For 12,000 years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future, to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last 30,000 years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire, both scientists and scholars, and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun or fight them and be destroyed.
Please note: The text of this book includes some passages that begin or end in mid-sentence. This is intentional by the author.
Listen to all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, including (in chronological order):
©1982 Isaac Asimov (P)2010 Random House
This book is in the middle of the road for me.
On the one hand I am intrigued by the premises of the book to map out the course of history over 1,000 years to try to shorten the suffering of mankind after the collapse of the Empire.
The other side of it, that it has to describe 1,000 years of history in 7 books and around 150 years in this first volume. Because of that, the book feels like you are constantly pressing the fast forward button only seeing bits and pieces of the story, just focusing on 3 people for very brief moments of their lives.
Also, the book shows it's age and feels just plain outdated at times.
i regret having purchased this audiobook...i listened to the preview and though i didn't like the narration i was so interested in this classic work that i thought i could overlook it. i was wrong. Brick is one of those narrators constantly inserting himself and his style into the reading so obtrusively that it is distracting. he has a sing-song cadence, and a kind of vague sighing style that is hugely irritating, and gets more so with time. almost like he is relating something with an ongoing sense of vague regret and superciliousness.
i finally got to the point, after only a short while, that i just couldn't stand it any more and decided to read the book instead. i with there were other readings of this series as i would very much enjoy listening to it, but not with this narrator.
obviously, this is a highly subjective judgment and others may enjoy the reading. but listen closely to the sample and if you find yourself finding the reading a bit intrusive, just know that that sense is likely to grow, not diminsh, as you listen to the book.
simon vance would have been good.
It is a story that has many elements we could learn from today.
the background music was distracting, the narrative was ABRIDGED as I have read the book itself many times and a lot was left out of the narrative.
from Knowledge Lost
Seems like every Science Fiction novel I read that was written in the 1960???s or 1970???s they seem to substitute story for social and philosophical issues. Foundation is no different, while this book has a very interesting take on a shifting society; I found the story and the characters very flat. While I didn???t like this aspect of the book there fast paced; rise of the foundation was really great. Don???t read this for the story; read this book for an interesting social aspects and the effects change has on mankind.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
As I personally do not enjoy Scott Brick as a narrator, I downloaded this through an Audible Sale. Redardless, the story still holds up as a classic. This is for me another 'great' that I read ages ago, and hearing it read is a little like a lazy read.
I am still listening, and as the Sale is still on I wanted to let others know this is great story. I think what holds up is a view that humanity's development is slow indeed. With so much going on at the moment in research into Global Conciousness and the effectiveness of group meditations, this is a story that is worth hearing. Well for those who not yet read or heard of Foundation.... Think along lines of who is best served by manipulating belief systems, and put that against great Research that is being done.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
I love Isaac Asimov’s ideas, but I just couldn’t suspend disbelief for the plot of this famous novel. The premise is that Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian, has calculated the course of history and made preparations for preserving humanity on a distant planet. I think it’s the psychologist in me that just can’t get past this premise. There’s no way that history can be predicted — there are just too many factors. Another issue I have with Asimov, and it’s so blatantly displayed here, is that though he could imagine all sorts of futuristic technology and possible histories, he didn’t seem to be able to imagine that someday women might find their way out of their kitchens and bedrooms.
As always, Scott Brick gives a nice performance.
Asimov's Foundation series, based on the ideas from the "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire," starts with a 12,000 year-old Galactic Empire. The great Hari Selden has mathematically proven that the Empire will soon fall and a 30-millennium Dark Age will follow, but Selden's Foundation can shorten that time by a factor of 30.
This is the story of the formation and first few centuries of Hari Selden's plan, showing the transition of the Foundation from an academic encyclopedia foundation to (cynical) religious leadership to commercial empire. All is well with Selden's plan.
The Foundation trilogy is a bit dry, and the characters are quite one-dimensional and cartoonish. It may be more enjoyable if you think of it as a history book from the distant future rather than an adventure story. The envisioned technology was typical for the 1940's (computing your course across the galaxy with a slide-rule), but seems rather quaint now. One other complaint: Asimov got pretty wordy in places, to the detriment of the story.
I like Scott Brick as a narrator and he does a pretty good job with this.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
Having read this series long ago I was pleased to renew an acquaintance with an old love. This is a great series and this first book is performed flawlessly. The tale of science fiction that improves with age is rare. A wonderful book with a great narration.
I loved this as a boy and still enjoy the central idea but the storytelling lacks the vitality of modern SiFi such as Banks or Hamilton.
I shall still probably buy Foundation & Empire, and Second Foundation, to hear the story once more, but it won't be as enjoyable as I had hoped.
We get a glimpse at the seeds of epic sci fi in its infancy here - many things we now recognize as clichés started in such literary epics. for this reason, I'd recommend foundation as a must read for sci-fi fans...
however, leave all need for a solid through line, character development or in-depth lore behind you - like Harry Seldon, they all perform functions in the greater story for Asimov.
I found the reading sometimes hard to follow the character but it was clear and expressive.
"Enjoyed it but hard to follow the characters"
OK stories but sometimes it was difficult to tell which character was speaking. Chapters would skip entire periods of time with new characters being introduced. You had to hope that you generally picked up on who these new ones were, or keep open a wiki page that explains it instead. I enjoyed the book overall but I don't know if I'd rush to recommend it to others.
"as good as the book"
easy listening and a great book and series. loved it a great deal listen and enjoy it
The first great book of maybe the best Science Fiction trilogy of all time. It reads as well today as it would have 70 years ago, when it was written. Highly recommended!
"Book One of a Seminal Series"
I first read this book, along with all the sequels, in the 1970s and ‘80s. Back then, of course, aged in my teens and twenties, I wouldn’t have appreciated that these were such pivotal science fiction novels. So now, decades later, I felt it was time to revisit what I remembered as a real mind expanding, page-turner of a book. And, yes, the magic is still there. A must-read for everyone, I think.
"I know this is heresy but..."
...this really got boring very fast. I know that Foundation appears on everyone's list of must-read sci-fi, and usually near the top, and I can sort of see why, in that it set the gold standard for so much grand-scale Space Opera in the way The Lord Of The Rings did for high fantasy.
However, the years have not been kind...
Honestly, it might as well be a collection of meeting minutes - every chapter consists solely of long conversations between barely-distinguished or developed characters in which the progress of the story since the last chapter is discussed in laboured exposition. The characters might raise their voices or storm out once in a while but that's the limit of the action.
This isn't helped by Scott Brick's narration which does little to differentiate between the individual voices in the story, to the extent that it's sometimes difficult to work out who is speaking. I've heard Brick narrating other books, and doing it very well, but this one wasn't for him.
"Asimov sounds disappointingly dated."
It's a book that is very much of it's time. There were no characters that I felt any sympathy with... it lacks the humanity found in Iain M Banks "Culture" books, or William Gibsons work. I didn't really care for anyone.
None - but Brick did his best with what he had to work with. The conversations and dominance of the Foundation were well played out and compelling.
Unless huge liberties were taken with the source material, I can't imagine this being made into a series.
I suppose you could cast the thin geeky guy from The Big Bang theory as many of the Foundation characters.
Just above "Meh" for me I'm afraid. Brick was good, but I wasn't enamoured with Asimov.
"Very good! Few comments below."
The narrator tries to vary the voice between characters, but sometimes it's hard to tell who is who. And sometimes it feels like the speech has been cut off and you're not sure whether intentionally or glitch.
"Fantastic future history on a galaxy-wide scale"
The definitive sci-fi, a history of the far future, with a scope across the whole galaxy, but almost contemporary in the politics and dreams of the frontier. This and the two sequels must be read - by sci-fi, but also by politics and philosophy students alike.
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