It is the story of the Galactic Empire, crumbling after twelve thousand years of rule. And it is the particular story of psycho-historian Hari Seldon ...Show synopsisIt is the story of the Galactic Empire, crumbling after twelve thousand years of rule. And it is the particular story of psycho-historian Hari Seldon, the only man who can see the horrors the future has in store: a dark age of ignorance, barbarism and violence that will last for thirty thousand years. Gathering together a band of courageous men and women, Seldon leads them to a hidden location at the edge of the galaxy where he hopes they can preserve human knowledge and wisdom against all who would destroy them. Asimov went on to add numerous sequels and prequels to the trilogy, building up what has become known as the Foundation series, but it is the original three books, first published in the Forties and Fifties, which remain the most powerful, imaginative and breathtaking.Hide synopsis
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An old classic with powerful ideas. Asimov develops Psychohistory, a branch of mathematics that deals with predicting social and cultural behaviors and trends far into the future. It's application is to a galactic civilization that is crumbling but doesn't know it. He sets up a special body designed to shorten the coming dark ages from 30 to 12 millenia. There is a second, secret, body, well versed in Psychohistory, that guides certain events so that the predictions unfold as calculated. But even the best laid plans ... Broad in scope and very well thought out. I loved the idea of social inertia - analogous to physical inertia. Newton's Laws of Motion applied to social movement.
The first time this trilogy was gathered together in this one-volume edition by Doubleday marked a wonderful event: more people were given access to the series given the Hugo award for the Best Series of all time. And the Foundation trilogy deserved it. It was awarded this honor over the Lensman series and the Lord of the Rings. What makes the Foundation so monumental is that it defined the way modern science fiction was to be written. Asimov was already established as a master of the art. He made himself the benchmark for other writers to aspire to by creating this series. There were four other books written in association with the original trilogy, he wrote the fourth and onward because his readers demanded it. And these were the ones that started it all.
Asimov has, in these stories, heroes and heroines who are far from perfect. Indeed, they are not exactly hero material, but what makes them heroes is that they are in the right place at the right time. Their courage is stepped up as they do what must be done to preserve the human race through 1,000 years of decay and destruction through the psychoanalytic science of Hari Seldon. If the Seldon plan were to fail, the now-decaying Empire would fall and humanity would descend into 30,000 years of darkness and despair.
The characterization and overall storytelling technique make these stories stand out as still three of the best that science fiction has to offer.
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