Reading Rabble Review The "Foundation" Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

5 Rabbles for THE Classic Sci-Fi Series

By Isaac Asimov

A landmark of science fiction's "Golden Age," Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy - which comprises the novels Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation - has long been regarded a visionary masterpiece whose astonishing historical scope perfectly conveys science fiction's sense of wonder. First published as a cycle of stories in the 1940s and '50s, Asimov's iconic trilogy has endured to become, like the author himself, a legend of science fiction. Set in the far future, Foundation envisions a Galactic Empire that has thrived for 12,000 years, but whose decline into an age of barbarism lasting some thirty millennia is imminent - if the predictions of renegade psycho-historian Hari Seldon are accurate. Hoping to shorten the interval of this impending new Dark Age, Seldon convinces the Empire's Commission of Public Safety to allow him to enact a diversionary plan - one full of surprising subterfuges and intrigues intended to create and protect a Foundation on which the future Empire will be erected. 

Foundation and Empire
By Isaac Asimov

I'd like to take a week to introduce one of the greatest Science Fiction stories ever created. Isaac Asimov is the indisputable godfather of Science Fiction. Writing stories way back in the 1940's and 50's, Asimov created story lines that would reflect far into the future. Most if not all stories of the same genre take their inspiration from this truly great groundbreaker. There have been so many reviews done about this original series that it would be presumptive of me to try to add to them. However, I would love to introduce the Reading Rabble to my all-time favorite series. If only one person reads and falls in love with the series I feel like I have done my job!

Never before or since has a science fiction series been lauded with so many awards as has this one. It began a long run of bestsellers by the author Isaac Asimov. The "Foundation" stories were originally created as a series of serials published in science fiction magazines. They were not released as standalone books for many years after. This was mostly to do with the fact that the genre was relatively new at that point and the most common outlet for these stories was in the 'pulp' magazines of the time. Granted, Asimov didn't invent the genre, stories from H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and other greats had been in circulation for decades, but with inspiration and talent Asimov and a few others took this science fiction genre to new heights.

Filled with great characters and addictive story lines, the "Foundation" books have delighted and thrilled readers for over 60 years. Many of the great literary characters of all time can be found in these novels. Hari Seldon, Salvor Hardin, Hober Mallow, Betya Darrell, and perhaps the greatest heroine of all Arcadia Darrell, who at the tender age of 15 saved the entire galaxy. These characters and too many others to list reverberate throughout history to become the standard to which almost all sci-fi writers aspire, longevity. 

Inspired by reading Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", Asimov set out to create the story of the fall of the Galactic Empire. These stories became so influential in the genre that most people began calling it 'Future History'. This trilogy tells the history of the Foundation throughout the first three centuries of its existence. Having developed the mathematics of humanity called 'Psycohistory', Hari Seldon was able to foresee the downfall of the Galactic Empire which had stood for 20,000 years. Wishing to preserve knowledge and shorten the inevitable dark ages, Seldon sets up a 'Scientific Foundation' at the edge of the galaxy with the initial goal of creating an Encyclopedia Galactica. The real goal was to not only to preserve knowledge but to advance it and create the nucleus for a second Galactic Empire.

These three important books are the nucleus for a whole series of books that followed and are just the beginning of the "Foundation" stories. Under intense pressure from both fans and publishers, Asimov went on to publish many many more books of both the Foundation and the Pre-Foundation era. These stories stretch out over a period of thousands of years and cover what has become known as the 'Future History of Mankind'. ALL of these books continue Asimov's outstanding story telling. ALL of them are well worth reading and I'm betting if you read these first three, you will not be able to resist reading all of them.

The goal of this review, however, is to introduce just the first three books. These are the originals and are without competition for greatness. The main purpose of reviewing these books, of course, is to encourage Reluctant Readers to give it a try. I can testify that Reluctant Readers will find these novels easy to read. I first read them as a young teen and have read them dozens of times since. They are never hard to read. The vocabulary is easy and the characters are likable and memorable. Lovers of science fiction in any form - film, comics, TV, games - will recognize a lot of origin stories and themes that have influenced today's entertainment. It's a chance to connect to the timelessness of truly great storytelling. 

I have enjoyed literally countless hours of escape reading these great stories and I know you will too!

5 Rabbles with an R is easy to award this most classic of science fiction series.

Time for the Rabble to sound off! Have you read this awesome series? Let us know what your favorite classic is!