start of another fascinating series from the master of science fiction,
Isaac Asimov tells the story of the distant future, when mankind has
spread throughout the galaxy, and has established an empire for the rule
and betterment of society. The empire has stood strong for long
millenia, until one man, Harry Seldon, foresees its end. Using
psychohistory--the science of predicting the future--Seldon sees that
the empire is deteriorating, and will one day crumble, followed by 30,000
years of anarchy and barbarism. So Seldon establishes two
Foundations--one at each end of the galaxy--populated with the brightest
scientists and historians in the galaxy, and charges them with the task
of maintaining the knowledge of mankind so it is not lost in the
empire's fall. When the empire does fall, knowledge of the second
foundation is lost. So it is up to the first foundation to maintain
order in the galaxy, as well as locate the second foundation before
their enemies do.
I read this book many years ago at the age of sixteen, just as I was being introduced to the world of science fiction. It holds a lot of memories for me, but this isn't the reason I love this book. This was written in the 1950s, which some (myself included) think of the golden beginnings of science fiction. Everything seemed new then; we were making fantastic strides in technology, but there were still plenty of mysteries to explore. Though mankind still had not yet reached the moon, Asimov was contemplating a vast empire spanning an entire galaxy, and a mystery that covered vast amounts of time. As I read this book, I could see that Asimov was writing with real vision. A scientist himself, he could lend credibility to his universe that is lacking in other works. It's not dry and dusty, though. Asimov really knows how to capture a person's character, and he has that rare gift of making dialog sound like true conversation. This book will capture you, and you will forget you are reading.
This book is recommended to science fiction fans, particularly fans of Hard SF.