Prelude to Foundation : Foundation

  • by Isaac Asimov
  • Narrated by Scott Brick
  • Series: Foundation
  • 15 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capital of the Galactic Empire, forty billion people have created a civilization of unimaginable technological and cultural complexity. Yet Cleon knows there are those who would see him fall - those whom he would destroy if only he could read the future.
Hari Seldon has come to Trantor to deliver his paper on psychohistory, his remarkable theory of prediction. Little does the young Outworld mathematician know that he has already sealed his fate and the fate of humanity. For Hari possesses the prophetic power that makes him the most wanted man in the Empire... the man who holds the key to the future - an apocalyptic power to be know forever after as the Foundation.

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Trantor, capital of a galactic empire!

In the 1950’s and 1960’s the “big three” of Science Fiction were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and Robert Heinlein, all three are required reading for any real fan of the genre.

There are two schools of thought on how to approach Asimov’s epic “Foundation” series. The original trilogy consisting of “Foundation”, “Foundation and Empire” and “Second Foundation” were written in the 1950’s. Later in the 1980’s and 1990’s Asimov wrote two prequels, “Prelude to Foundation” and “Forward the Foundation” and two sequels to the original trilogy, “Foundations Edge” and “Foundation and Earth.” Some urge newcomers to read them in published order but I much prefer to approach the series in historical order, the order in which the events occur.

As with almost all writing from these periods, some of the technologies presented are to a certain point outdated. It is easy for us now to consider the lack of smart phones and the internet bit of an oversight but it does not affect overall enjoyment of the story and the remainder of the technology is advanced enough to be well beyond us today.

While "Prelude to Foundation" discusses events on a huge galactic scale it really focuses on the life of one man, Hari Seldon and his quest to develop the science of “Psychohistory” which will, when perfected, predict the future of large scale events surrounding societies and their governmental structures, such as a collapse of a galactic empire. It takes place on the crowded forty billion inhabitant, capital planet of a galaxy wide empire called “Trantor” which is divided into zones that blanket the entire planet.

The novel starts out with Hari arriving on Trantor for the first time to present a paper on his yet undeveloped "Psychohistory" to a mathematics symposium. As the book proceeds it leads you through an exploration of the technology, government and various social structures of Trantor, all of which serve to provide the foundation (sorry) for Hari’s later development of Psychohistory.

Do not expect a space opera with new excitement and thrills at every turn; this is not that type story. On the other hand, do not think I am saying "Prelude to Foundation" is in any way boring, the novel is a delight to listen to. Throughout the adventure it keeps you thinking about Trantor, the societies involved and the interesting storyline. The book is direct, to the point without a lot of useless meandering and moves not at a rapid but rather a nice comfortable pace.

When finished, you will be eager to continue the journey to see if Hari can complete his Psychohistory project, which is so important for the future of humanity.

How was the narration? Well, it is narrated by Scott Brick, need I say more!
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- Svenghali

The order don't matter

I like Asimov, especially The End of Eternity, The Gods Themselves, Nightfall, The Positronic Man and The Ugly Little Boy, but it don't matter what order you read the Foundation books, they all suck. With the exception maybe of Forward the Foundation.

The whole concept of figuring out how an Empire is going to fall or rise through Math is a fantastic concept. The problem is that when Asimov writes about it, he puts you to sleep. These books started out as short stories and that is how they should have stayed.

I read this years ago, loved the ending, but remembered the book as being boring. Thinking I was not a good Science Fiction Person if I didn't love Foundation, I bought and tried to listen to this again. It was still boring and I only made it through the first 26 chapters.

You should expect a book to either inform, entertain or take you to another world, this will take you to another world: Dream Land.

I am not normally a Scott Brick fan, but this book is suited to him and I am not saying that because I think it was boring, I believe he reads it like Asimov wrote it.
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- Jim "The Impatient" "Paid reviewers, after two weeks get 4-8 votes and have that power to strike unhelpful against others. Check their history! Your money!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-11-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio