I had heard of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series a long time ago, but never got around to reading it. Then I found a copy in a thrift store. 🙂
It’s a little difficult to know where to start. I guess the first thing to say would be EPIC. I was truly blown away by the magnitude of the narrative. Asimov doesn’t tell the story of one person, or of a handful of people over a lifetime. He ambitiously tells the story of an empire! His emphasis is not so much on individuals, although distinct characters come and go. He produces a very large and intricate sketch of the politics of this empire.
The premise revolves around a “psychohistorian” named Hari Seldon, who uses mathematics to predict the future of large groups of people (in the hundred billions). He predicts that the great empire is going to collapse and he sets up a plan to shorten the inevitable period of barbarism and chaos that will follow.
I have read one other Isaac Asimov novel and was disappointed by it. Character development is a huge factor in any book I read, and from what I have observed, it was one of Asimov’s weaknesses. “Foundation,” however, plays to his strengths. Characters come and go as the story about the empire unfolds, and he gives them enough character and life to move the plot forward, but is prevented from having to delve too deep.
This story (as well as its sequels “Foundation and Empire” and “Second Foundation” which I am working through) completely sparked my imagination. Asimov’s vision of the future is bold, complex, and thought provoking. He skims over kingdoms, cultures, characters, and political implications that I found myself exploring further in my own imagination. I definitely recommend it to any science fiction fan!