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A really well written book.
It is older, and most people in SciFi circles have probably already read it. It also doesn’t have much action in it.
Mankind is approaching another dark ages but the Foundation survives.
There are five parts to this story.
The first part is the origin of the Foundation. Harry Seldon rends for Gaal Dornick which leads to both of them being arrested. The Emperor asks what Seldon wants, because he doesn’t want his people on Trantor anymore. Seldon wants to send his people to both ends of the universe to compile a Galatic Encyclopedia before the dark times come. The Emperor agrees.
Fifty years later and the colony on Terminus is focused on producing the Encyclopedia. However, the neighboring planets wish to take over Terminus due to its strategic placement. The Encyclopedists don’t understand what’s going on, but Hardin does. Hardin tries to reason with the Encyclopedists, but in the end stages a coup to take over after they watch a holovid created by Harry Seldon telling them they have approached their first event.
Years later, Hardin is mayor of Terminus. He’s turned science into a religion. He finds himself up against the forces at home against him and from the planet Anacreon. The Anacreon prince and his uncle want to take over Terminus. Their plan fails when Hardin reveals that they cannot rise against Terminus because of Anacreon’s people’s beliefs in the religion of science.
Ponyets goes to Askone to free an imprisoned trader, a secret agent of the Foundation. While there he creates a solid trade with the Askonian ruler: common minerals for scientific baubels.
Hober Mallow must go to Korell.He almost falls prey to a trap, when the men on his ship take on a Foundation missionary. The Korellians do not want to be converted to the Foundation religion. Mallow fixes the situation and goes down to the surface to see if the Korellians can still run and fix their machinery. He sees that the guards have weapons with the symbol of the Galactic Empire. He leaves and heads for the center of the old Empire. He locates a former patrician and assesses. The patrician tells him about the empire’s problems, and gives him directions to a nuclear power plant. The plant still works, but Mallow discovers that the technicians, while knowing how to fix problems, know nothing about nuclear power.Mallow is put on trial infront of the council and relates his experiences. He is rewarded with a seat on the council.
Mallow, now mayor, is confronted by the Korellians attacking. He opts to do nothing and ponders the nature of the Seldon crisis and concludes that religion is a dead force.
I think I was expecting more Space Opera than I got for this one. This was a good book, and quite intriguing, but it wasn’t full of action. This was more of a political drama than anything. It was strangely compelling and I want to read the rest of the series.
Each mini political drama approached each problem in a different way. The way the characters manipulated the situations was amazing. The characters were all interesting and understandable. Each character’s motivations was clear, even though we didn’t spend much time with any of them. The setting was vast, and it could be a little hard to imagine where all the different planets were in space. It was a little hard to keep up with who hated who.
I think this might work for the audience, it just depends on what they’re looking for. If they’re looking for more action, this isn’t the book. If they’re looking for space political drama, it doesn’t get much better. It is a foundational (unintentional pun) book of the genre, so many people may have already read it. It can be a little hard to keep it all straight, but it skips time a lot so that’s to be expected.
Science Fiction, Space Opera
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Red Mars by Kin Stanley Robinson
One of the first big, popular Science Fiction novels by one of the biggest names in the game.
Book Discussion Questions and Ideas
Which mayor did you like best?
Do you agree with Hardin’s cool judgements without emotion?
What did you think about the Encyclopedists?
Why I Chose It
This book/series is considered a cornerstone of the Science Fiction genre. I thought it was important to have read something of Asimov’s and this book seemed like the place to start.