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Foundation | [Isaac Asimov]

Foundation

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Listen to all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, including (in chronological order):

Prelude to Foundation
Forward the Foundation
Foundation
Foundation and Empire
Second Foundation
Foundation's Edge
Foundation and Earth

©1982 Isaac Asimov (P)2010 Random House

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  •  
    Alexander T. McMahon Silicon Valley, CA 08-17-10
    Alexander T. McMahon Silicon Valley, CA 08-17-10 Member Since 2008

    Sandy McMahon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Foundation Trilogy is a True Classic"

    Asimov is superb, particularly when one considers that he started writing this series in the early 1950s. As a result it reads and sounds like the period. For all that, this is a great classic and Scott Brick is an excellent reader. The story and cast of characters is much more complex than the average novel. I found that a 2nd listen not only made everything clearer, but was even more enjoyable than the first.

    A few reviewers comment on dropped sentences. It helps to have access to the printed version. Chapters are frequently introduced with excerpts of the fictitious Encyclopedia Galactica, and these excerpts are - in both the print and Audible version - often dropped mid-sentence. This is Asimov.

    Highly recommended for any SciFi fan.

    37 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada 07-11-11
    Sarah Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada 07-11-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In spite of its flaws, I couldn't put it down."

    This is a work of creative genius. The plot is intricate and compelling, breath-taking in its scope, and wildy imaginative. The characters aren't terribly well-developed, and the dialogue is sometimes cheesy, but that almost doesn't matter because my focus was drawn, again and again, to the "big picture". As soon as I think I've lost interest, Asimov drops a bombshell plot twist, and I'm back. Fantastic.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Lee 04-07-13
    Roger Lee 04-07-13
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    "An unabridged classic but "Psychologist?!!""
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed listening to this. It was one of the first major works of SciFi that I ever read.


    Any additional comments?

    Why on earth did the word "psychohistory" (and all derivatives thereof) become "psychology?" Where in the book they talk about psychohistorians, they talk about psychologists in the audiobook. What happened? Did the word get globally replaced by a spellchecker in the final copy of the script?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zuniga LA PALMA, CA, United States 08-25-11
    Zuniga LA PALMA, CA, United States 08-25-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Wanted to like it more"

    The Book

    Having heard so much about Asimov, I was expecting to thoroughly enjoy Foundation. Having finished the book, I wouldn’t say that I hated the book or even really disliked it so much as I simply wasn’t impressed. I don’t plan to listen to the rest of the series. Over and over again as I was listening, I thought that the book simply has not stood up to the test of time. It just felt dated and old, like watching a classic movie comedy that never makes you smile, even though you know that it was really funny back when it first came out.

    The writing style was not very engaging to the modern reader. Two quick examples:

    1) Almost zero character development. Foundation actually functions like 4 mini-books within the larger book and I never found myself caring for any of the characters. You are with each for a short amount of time and then you can forget about them entirely. The plot is the only thing that matters.

    2) Very little action. I realize I’m from the Nintendo generation and that might mean my attention span is lacking. But seriously, can’t we get a chase scene or a fight or something? There was a military coup that we actually didn’t get to see and even a hostage situation on a hostile planet never got my blood racing.

    The Narration

    The narration was adequate but nothing about it made Scott Brick seem particularly noteworthy. Perhaps this is not the best book on which to to judge Brick since Foundation is such a marathon dialogue session. You won’t like the book any less because of Brick’s narration, but I suppose you won’t like it any more either.

    The Verdict

    If you enjoy science fiction and are interested in reading a classic work, by all means, dive right in. Also, if you are the kind of person that enjoys old things and are able to appreciate them for what they are without being distracted by the additional flaws that come with age, you might also enjoy Foundation. Otherwise, you are likely to be disappointed with this read.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Goodyear, AZ, United States 01-29-12
    Rob Goodyear, AZ, United States 01-29-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Great story - terrible and distracting narration"
    What made the experience of listening to Foundation the most enjoyable?

    Fast plotting, lots of twists, and cool use of


    How could the performance have been better?

    For the first time in years I had to turn off the ipod and buy a hard copy of the book so I could finish this great story. The narrator, Scott Brick, voiced all the characters with such a snarky, arrogant persona that it highly distracted from the plot. Sometimes I couldn't even follow the dialog because I was wondering why two characters would be talking to each other in such condescending tones.

    I can't understand why this guy is such a popular narrator. I won't buy another audible title if he's doing the reading!


    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Scotty Parker 11-29-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An old friend revisited"

    I first read Asimov's original Foundation Triology Back in the early 60's. Later, as he added volumes to the Foundation series, I would grab up every Foundation book as they came out, ending with Foundation and Earth in 1986. I have always recommended Asimov to friends and acquaintances as a "classic" to be be read by all Sci-Fi fans.
    A few months ago, I noticed "Prelude to Foundation" when browsing through Audible to find my next "listen." I also decided to download the rest of the series so I could go through it all again in sequential order.
    Quite obviously, I had no doubt about Asimov as I've have been a reader of his for over 50 years now. I was quite impressed with the reader and also very impressed that he seems to be the reader for all books in the series so we gain the continuity of the presentation.
    I just cannot recommend the Foundation stories highly enough. Again, a classic and so very well performed by Scott Brick.
    One word of caution to readers/listeners to Asimove's style. There are times it seems, in all his writing that he begins to edge into a tangent of over description whether it be a personality, an event, or just a segment of the story. DO NOT let this cause dismay and do not allow yourself to drift, waiting for the dialog to pick up. It is all so important to end up with a genuine undersstanding of the story. All will come true to your expectations.
    I know this review is on the first book written (Foundation) but I cannot help but speak of the entire works. Asimov is timeless. The reader, superb. Do yourself a favor and commit to the entire works of Foundation. When you're done, you'll want to pursue the Robot books as well as the Empire books. Asimove wrote much and in the end you'll wish he wrote more.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James C Las Vegas, NV 07-04-10
    James C Las Vegas, NV 07-04-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book and narration"

    I'm almost finished with the book and I have found no problems with the narration or editing. I can see what other people mean about it being a bit difficult to keep track of all the characters and figure out who is talking, but keep in mind (for those like myself who are new to the Foundation series) that the book moves from epoch to epoch, with each story having a manageable number of characters. I also agree that the narrator (Scott Brick) doesn't do the best job I've heard him do of distinguishing between characters, but it's really not bad.

    On the content side, I'm a fan of many Star Wars books and a few others by authors like Kevin J Anderson and Timothy Zahn but had never read much of Asimov. I'm already hooked and looking forward to the rest of the books in this immense series.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emanuel Zion, IL, United States 04-18-12
    Emanuel Zion, IL, United States 04-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "ok"

    A good, time passer. Not a bad listen, but nothing to holler and scream about either.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 02-27-14
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2009

    I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to suspend belief"

    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.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Professor 11-27-12
    Professor 11-27-12

    1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "PSYCHOHISTORY"

    I was Six when I read it, the next day I committed to my first trip to local library.

    Try to guess which book I was looking for?

    I was looking for "Encyclopedia Galactica"
    Years have passed and I still have memories of Hari Seldon and Galactic Empire, the story of rise and fall of great civilization evolution and changes in human mind.
    The story of Foundation is a science fiction epic which deserves to be read or listened with new voice of Scott Brick

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 80 results PREVIOUS128NEXT
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  • David
    Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, United Kingdom
    1/31/11
    Overall
    "A great interpretation of Foundation"

    Foundation is clearly one of the best science fiction books ever written. Any audiobook interpretation of a good story can be compromised both by choice of reader and the addition of background music or sound effects. I have listened to both versions of Foundation offered by Audible narrated by Scott Brick and Jim Gallant. The Scott Brick interpretation completely outclasses the Jim Gallant version. To be fair, Scott Brick has the advantage of working with the unabridged book and he does a wonderful job - his narration is clear and his phrasing is good whereas Jim Gallant had to work with an abridged version padded by long periods of awful music. Anyone listening to this version of Asomov's greatest stories will, I am sure, not be disappointed.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Beulah, United Kingdom
    3/1/11
    Overall
    "On Audible at last!"

    A brilliantly thought out book that was a pleasure to listen to. The story is ambitious in scale to say the least but Asimov is more than up to the task and creates a fascinating world in which to immerse the reader. The format is that of short stories encapsulated within the broader Galactic history. These stories drive the prophecy of Hari Sheldon with glacial inevitability - they are clever and the characters engaging and sharp in their depiction. I will definitely be finishing the trilogy. As always, Scott Brick does a great job of narrating this epic series.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
    7/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A strange experience"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It is what it is!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Isaac Asimov again?

    Yes, of course


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favourite?

    There aren't any characters - that's one of the problems with the book. But probably Hardin.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    This was a strange experience. I remember loving this as a teenager, but this comes across rather poorly now. It's not the outmoded attitude towards technology - Asimov can't be blamed for that. It's just the stories. They are pretty dry - it's all very talk driven. Most of the characters are interchangeable, and there's barely a woman in the entire book.

    It's funny how attitudes change. That said, I'll still probably listen to the next one at some point. But not now - I need something with more dynamics!

    Oh, Scott Brick does a very decent job - particularly as the text is 80% dialogue!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Donald
    Braintree, United Kingdom
    8/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Classic Written By A Genius"
    What made the experience of listening to Foundation the most enjoyable?

    I've read and re-read the Fountain books 'til the spines broke. As an introduction to Sci-Fi it still stands as a great epic. I love the thought processes of the characters, the ideas and plot twists.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Foundation?

    When the true purpose of the Foundation is revealed and the extent Harry Seldon has planned becomes apparent.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    I thought Scott Brick did very well in coping with a multitude of characters and did not let it become 'pantomime' in any way.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Every time there is a triumph of reason and thought over aggression and bullying - a point that is laboured throughout the Foundation Saga but still gets me every time.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • mark
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    7/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A classic from a different age"

    Foundation is from a different age and it it feels it.
    It is no doubt a true classic and it is vasty influential, but I did find it difficult to like.
    One of the problems is that the story is all about the idea of a 1000 year plan to save civilisation, there are characters in the story, but they are difficult to tell apart.
    This is a basic problem with the story and nothing to do with the performance of the work, Scott Brick does a good job with material, but it is difficult to make such a work, interesting .
    The attitude towards technology and notably women also feels very dated.
    Having said all of this, I probably will try the next book in the series, since this was written as a single story, rather than as a series of linked short stories maybe that will work better?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony
    MILTON KEYNES, United Kingdom
    7/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wasn't sure when I chose it...."
    Where does Foundation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Foundation is one of the best audiobooks I have purchased, its right at the top of the pile.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I have always been a fan of sci fi but I really enjoyed the low fantasy element. This led to a more plot and character driven story.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    I wasn't sure about Scott Brick to start with although after a while I found his performance to be pleasant and clear.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I think its a lot of story to listen to in one go and found it better to break the story into parts to let me think about the plot.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • the drumer
    Sussex. UKK
    6/24/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "asimov at his best"
    What made the experience of listening to Foundation the most enjoyable?

    For me the narrator seemed just to fit the part and his voice (Unlike many others) did not intrude into the story line


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Foundation?

    Just griping from start to finish


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Not yet


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This question seemes to paraphrase the question before last "What was one of the most memorable moments of Foundation"? so I refer to that answer


    Any additional comments?

    Asimovs depth of story line and characters have such relevance and a great understanding of our own society. The Foundation Trilogy could be said to almost explain some of the theories of Karl Marxy. Any one who reads the Foundation should without doubt get the rest of the Trilogy

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • FM Veteran
    UK
    12/14/12
    Overall
    "Worthy but a bit dull"

    I feel duty-bound to post a review to counterbalance those of the ardent fans here who might perhaps give an unbalanced impression to a broader audience. ‘Foundation’ starts with the clever (though nonsensical) premise of ‘psychohistory’ which Asimov uses to connect a handful of stories that were originally published as standalones. The trouble for me at least is that all the stories are rather dull, with as much intricacy and challenge as an episode of ‘Star Trek’. This is a pity, because Asimov was notable for his ability to create brain-teasers, such as the ‘I Robot’ collection, that leave you as pleasantly satisfied as any Agatha Christie. By comparison, ‘Foundation’ feels to me like going through the motions, and its scale and scope don’t help much. Obviously this is all a matter of taste, and you may feel the book’s worth hearing simply because any sci-fi fan ought to. I just think you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t go in expecting it to be as good as the best sci-fi – or even the best Asimov.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • D
    Winterbourne, South Glos., United Kingdom
    1/13/11
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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