Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been participating in a groupread of Isaac Asimov’s “The Foundation.” This is a short spoiler-free review of the book for anyone who hasn’t been reading along. For further discussion, see The Foundation Groupread, Part I and The Foundation Groupread, Part II.
Rather than having a central protagonist, Asimov instead features a central concept, the Foundation. When psychohistorian Hari Seldon calculates that the galactic Empire will soon fall, he brings together a group of scientists with the intention of preserving humanity’s knowledge. He establishes the Foundation on the remote planet of Terminus. As the Empire decays, Terminus is left to fend for itself in a changing world.
The structure of the book took some time for me to get used to, as it’s composed of short stories which tend to jump chronologically from one major even to the next. The important characters change over time, but the Foundation remains constant, giving the story an episodic feel.
“Foundation” is the type of book that seems intimidating at first because it is classic science fiction. At the same time, the story is accessible and doesn’t feel dated. I’m caught up in the story, and am looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.
I read this book during a groupread for The 2012 Science Fiction Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. It also counts toward the Vintage SciFi Not-a-Challenge from The Little Red Reviewer and the Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Baffled Books. I am also including the “Foundation” trilogy in the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books, as it won a Hugo Award in 1966 as the Best All-Time Series. Generally Hugo awards are presented for individual works. This is the only case in which one was awarded to an entire series, which makes this award an incredible honor.