Customer Reviews for

Foundation (Foundation Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

FOUNDATION

This is the first of the three novels in the original "Foundation Trilogy". The trilogy is similar to "I, Robot", in that the novels are created out of shorter fiction that was first published in "Astounding Science Fiction" in the 1940's. It was first published in nove...
This is the first of the three novels in the original "Foundation Trilogy". The trilogy is similar to "I, Robot", in that the novels are created out of shorter fiction that was first published in "Astounding Science Fiction" in the 1940's. It was first published in novel form by Gnome Press in 1951. A trimmed down version was published under the title "The 1,000 Year Plan" by Ace books in the 1950s.

While certainly a classic and important to setup the series, "Foundation" is easily the weakest of the three novels. Consisting of five parts, four of which are taken from the shorter fiction from years before, it covers a large period of time in a relatively short amount of space. In addition, the stories are fairly short, and it is rare for a character to appear in more than one. As a result, there is little in the way of character development in this book. The subsequent novels ("Foundation And Empire" and "Second Foundation") are each comprised of just two works of shorter fiction, and thus do not suffer as much in this area.

The sections of "Foundation" are:

"The Psychohistorians" - This is the story of Gaal Dornick who has come to the capital of the Empire, Trantor to work with Hari Seldon. This story introduces the key concepts of the series; introducing the reader to Psychohistory, the Empire, and the purpose of the Foundation. It is unique among the sections of this book, in that it was written specifically for the novel and was not published previously.

"The Encyclopedists" - In this story, the Foundation becomes separated from the Empire, and is threatened by its neighbors, the Anacreonians. It is in this story that the citizens of the Foundation find out their real purpose, having believed before that they were sent there to create a Galactic Encyclopedia to preserve man's knowledge. This was first published in part as the novelette "Foundation" in "Astounding Science Fiction" in May of 1942.

"The Mayors" - This story is closely tied to "The Encyclopedists", and there are some of the same characters. Once again the Foundation is threatened by the Anacreonians; however, this time the Foundation uses its technological expertise to avert the crisis. This story also introduces the use of `Priests' to spread the influence of the Foundation. This was first published as the novelette "Bride and Saddle" in the June 1942 edition of "Astounding Science Fiction".

"The Traders" - This story is about the use of trade to expand the influence of the Foundation. More specifically, it is about an agent of the Foundation who has been imprisoned on Askone, a planet that prohibits the use of the Foundation's devices. This was first published in the October 1944 edition of "Astounding Science Fiction" as the short story "The Wedge".

"The Merchant Princes" - This is a more complicated and involved story than the others included in this book. A merchant trader, Hober Mallow, goes in search of several missing Foundation ships, discovering evidence of the old Empire. More important though, is the struggle for power within the Foundation which results in the abandonment of religion in favor of economics as the source of expanding the influence of the Foundation. This was first published as the novelette "The Big And The Littl

posted by 170958 on October 20, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A good foundation

A good foundation

posted by 11054784 on July 16, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2008

    FOUNDATION

    This is the first of the three novels in the original "Foundation Trilogy". The trilogy is similar to "I, Robot", in that the novels are created out of shorter fiction that was first published in "Astounding Science Fiction" in the 1940's. It was first published in novel form by Gnome Press in 1951. A trimmed down version was published under the title "The 1,000 Year Plan" by Ace books in the 1950s. <BR/><BR/>While certainly a classic and important to setup the series, "Foundation" is easily the weakest of the three novels. Consisting of five parts, four of which are taken from the shorter fiction from years before, it covers a large period of time in a relatively short amount of space. In addition, the stories are fairly short, and it is rare for a character to appear in more than one. As a result, there is little in the way of character development in this book. The subsequent novels ("Foundation And Empire" and "Second Foundation") are each comprised of just two works of shorter fiction, and thus do not suffer as much in this area. <BR/><BR/>The sections of "Foundation" are: <BR/><BR/>"The Psychohistorians" - This is the story of Gaal Dornick who has come to the capital of the Empire, Trantor to work with Hari Seldon. This story introduces the key concepts of the series; introducing the reader to Psychohistory, the Empire, and the purpose of the Foundation. It is unique among the sections of this book, in that it was written specifically for the novel and was not published previously. <BR/><BR/>"The Encyclopedists" - In this story, the Foundation becomes separated from the Empire, and is threatened by its neighbors, the Anacreonians. It is in this story that the citizens of the Foundation find out their real purpose, having believed before that they were sent there to create a Galactic Encyclopedia to preserve man's knowledge. This was first published in part as the novelette "Foundation" in "Astounding Science Fiction" in May of 1942. <BR/><BR/>"The Mayors" - This story is closely tied to "The Encyclopedists", and there are some of the same characters. Once again the Foundation is threatened by the Anacreonians; however, this time the Foundation uses its technological expertise to avert the crisis. This story also introduces the use of `Priests' to spread the influence of the Foundation. This was first published as the novelette "Bride and Saddle" in the June 1942 edition of "Astounding Science Fiction". <BR/><BR/>"The Traders" - This story is about the use of trade to expand the influence of the Foundation. More specifically, it is about an agent of the Foundation who has been imprisoned on Askone, a planet that prohibits the use of the Foundation's devices. This was first published in the October 1944 edition of "Astounding Science Fiction" as the short story "The Wedge". <BR/><BR/>"The Merchant Princes" - This is a more complicated and involved story than the others included in this book. A merchant trader, Hober Mallow, goes in search of several missing Foundation ships, discovering evidence of the old Empire. More important though, is the struggle for power within the Foundation which results in the abandonment of religion in favor of economics as the source of expanding the influence of the Foundation. This was first published as the novelette "The Big And The Littl

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Utopian, Dystopian, and the tales after...

    I found this great series, The Foundation Series, by Isaac Asimov. It is especially good if you like science fiction and wit, the problem solving he uses is nothing short of brilliant in the first book. For certain Isaac has forgotten more on social systems and their interaction than I will ever hope to understand, and is inspiring to read. It's truly a rare thing to come across a story in any genre, that you know instantly upon completion that it is one you will remember for the rest of your life. There is never apart in this story that I got bored, merely parts where I had to stop and take in all the complexity and relish all the depth one story can contain. Foundation is a book that belongs on every bookshelf.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sci-Fi at its Best!

    I have no idea why I hadn't read this series until now. Isaac's way of progressing the story through so many people is amazing. This one was a great start to the series. Setting the "Foundation" (excuse the pun) for the rest of this 1,000 year story. IF your a fan of anything Sci-Fi you will definitely love this book. :)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Astounding Piece of Science Fiction

    Isaac Asimov was decreed one of the original Grand Masters of Science Fiction, and if there was ever a testament to his genius, one need only look to Foundation Series. Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian, is able to predict the actions of a mass quantity of human beings through advanced mathematics, psychology, social science, and rich historical knowledge. Through this tehcnique, he was able to determine when and how the Galactic Empire would begin to crumble within itself, and created two Foundations at the opposite ends of the universe to revive humanity and stiumlate civilzation after it died. While one Foundation worked under the pretext of devising an Encyclopedia Galactica, the other remained shielded beneath a layer of deception that concealed its frightening powers. But admist treason, strife, death, personal failure, and personal triumph, Hari Seldon's Foundation succeded in a way no one could have considered possible. It really makes you proud to be part of this vast body of life we call humanity.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2015

    Foundaion

    Foundaion is so good . Never wanted to stop reading. Issac is amazing author. Want to read next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    A very good book

    I would recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Light on action, light on setting, heavy on dialogue.

    Light on action, light on setting, heavy on dialogue. In a future so distant mankind isn't sure what planet it started on anymore, we see the establishment of the titular Foundation and its efforts to preserve and restore a galactic empire. Broken into four parts that each deal with a specific event, our heroes explain everything. Almost everything we learn is picked up through dialogue between characters, from the significance of the historical events they're facing, to the way that different groups are going to attempt to solve the situations they find themselves in, and also how individuals have out thought whatever opposition they may have faced.

    I was entertained, but I wonder if I got the feeling of the story right. I wonder how seriously it was intended to be taken. I don't think it was ment to be comedy. There wasn't anything here that I could point to and say the author means for this to be funny (well, except for one minor character, maybe). It's more like the author is setting up jokes at people's expense. "Here's the hero, here is his opposition, now lets watch as our hero makes complete and total idiots out of his opposition."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    A good foundation

    A good foundation

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    20 years later still incredible

    My aunt gave me the first Foundation book twenty years ago. I wasn't sure about it. Science fiction with no space battles it can't be any good. Was i wrong after the first pages i was hooked. Had to have all books in series, then all robot books. Opened up whole new worlds and ways of thinking for me. Thank God my aunt got a teenager to read this first book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Asimov

    Is the best!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2004

    This book is classic

    Some of Asimov's books are better than others but the Foundation series is the classic. Those who say it jumps too much or that it reads like a script are sorely mistaken individuals who do not understand the grandeur of the work. Foundation is not about coherency, it is an interesting story that documents a galactic history. The history and the extend conflict predicted by an individual is what makes the tale. Asimov loved writing his short stories and some people dislike the short story feel that this book has at times. People, this only gives the book a personal feel of history, the story would not be worth reading if it was not written like this. Note: I believe that Asimov wrote this in High School

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2000

    A wonderfully complex story

    Isaac Asimov's Foundation is a wonderful science-fiction novel, because it differs in many important respects from other classics of the genre. For one thing, the situation of the book is much different from many other science-fiction titles in which the heroes have some sort of army and use direct violence as a means to achieve their conquest or bare survival. In Foundation, the heroes must use guile, subterfuge, and cunning to achieve their survival, and this leads to some very amazing stories. Another interesting difference is in the format, which is not one flowing novel, but rather a series of interconnected short stories. This gives the novel a lot of scope and allows it to cover a lot of ground. Best of all, the story only gets more and more complex. The two sequels to Foundation continue the stories in the same way, with an amazing amount of scope. However, it never gets muddled or boring. This leads to a story so intricate that it could never be considered boring. Foundation begins the greatest science-fiction story of all time. It comes with my highest mark of recommendation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2000

    Sci-Fi Classic!

    Foundation was a great book. It involves Pscycohistory and the galatic empires bleak future. It sounds complicated but Asimov makes it very straitforward.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2015

    Really? Classic waste of time maybe

    Wow that was boring. I dont understand how this is even considered science fiction. Its 300 pages of random politics. BORING!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2014

    Fa Awesome!!!

    One of the best books i have read in a long time 100/10 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014

    ok

    ok

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  • Posted September 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This is a great read. A lot of great characters, and interesting

    This is a great read. A lot of great characters, and interesting events take place. This book definitely advances the whole &quot;Foundation&quot; idea, but it does stand on its own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2014

    Not blown away

    This may be the first thing written by Asimov that I didn't love. This book is considered one of his greats but it really failed to move me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2014

    OUTSTANDING PIECE OF LITERATURE FROM GOLDEN AGE OF SCI-FI!

    WHAT MORE CAN BE SAID! It is SCI-FI AT ITS CLASSIC BEST. IT HAS SCI-FI SUPER AUTHOR, ISAAC ASIMOV for the author. It has terrific characterization in the form of. Mr Harry Seldon and a really terrific plot that makes you hungry for the rest of the series. This is espcially true of the series PRE-QUIL where you are introduced to Harry, the cast and plot for the rest of the series (PRELUDE TO FOUNDATION) It has been a totally enjoyable reading experience for me I highly recommend not only FOUNDATION but the entire FOUNDATION series as well for a totally enjoyable reading experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Classic

    The original Foundation Trilogy isn't as famous as some other science fiction classics, but it is nonetheless a necessary read for any fan of the genre. There are several books which continue the themes introduced in Foundation, but in my opinion the first three are the best.

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