but i'm wondering if there are some good examples to satisfy my curiosity. "

I'd say usually not & I can't think of any SF examples, although it's possible that Asimov's robot stories might work better that way. I don't care for his later work much, so don't know. I can think of 3 examples in other genres where it's better to read out of published order; 2 fantasies & a mystery. They're favorite series of mine, so I get a bit geekish about them.

The Magic of Recluce & the 20(?) books in the series are published out of order. The author likes them read in published order & I agree for the first read. He has several themes about magic & people that build better that way. I think it matters less toward the end of the series, though.

On a reread, chronological order is best, IMO. It's a long, complicated history of 2000 years spanning the relatively small world. Some of the events fit together better. Lee helped me put them all in chronological order including all the short stories that are collected in 1 book. There are GR lists for both orders, but if you want the short stories, you need to read my review of the first book which is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Karl Edward Wagner's Kane series was published completely out of order. It's tough to even find all the stories & novels together much less read them chronologically. I didn't for 40 years until Centipede Press finally published them all together in a 5 volume set that sold out almost immediately. Even then, you have to read some short stories in a book & then break for a novel, but the Kane short stories are super important & some of KEW's best work. The full chronology is in my review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


The Harry Bosch Universe is another that isn't published strictly in order, especially the short stories. I think only 1 or 2 books are just slightly out. Strictly speaking, this pulls together several series, but they're in the same universe so have some details that make for a better story if kept together as 1 series. Several of us worked to get that set in order. One of the short stories is just plain messed up, unfortunately. The chronology is in my review of the first book here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Rosemarie | 515 comments I have read The Magic of Recluce series in publishing order, mainly because I have been reading them since the author started writing them.


message 13: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo | 1093 comments Jim wrote: "I'd say usually not & I can't think of any SF examples, although it's possible that Asimov's robot stories might work better that way. . "


Thanks Jim I will have a look at those.

For the Foundation series i'm definitely with those that think they should be read in published order. I hope I can find my copy of Foundation to re-read this month.


message 14: by Marc-André (new) - added it

Marc-André | 298 comments Foundation is definately better in publishing order. The subsequent work doesn't come close to the quality of the original short stories that would become the original trilogy.

I'm enjoying the re-read so far.


message 15: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 2102 comments Mod
Jo wrote: "Are there some series that are actually better read not in publication order? ..."

I think so. My classic example is the Discworld series. The first few books weren't as good as some later ones. Also, it isn't really just one series, but rather a set of books set in the same world. There are sub-series that are aimed at different audiences (like kids stories, or young adult stories) and there is no real point in switching back and forth between adult and YA books just because that was the order they were printed in. (Though you can do that if you want to.)

I would expect there are other "series" like that which don't require reading in any particular order.

For "Foundation", I'm going in the published order. But I doubt I'll make it past #2 since #1 isn't doing much for me.


message 16: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4281 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I have read The Magic of Recluce series in publishing order, mainly because I have been reading them since the author started writing them."

We have, too. Enjoyed several rereads of some books & I recently went through almost the entire series as audiobooks for the first time. I first started reading Modesitt in the late 70s when Timescape published his "Fires of Paratime" which was later republished as The Timegod. I loved it & watched for his books closely after that. Timescape was a good publisher of SF & such. I miss them.


message 17: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments Just started rereading this one and am about 3/4 the way through. I like it enough to read that much in one sitting so that is saying something. Because this is a reread I am picking up on some things I missed the other times I read so is a bit more enjoyable.

I've always been a fan of Asimov's use of large time span in this series to show the change that occurs, a remnant of these originally being short novellas I'm sure.

Here is a nice article on where they originated.


message 18: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4281 comments Mod
Good article, John. Astounding was a great magazine. The Internet Archive has Astounding archived.
https://archive.org/search.php?query=...


Oleksandr Zholud | 978 comments Jim wrote: "Good article, John. Astounding was a great magazine. The Internet Archive has Astounding archived."

Sadly not all years. When retro-Hugo's nominees for 1943 were announced I searched in vain for the issues.


message 20: by Buck (last edited Jun 05, 2018 06:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 899 comments I read the Foundation trilogy back before the later prequels and sequels were written. I read the trilogy again more recently and also the later books. I think of the trilogy as a stand-alone work. The later works connect it to the robot books.

I think I kinda liked the middle book the best, the one with The Mule, but they all are good - pure Asimov.

I was left with a lingering question: In the third book, Second Foundation, the people of the first Foundation consider the Second Foundation to be their nemesis. This is the whole basis for the story. Hari Seldon had created the Foundations, both the first Foundation and the Second Foundation, to be the watchmen of the Seldon Plan. With the rise of The Mule in the second book, Foundation and Empire, the Seldon Plan would have unraveled, had it not been for the Second Foundation. As far as we are led to believe, the Second Foundation is benevolent. Why does the first Foundation fear it so?

I wondered this all the way through the third book, expecting that sooner or later it would be made clear, but it never was. Did I overlook something? Why was the Second Foundation thought to be a malevolent force?


message 21: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments It was most likely a cliff hanger from the novella era of the stories. There were probably plans at one point to continue writing the stories for the magazine and eventually come to a conclusion with that statement.

Yet with the ultimate plan with combining all the stories into a single set of novels that plan may have fell to the wayside. In fact it wasn't until 1982 that Foundation's Edge was published and went further into the conflict of the First and Second Foundations, this may be the best place to do a little investigation work.


Martinw | 8 comments When I read Asimov, I sometimes feel like when I listen to the Beatles. I feel two things:

1) I feel like these artists would not get the praise they receive if they worked today. I am aware that they were highly important for the later development in their field of work/art. But I have trouble honoring their work from todays point of view, knowing what happened in their field since they set the course.

I read the Foundation trilogy earlier this year, because I love SF and felt that it was about time to get to know this milestone.
It was no disappointment, not by far, but for me it wasn't the mindblowing saga it seems to be for so many others either.

One thing that's usually important for me when I read a book is that I can relate to the characters. Now, I have read often that Asimov just did not work that way, and that this was not unusual at the time.
Be that as it may, I was reading it in 2018, and I like my characters three-dimensional and alive.
I am of course aware that Foundation consists of several short stories, published separately and collected afterwards in one volume, so there may just not have been much opportunity or room to develop characters. Anyway. I'm just saying.

2) I feel that I belong to a minority with my criticism.


Martinw | 8 comments Buck wrote: "As far as we are led to believe, the Second Foundation is benevolent. Why does the first Foundation fear it so?"

If I remember it correctly, their problem might have been that (view spoiler)


message 24: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments Martinw wrote: "I feel like these artists would not get the praise they receive if they worked today. I am aware that they were highly important for the later development in their field of work/art. But I have trouble honoring their work from todays point of view, knowing what happened in their field since they set the course."

The thing you have to keep in mind with that statement is that if they were working today the body of works would not be the same and would have different influences. We would still be graced by their genius but in a different way as we know them. If Asimov was just starting to write today who is to say he wouldn't be similar to Scalzi, Bear or any number of other capable writers.

The whole point of reading, listening or watching older works is to understand how we got to where we are today. Would we have anything close to Blade Runner if we didn't have Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and film Noir? That movie is a product of both works and would not exist otherwise.

I understand people will feel like they are reading something dated and think it is junk because they forget it is dated; it was written x amount of years ago. Way before anything they are judging it against was ever written, and in fact the item they are judging it against would most likely not exist without it.


message 25: by Marc-André (new) - added it

Marc-André | 298 comments I'm enjoying the re-read of Foundation. I'm at 66% right now.

By today's standards it is a simple, fast and fun read. Asimov deals with ideas that are clichéd (an empire falling because of moral decadence), but applies it to the huge scope of time and space.

From a comptemporary novel, I'd appreciate more complexe and realistic causes of the downfall of the Galactic Empire. And I would want to know more of Terminus' politics. Questioning imperialism would be nice too. I'd also want more than magic atomic tech that does everything. But as a influencial novel, and on its merits alone for a sci-fi novel of the 50s, it does deserve its place as a classic of the genre.

The form is interesting though. Switching protagonists like Asimov does a long his story does sound avant-guardist.


message 26: by Buck (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 899 comments Have you noticed that many galactic governments in SF are empires? It is perhaps the usual. I wonder if this was influenced by Foundation?


message 27: by Marc-André (new) - added it

Marc-André | 298 comments Buck wrote: "Have you noticed that many galactic governments in SF are empires? It is perhaps the usual. I wonder if this was influenced by Foundation?"
Or that most sci-fi writers are Westerners.

It could also be that it is easier to write about one empire and one emperor or wouldbe emperor, than complexe democracies (I'm looking at you Star Wars prequels).


message 28: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4281 comments Mod
Interesting idea, but I don't think so. I thought Poul Anderson's Flandry series came first, but it came out the same year as Foundation & also has a galactic empire. The Star Kings is a little earlier, though. I googled the idea for a minute & found that in 1900, The Struggle for Empire: a Story of the Year 2236 was basically the Victorian English empire.


message 29: by John (last edited Jun 08, 2018 12:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments Buck wrote: "Have you noticed that many galactic governments in SF are empires? It is perhaps the usual. I wonder if this was influenced by Foundation?"

Pulled this from Wikipedia, it basically says what I think but in a better format.

"Most story and novel-length works of science fiction include speculation (directly or indirectly) on modes of life and behaviour. They are sometimes allegorical and often serious attempts to model possible future societies, political institutions and systems. Examples include Harry Harrison's novel Make Room! Make Room!, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin; and the Hostile Takeover Trilogy by S. Andrew Swann. Imagined societies may be based on very different assumptions. Often the future is modeled on historic forms - feudalism, or in the case of The Foundation series, the Roman Empire. A common theme is the integration of humanity into some greater interstellar society. A popular modern example is the Uplift series by David Brin where a species' status is defined based on the concept of biologically uplifting other species."

"Often the political focus of a science fiction novel is less on the social order, but how people maneuver and achieve their agendas within a given system. Many space operas rely on vast interstellar bureaucracies to drive their plots (see: Galactic empire). George Lucas's famous Star Wars saga features political science modeled after historic events. The Retief stories by Keith Laumer and the Chanur books by C. J. Cherryh have politics and political maneuverings as some of the main themes, and Frank Herbert's Dune books offer advanced explorations of human politics, including the dovetailing economics. Often this focus can descend into conspiracy and paranoia where the premise is that there are secret forces out to get the protagonists, the seminal example of which is the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Most commonly, science fiction deals with the political fallout of its own premises. A story will posit some new event or technology and explore its political dimensions; this includes most techno-thrillers but also encompasses a large body of traditional science fiction. An example is the Philip K. Dick story The Minority Report (upon which the film starring Tom Cruise is based), which introduces the idea of perfectly predicting a crime of violence so the perpetrator can be arrested before the crime is committed, and the political and legal ramifications of actually using such a system."

It than gives a list of examples from different forms of government.

"Adhocracy - Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Anarchy - In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein presents a human society on the Moon as an ideal anarchy, populated by political exiles and held together by the need for cooperation to ensure mutual survival, coupled with the ease for revenge in the event of harm. The revolutionaries in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress are vaguely anarcho-capitalist.

Capitalism - Robert A. Heinlein. The Man Who Sold the Moon (Retro Hugo Award, 1951)

Communism - Alexander Bogdanov, Red Star

Fascism - Philip K. Dick. The Man in the High Castle

Totalitarianism - George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four."

Many books and/or series don't fall into one category as well for example Dune could be categorized as an Empire/Totalitarianism and economics/capitalism, which goes through a revolution stage and ultimately goes back to an empire/theocracy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politic...


But yes as far as Galactic governments go they do tend to be if the Empire variety, with exception of the Federation.


message 30: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments FYI I'm not talking about Star Trek.

Flesh and Gold has the Galactic Federation.

Another example is Starbound with the Union.


message 31: by Marc-André (new) - added it

Marc-André | 298 comments Federations and empires are easy ways to put different nations (planets) under one government.


message 32: by Phil (last edited Jun 08, 2018 04:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 100 comments Martinw wrote: "2) I feel that I belong to a minority with my criticism. "

No, you're not. Asimov routinely fails to meet the expectations of character-oriented readers. He has a few beloved creations- the Mule, Susan Calvin, Daneel Olivaw- but most of his characters are 2D at best.

Also, a lot of his early stories follow more of a mystery format than an adventure format, so people expecting pulp action are also underwhelmed.

Personally, I enjoy the early Foundation stories for what they are: sci fi mysteries with no character arcs to get in the way of the fun.

I also appreciate the nerdiness of the premise: a bunch of scientists are pretending to make an encyclopedia, but they are really predicting the future, using- gasp- statistics and algebra!! Sometimes, they defeat dangerous enemies by luring them into logical debates!. And some people think this would make a good movie.


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

Phil J | 100 comments John wrote: "Martinw wrote: "The whole point of reading, listening or watching older works is to understand how we got to where we are today."

That's part of the fun of reading older books, but not all of it. I like reading old books because in some ways, they're better than current books.

Here's a mental exercise: How would a modern editor mangle these stories? Require the characters to stop talking about math long enough to ponder their sexuality? Have Asimov base it off the Trump administration instead of the Roman Empire? Add explosions?

The old Foundation stories have a directness and purity of intent that is hard to find anymore. How often do people write sci fi mysteries? How often do you get a story that is content to be a logic puzzle without all the dramatic fireworks?


message 34: by Buck (last edited Jun 08, 2018 05:23AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 899 comments John wrote: "Many books and/or series don't fall into one category as well for example Dune could be categorized as an Empire/Totalitarianism and economics/capitalism, which goes through a revolution stage and ultimately goes back to an empire/theocracy."

Dune was one I had in mind. Another is Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. In Star Wars the Empire represents the forces of villainy, but more often it is simply the system in which the story takes place. Monarchy was once a common political system on Earth, but it surely is losing predominance. I've just always thought it a little odd that it makes a resurgence in our fictional future societies.

I hadn't really realized that the empire in Foundation was based on the Roman Empire. To me an empire was an empire. And certainly in most SF it is mostly background, to set the situation. My memory of having read Foundation has gotten quite fuzzy, but do we actually ever meet the emperor?


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

Phil J | 100 comments Buck wrote: "My memory of having read Foundation has gotten quite fuzzy, but do we actually ever meet the emperor?"

Yes, in the prequels.

I think older government systems come back in sci fi partly out of nostalgia. Modern politics are messy and people yearn to escape to an imaginary place where they were simpler.

Here's a poem Asimov wrote about his inspirations:

So success is not a mystery, just brush up on your history,
and borrow day by day.
Take an Empire that was Roman and you'll find it is at home in all the
starry Milky Way.
With a drive that's hyperspatial, through the parsecs you will race,
you'll find that plotting is a breeze,
With a tiny bit of cribbin' from the works of
Edward Gibbon and that Greek, Thucydides.


message 36: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 2102 comments Mod
Phil wrote: "Asimov routinely fails to meet the expectations of character-oriented readers..."

This was my first Asimov book. I thought the characters were pretty well-developed, at least in some of the stories. No character arcs because these were essentially separate short stories, and that is fine.

I think the individual stories were well-done. But a lot of it is about political scheming, with people lying to each other left and right. No matter how well that is written, I have trouble following it, especially in short stories. It takes me longer to get to know characters before I can understand their motivations.

My bigger problem is that I just can't accept the premise that Hari Seldon could use math to predict the behavior of human societies over hundreds and thousands of years. Sure you can detect trends and predict a few probably outcomes, but he was able to predict to the very day when specific crises would occur. I just can't suspend disbelief that much.

Cigar-smoking men run everything, which is a possible future, but shouldn't there be some women somewhere in the galaxy doing something interesting?

Still, I enjoyed some of the stories as individual stories. And I think I might read book 2 since that is said to have an interesting character (The Mule) in it.


message 37: by John (last edited Jun 08, 2018 12:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments Buck wrote: "John wrote: "My memory of having read Foundation has gotten quite fuzzy, but do we actually ever meet the emperor?"

We do in fact, it was Linge Chen, who was part of the judge committee;

"Linge Chen said, "I will speak," and the other Commissioners sat back in their chairs, prepared to listen. A silence formed about Chen into which he might drop his words.

Gaal held his breath. Chen, lean and hard, older in looks than in fact, was the actual Emperor of all the Galaxy. The child who bore the title itself was only a symbol manufactured by Chen, and not the first such, either."

About a little less than a fifth of the way into the book, chapter 7.


message 38: by John (last edited Jun 08, 2018 12:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments Ed wrote: "Phil wrote: "Still, I enjoyed some of the stories as individual stories. And I think I might read book 2 since that is said to have an interesting character (The Mule) in it. "

If you find you like the Mule development, you may want to go further into Foundation's Edge where they start talking about an anti-Mule.


message 39: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 2102 comments Mod
I was too lazy to do the math on the Women/Men ratio, but author Brian Clegg did in his review: "In the 189 pages, women appear on five - and that's just a secretary answering a phone, a servant being enthralled by baubles and a viciously sniping wife. For page after page, every character is male. For all the ideas of technology changing, Asimov totally misses that the way we behave might develop as well."

One of the characters was described as having brown skin, so maybe that is progress.

The lack of women is not why I didn't rate this 5 stars. It is just something that I noticed. My 3 star rating means "I liked it".

Above, Jim mentioned The Struggle for Empire: a Story of the Year 2236. For no logical reason I read that, too, and enjoyed it at the same 3-star level. That doesn't mean it is better written. Far from it! But I enjoyed it at least as much.


Oleksandr Zholud | 978 comments Ed wrote: "For all the ideas of technology changing, Asimov totally misses that the way we behave might develop as well."

The problem is that the Empire is that far in the future that maybe we developed further and returned women on their place. Sarcasm of course, but the point stands - Clegg assumes that he knows where we are heading in a time period larger than from Caesar to Trump. I think that equal opportunity and diversity is the way to go, but can we be sure that it will be the way?


message 41: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 100 comments Or maybe the women just retreated from male society to form their own shadow empire. Maybe when our heroes reach the Second (or Third?) Foundation, it will turn out that women have been running the universe all along.

It's science fiction, there are many possibilities...


message 42: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 2102 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "[He] assumes that he knows where we are heading in a time period larger than from Caesar to Trump..."

That is my main problem with the premise of Foundation. I don't believe a Hari Seldon could ever predict future human behavior with that much accuracy.

"...maybe we developed further and returned women on their place..."

That is pretty much the premise of Bitch Planet


Oleksandr Zholud | 978 comments Ed wrote: "That is my main problem with the premise of Foundation. I don't believe a Hari Seldon could ever predict future human behavior with that much accuracy."

Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1814 suggested a determinism hypothesis, according to which if someone knows the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, their past and future values for any given time are entailed; they can be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics.
I can see how societies can follow the same idea, especially of 'soft' determinism, where small deviations cancel each other out. We cannot follow every molecule in a pot, but we can determine when it is boiling. The same here - individuals aren't predictable, but their groups are. And as the 2nd volume shows, not always


message 44: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 643 comments Ed wrote: "Cigar-smoking men run everything, which is a possible future, but shouldn't there be some women somewhere in the galaxy doing something interesting ..."
It is really funny. Hari Seldon, speaking as a hologram to his audience some 80 years after his death and addresses them as "gentlemen"....


message 45: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 77 comments The psychohistory, to me, seemed to be more about probabilities coupled with knowing what a group of people will do or not do in certain situations. Obviously the more complex it is the less likely, it would be to determine what the outcome will be. Probably why the Foundation was set up at the edge of the galaxy.

I can imagine the mathematics involved would be quite ridiculous, and I find it remarkable, slightly unrealistic, that Hari Seldon demonstrated the technique with just a hand calculator.

Obviously this is a hypothetical science evolution and Asimov was doing his best to convey his idea.


message 46: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 643 comments I'm going straight on with Foundation and Empire. I guess it is one story told in the first 3 books?


message 47: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Erwin | 2102 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1814 suggested a determinism hypothesis, according to which if someone knows the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, their past and future values for any given time are entailed; they can be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics...."

Yeah, and there are problems with that later identified by Quantum Mechanics (you can't know the precise locations and momenta) and chaos theory (if you are even a little bit wrong, you'll get a different result. See also the "Three Body Problem".)

But Asimov said he was thinking of Thermodynamics. Predicting the behavior of all the individual molecules in a gas is unrealistic, but if you have enough molecules the gas as a whole has some predictable bulk properties such as the ideal gas law. Applying that idea to large numbers of humans, yes I agree there may be some bulk laws. You might be able to observe laws like "when cost of living goes up, people become upset with the government". But having Hari Seldon predict an exact day on which some future crisis was going to happen is preposterous to me.

So even though the individual stories are nice, that basic assumption irks me. I do plan to read Foundation and Empire.


message 48: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 100 comments Leo wrote: "I'm going straight on with Foundation and Empire. I guess it is one story told in the first 3 books?"

F&E is the next book in the series, so you're on the right track.

Is it "one story" told in the first three books? I'm not sure how much Asimov had planned out ahead of time. The first two books were originally published as a series of short stories. I think of it more as a series of installments than a unified story.


message 49: by Buck (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 899 comments Leo wrote: "I'm going straight on with Foundation and Empire. I guess it is one story told in the first 3 books?"

Our monthly group read is Foundation, but it never occurred to me that it wasn't the whole trilogy. The three books Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation together form The Foundation Trilogy. You can choose to read the later prequels and sequels or not. The famous Foundation trilogy is what Asimov is so noted for in the annals of SF.


message 50: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 643 comments Thanks. So my goal will be to read the trilogy this month.


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