Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Foundation - Isaac Asimov

I have been thinking for a long time that endings for books must be the hardest part to write. It's often the part of a book that lets me down and affects how I feel about a book when I've finished. The only excuse I can come up with for the end of Foundation by Isaac Asimov, is that he knew this was the first part of a series and wasn't really the end at all. There was all this build up only to have it fizzle at the end.

I did enjoy Foundation. It was easy and quick to read. It is the first book in a series of at least 5 books. I'll get around to the others on the long weekend in June. Hopefully they won't all end as weakly. It was weird reading it and have references that have been used in other Sci Fi classics - for example Encyclopedia Galactica which turns up in The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, and parsecs which is in Star Wars. I've
never notice before when I've read a book that has such a direct influence on other books or movies in the same genre.

The other good thing about this book is that it counts for the Bibliophilic Challenge as Terminus has been established as a colony, originally to write the Encyclopedia Galactica... a book!

A group of 20 000 people have been banished to a planet on the edge of the galaxy, orginally to compose the Encyclopedia Galactica. They were banished because their leader Hari Seldon, had predicted the end of the Empire by psychohistory - a branch of mathematics. The Emporer and the government didn't like the idea of this and had Hari Seldon arrested. The first part of the novel is taken up with the board of governors being obsessed only with the writing of the encyclopedia and ignore the events going on in the galaxy around them. Salvor Hardin tried to make them see they are wrong and on the night when Hari Seldon is supposed to send a message, takes over by bloodless coup. Hari Seldon appears and talks about a series of crisises which have to occur to hasten the coming of a new Empire, of which Terminus is the centre. The rest of the book talks about the lead up to 3 more "Seldon Crisis'"

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