Book Review: Foundation

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Overview: Foundation is a science fiction novel written by the master of science fiction, Isaac Asimov. Originally written as a series of 8 short stories published between 1942 – 1950, Foundation is the first novel in a series of 7.

Spoiler Free Plot: Foundation is set well into the future, where intergallactice space travel is possible. The Galactic Empire has grown for 12,000 years to the point where it now has become unmanageable. Additionally, there is so much historical data that it has become possible to statistically predict the future with a high degree of accuracy. Hari Seldon is one such mathematician (or psychohistorian) that is able to see the future and predecits that the downfall of the Galactic Empire will occur in 300 years. To prevent a cataclysmic era of barbarism that would follow, Hari, along with some of his most trusted followers, are chartered to create the Encyclopedia Galactica to preserve the knowledge of the human race.

Review: This was a very fun read. It was intellectually stimulating and always kept you guessing. But because this book is structured into 5 parts, it skips a good amount of years inbetween each part. This causes the reader to be introduced to a new main character each time, which is only slightly disrupting to the flow.

I realized that a key characteristic of science fiction novels seems to be the inclusion of very intelligent characters, to which, this one had plenty. Additionally, this author put amazing foresight into the technology that was utilized in the novel, especially considering that it was originally written in the 1940s. (Though it was interesting to note that there were still ground cars and newspapers).

A secondary plot point in this novel that intrigued me was the notion that the fall of the empire (a metaphor for our reliance on technology) would drive us to 30,000 years of barbarism. The author really knew how utilize things that we take for granted and connect them into his story. It was well done.

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