There are some interesting elements to it for instance, the use of religion as a tool of mass control and the implicit resultant argument that religion is no more than a fraud, "the opiate of the people," after all , but the book gave me little to enjoy or dig into. The forces of the novel are broad, historical, dealing with masses of people; this means that there is little to no room for individual characters here and little to be done by the few characters who do appear. One hundred percent of nothing, and that is the secret of this crisis" This is a recurring theme. Plus, there are no female characters to speak of. All else is done by and to men.
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Original stories[ edit ] The original trilogy of novels collected a series of eight short stories published in Astounding Magazine between May and January Campbell , with whom he developed the concepts of the collapse of the Galactic Empire , the civilization-preserving Foundations, and psychohistory.
Foundation trilogy[ edit ] The first four stories were collected, along with a new introductory story, and published by Gnome Press in as Foundation. The later stories were published in pairs by Gnome as Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation , resulting in the "Foundation Trilogy", as the series is still known. During the two-year lapse between writing the sequels and prequels, Asimov had tied in his Foundation series with his various other series, creating a single unified universe.
Some of the drawbacks to this style of colonization, also called Spacer culture, are also exemplified by the events described in The Naked Sun. After many years as a trilogy comprising "Foundation", "Foundation and Empire", and "Second Foundation", the series was expanded by two prequels and two sequels.
Several parties become aware of the content of his speech that using mathematical formulas, it may be possible to predict the future course of human history. Seldon is hounded by the Emperor and various employed thugs who are working surreptitiously, which forces him into exile. Over the course of the book, Seldon and Dors Venabili , a female companion and professor of history, are taken from location to location by Chetter Hummin who, under the guise of a reporter, introduces them to various Trantorian walks of life in his attempts to keep Seldon hidden from the Emperor.
Throughout their adventures all over Trantor, Seldon continuously denies that psychohistory is a realistic science. Even if feasible, it may take several decades to develop. Hummin, however, is convinced that Seldon knows something, so he continuously presses him to work out a starting point to develop psychohistory.
Eventually, after much traveling and introductions to various, diverse cultures on Trantor, Seldon realizes that using the entire known galaxy as a starting point is too overwhelming; he then decides to use Trantor as a model to work out the science, with a goal of later using the applied knowledge on the rest of the galaxy.
Forward the Foundation[ edit ] Main article: Forward the Foundation Eight years after the events of Prelude, Seldon has worked out the science of psychohistory and has applied it on a galactic scale. His notability and fame increase and he is eventually promoted to First Minister to the Emperor. As the book progresses, Seldon loses those closest to him, including his wife, Dors Venabili, as his own health deteriorates into old age.
Having worked his entire adult life to understand psychohistory, Seldon instructs his granddaughter, Wanda, to set up the Second Foundation. Main article: Foundation Isaac Asimov novel Called forth to stand trial on Trantor for allegations of treason for foreshadowing the decline of the Galactic Empire , Seldon explains that his science of psychohistory foresees many alternatives, all of which result in the Galactic Empire eventually falling.
If humanity follows its current path, the Empire will fall and 30, years of turmoil will overcome humanity before a second Empire arises. However, an alternative path allows for the intervening years to be only one thousand, if Seldon is allowed to collect the most intelligent minds and create a compendium of all human knowledge, entitled Encyclopedia Galactica. The board is still wary but allows Seldon to assemble whomever he needs, provided he and the "Encyclopedists" be exiled to a remote planet, Terminus.
Seldon agrees to these terms — and also secretly establishes a second Foundation of which almost nothing is known, which he says is at the "opposite end" of the galaxy. After fifty years on Terminus, and with Seldon now deceased, the inhabitants find themselves in a crisis. With four powerful planets surrounding their own, the Encyclopedists have no defenses but their own intelligence.
At the same time, a vault left by Seldon is due to automatically open. The vault reveals a pre-recorded hologram of Seldon, who informs the Encyclopedists that their entire reason for being on Terminus is a fraud, insofar as Seldon did not actually care whether or not an encyclopedia was created, only that the population was placed on Terminus and the events needed by his calculations were set in motion.
In reality, the recording discloses, Terminus was set up to reduce the dark ages from 30, years to just one millennium, based on following his calculations.
It will develop by facing intermittent and extreme "crises" — known as "Seldon Crises" — which the laws governing psychohistory show will inevitably be overcome, simply because human nature will cause events to fall in particular ways which lead to the intended goal.
The recording reveals that the present events are the first such crisis, reminds them that a second foundation was also formed at the "opposite end" of the galaxy, and then falls silent. His plan is a success; the Foundation remains untouched, and he is promoted to Mayor of Terminus the planet. Using its scientific advantage, Terminus develops trade routes with nearby planets, eventually taking them over when its technology becomes a much-needed commodity.
The interplanetary traders effectively become the new diplomats to other planets. In spite of its undoubted inferiority in purely military terms, the Foundation emerges as the victor and the Empire itself is defeated.
A century later, an unknown outsider called the Mule has begun taking over planets belonging to the Foundation at a rapid pace. Mis is killed by Bayta Darell before he can reveal the location, having realised that Magnifico is in fact the Mule and has been using his gifts to drive Mis forward in his research, so that he can learn the location himself and subjugate the Second Foundation also.
Dismayed at having made a mistake which allowed Bayta to see through his disguise, the Mule leaves Trantor to rule over his conquered planets while continuing his search. Main article: Second Foundation As the Mule comes closer to finding it, the mysterious Second Foundation comes briefly out of hiding to face the threat directly. The Second Foundation ultimately wears down the Mule, who returns to rule over his kingdom peacefully for the rest of his life, without any further thought of conquering the Second Foundation.
However, as a result, the first Foundation has learned something of the Second Foundation beyond the simple fact that it exists, and has some understanding of its role. This means their behavior will now be chosen in light of that knowledge, and not based on uninformed natural human behavior, which means their behavior will no longer be the natural responses required by the mathematics of the Seldon Plan. This places the Plan itself at great risk.
Additionally, the first Foundation instead starts to resentfully consider the other as a rival, and begins to develop equipment related to detecting and blocking mental influence, in order to detect members of the Second Foundation. The Foundation uncovers and destroys a group of fifty members of the Second Foundation and is left believing they have destroyed the Second Foundation.
No longer concerned at the perceived threat, their behaviors as a society will tend to be those anticipated by the Plan. In fact the group of fifty were volunteers on Terminus whose role was to be captured and give the impression that they composed the whole of the Second Foundation, so that the Seldon Plan would be able to continue unimpeded.
The Second Foundation, itself, is finally revealed to be located on the former Imperial Homeworld of Trantor. After a few conversations with Pelorat, Trevize comes to believe that a mythical planet called Earth may hold the secret to the location. Unknown to Trevize and Pelorat, Branno is tracking their ship so that, in the event they find the Second Foundation, the first Foundation can take military or other action.
Meanwhile, Stor Gendibal , a prominent member of the Second Foundation, discovers a simple local on Trantor who has had a very subtle alteration made to her mind, far more delicate than anything the Second Foundation can do. He concludes that a greater force of Mentalics must be active in the Galaxy. Following the events on Terminus, Gendibal endeavors to follow Trevize, reasoning that by doing so, he may find out who has altered the mind of the Trantor native.
Using the few scraps of reliable information within the various myths, Trevize and Pelorat discover a planet called Gaia which is inhabited solely by Mentalics, to such an extent that every organism and inanimate object on the planet shares a common mind. Both Branno and Gendibal, who have separately followed Trevize, also reach Gaia at the same time.
Gaia reveals that it has engineered this situation because it wishes to do what is best for humanity but cannot be sure what is best. Branno believes she has successfully negotiated a treaty tying Sayshell to the Foundation, and Gendibal — now leader of the Second Foundation — believes that the Second Foundation is victorious and should continue as normal. Trevize remains, but is uncertain as to why he has intuited is "sure" that Gaia is the correct outcome for the future.
Foundation and Earth[ edit ] Main article: Foundation and Earth Still uncertain about his decision, Trevize continues on with the search for Earth along with Pelorat and a local of Gaia, advanced in Mentalics, known as Blissenobiarella usually referred to simply as Bliss. Eventually, Trevize finds three sets of coordinates which are very old. When he physically visits the locations, he rediscovers the forgotten worlds of Aurora , Solaria , and finally Melpomenia.
After searching and facing different dilemmas on each planet, Trevize still has not discovered any answers. Aurora and Melpomenia are long deserted, but Solaria contains a small population which is extremely advanced in the field of Mentalics. When the lives of the group are threatened, Bliss uses her abilities and the shared intellect of Gaia to destroy the Solarian who is about to kill them. This leaves behind a small child who will be put to death if left alone, so Bliss makes the decision to keep the child as they quickly escape the planet.
Eventually, Trevize discovers Earth, but it, again, contains no satisfactory answers for him it is also long-since deserted. Daneel Olivaw. Olivaw explains that he has been instrumental in guiding human history for thousands of years, having provided the impetus for Seldon to create psychohistory and also the creation of Gaia, but is now close to the end of his ability to maintain himself and will cease to function.
Despite replacing his positronic brain which contain 20, years of memories , he is going to die shortly. He explains that no further robotic brain can be devised to replace his current one, or which will let him continue assisting for the benefit of humanity.
However, some additional time can be won to ensure the long term benefit of humanity by merging R. The plot of the series focuses on the growth and reach of the Foundation, against a backdrop of the "decline and fall of the Galactic Empire. The focus of the books is the trends through which a civilization might progress, specifically seeking to analyze their progress, using history as a precedent. Although many science fiction novels such as Nineteen Eighty-Four or Fahrenheit do this, their focus is upon how current trends in society might come to fruition, and act as a moral allegory on the modern world.
The Foundation series, on the other hand, looks at the trends in a wider scope, dealing with societal evolution and adaptation rather than the human and cultural qualities at one point in time. Furthermore, the concept of psychohistory, which gives the events in the story a sense of rational fatalism, leaves little room for moralization. Hari Seldon himself hopes that his Plan will "reduce 30, years of Dark Ages and barbarism to a single millennium," a goal of exceptional moral gravity.
Yet events within it are often treated as inevitable and necessary, rather than deviations from the greater good. For example, the Foundation slides gradually into oligarchy and dictatorship prior to the appearance of the galactic conqueror, known as the Mule , who was able to succeed through the random chance of a telepathic mutation.
The books also wrestle with the idea of individualism. Many in the series struggle against it, only to fail. However, the plan itself is reliant upon the cunning of individuals such as Salvor Hardin and Hober Mallow to make wise decisions that capitalize on the trends.
On the other hand, the Mule, a single individual with mental powers, topples the Foundation and nearly destroys the Seldon plan with his special, unforeseen abilities. To repair the damage the Mule inflicts, the Second Foundation deploys a plan which turns upon individual reactions. Asimov tried unsuccessfully to end the series with Second Foundation. However, because of the predicted thousand years until the rise of the next Empire of which only a few hundred had elapsed , the series lacked a sense of closure.
For decades, fans pressured him to write a sequel. This was followed shortly thereafter by Foundation and Earth. The story of this volume which takes place some years after Seldon ties up all the loose ends and brings together all of his Robot, Empire, and Foundation novels into a single story. He also opens a brand new line of thought in the last dozen pages regarding Galaxia , a galaxy inhabited by a single collective mind.
This concept was never explored further. This precept was maintained in the pages of his first novel Pebble in the Sky, wherein Imperial archaeologist Bel Arvardan refers to ancient human strata discovered in the Sirius sector dating back "some 50, years". However, when Asimov decided decades later to retroactively integrate the universe of his Foundation and Galactic Empire novels with that of his Robot stories, a number of changes and minor discrepancies surfaced — the character R.
Daneel Olivaw was established as having existed for some 20, years, with the original Robot novels featuring the character occurring not more than a couple of millennia after the earlyst century Susan Calvin short stories. Many included stories would later be either jettisoned from the later chronology or temporally relocated by the author.
Also, the aforementioned lengthier scope of time was changed. For example, in the original s timeline, humanity does not discover the hyperspatial drive until around AD, whereas in the reincorporated Robot universe chronology, the first interstellar jump occurs in AD, during the events of I, Robot.
A fifth part, the first in terms of fictional chronology, was added for the Gnome Press edition. Two further books, each consisting of two novellas, were published shortly after and the three are considered a trilogy. Asimov would write two further sequel novels and two prequels. Campbell of Astounding Science Fiction that he write a short story set in a slowly declining Galactic Empire, based on the fall of the Roman Empire.