Thursday, January 27, 2011

Foundation (Book)

Cunning. Cleverness. Political Savvy. Trickery. Foundation by Isaac Asimov is the first book in the Foundation Trilogy, which won a special 1966 Best All-time Series Hugo award. Four of the five major sections of Foundation were originally published as short stories in the 1940’s and 50’s. This is a classic. When I told one of my cousins I was going to read Foundation’s Edge—possibly without reading the three books that preceded it—he told me that the Foundation Series was his all-time favorite, and he loaned me the trilogy. [Family doesn’t let family miss the Foundation Trilogy. His wife now has absolutely no doubt that we share DNA.] Needless to say, I was concerned that I wouldn’t like the books. So far, so good! Foundation is timeless and intriguing.

The basic premise for Foundation is that Hari Seldon, a Psychohistorian, determines that the Galactic Empire is going to fall into ruins and that there is a high statistical probability a type of Dark Ages that lasts 30,000 years will follow. In order to shorter the length of this period to a thousand years, Seldon sets up an organization, The Foundation. He dies of old age shortly thereafter. Supposedly his expertise in Psychohistory allowed him to predict each of the major crisis points that The Foundation will undergo. [Every several decades Seldon pops up as a video from a time capsule.] The first section of the book sets up the premise. The subsequent sections each tell the story of one of these crisis points.

I enjoyed the sections of Foundation for the same reason I enjoy mysteries: I found myself wondering how each crisis would be resolved. On to the next book in the series.

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