Rated as one of, if not the, greatest science fiction books of all time. Much like my review of Ender’s Game, I am coming a little late to this party, but I am glad I arrived.
Foundation is the first book in what was supposed to be a trilogy, but turned into a seven book series. Isaac Asimov originally wrote Foundation in a series of short stories in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950, then it was published by Gnome press in 1951. These dates are one of the reasons I was absolutely astounded and slack-jawed while reading Foundation. Keeping in mind that Asimov published the first short in May of 1942, I would guess he started writing the story long before then. Once you get halfway through the book you will think that information was a mistake, because what he writes about sounds more like American history than some sci-fi fantasy.
Ok, the basic outline of the story is that one man, Hari Seldon, predicts the end of a great empire and talks the government in establishing a foundation to preserve the knowledge of this great empire. The story then moves along hundreds of years to show how that information is protected and used in the hopes of forming a second great empire within a thousand years, in stead of the predicted 30,000 if the foundation did not do it’s part.
Asimov based this idea roughly around the fall of the Roman empire and the dark ages that followed. He images what might have happened if someone had collected and preserved the knowledge of the great Roman empire and how it could have shortened the dark ages. Except, as I was reading this book I kept thinking of how it mirrors the decline of modern civilization.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am an optimist at heart. I do not foresee another dark ages on it’s way, but what I do see is many parallels in this story with the decay of our culture, both in America and the rest of the world.
Do yourself a favor, if you have not read Foundation, do so. I am moving on to the second book in the series and have plans to read all seven as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.
Until next time…