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.
Listen to all of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, including (in chronological order):
©1988 Isaac Asimov (P)2011 Random House
Perhaps it's a result of the writing style of Isaac Asimov, but this reading eventually got on my nerves. There was too much forceful, dramatic pronunciation, and not enough variety and modulation in tone. I was left feeling that there was one main character in the book: that of Scott Brick, the narrator. More nuance and colour would have made it more enjoyable.
It's a little slow in the beginning but towards the end of the book everything comes together and you see why things were like they were. I liked that Asimov explained everything and you weren't left wondering why an event had happened. It was quite satisfying this way.
Ok fellow Foundation fans - this review is not pretty (but, there are also no spoilers), but it's honest. And it's from a fellow Foundation fanatic who LOVED the first five books.
Plain and simple, there is not story here. Instead of clever plot twists and surprises, you get one straight-forward, predictable read, without the slightest interesting story until the final 30 pages of the book. The last 30 pages contain several large, ingenious surprises. Problem is, none of the previous story was needed to justify the final surprises.
In the first five books, we have a genius of a storyline with great suspense. In this book, no suspense to speak of. Someone gets left atop a rooftop and almost freezes to death, then someone complains that they have to wear a bald wig on a planet, then someone gets in a knife fight, and really nothing enlightening happens along the way.
I suggest you read the final 30-50 pages and call it a day. Trust a fan of the first five books, the high ratings this book is receiving would NOT have been provided had this been the first book in the Foundation series. There's no story here.
Caveat, The narrator did a Fantastic job.
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Harry Seldon Begins...
This book is consistent with Asimov's writing style throughout his career. There is a nicely tied up ending, that begs another question(s) ... if you liked his other books, you will love this one as well. I would say the ending was terrific, but the scenes in the region where hair was unacceptable were priceless...
Scott always does a great job, I wish he did the last 2 books in this series, but that should not stop anyone from reading this book. Scott does great job.
No, too long, but that is not a negative. These books become companions, and spending time with them is time spent well.
Asimov is a unique writer. There is depth but this is not over philosophical. The characters are developed but these are not character studies. These are old fashion stories, meant to entertain, challenge your ideas and keep you involved. They are based on logic, not fighting or sex or melodrama. The story evolves, reveals itself and enthralls you until the end. I always suspect Asimov wrote these to primarily amuse himself, and the reader is invited into that approach. I highly recommend this book to any Asimov fan or fan of the Foundation Series.
I really enjoyed this story and am looking forward to listening to the rest of the foundation books. I love Science fiction and am surprised it has taken me this long to read this series.
I also thought that the narration was excellent.
A more interesting story line. This book relies on the fame of the foundation series and has no story line of it's own.
Because there is very little story development this book relies on bickering between characters and forced action scenes to keep going. If you love the Foundation series so much you absolutely have to have more, go ahead and read this book, otherwise skip it. The most disappointing thing for me was that I remember enjoying the Foundation Trilogy and this did not compare.
One of my favorites. So masterfully woven into the rest of the series.
Scott Brick is one of my very favorite narrators. Loved him in the ender series as well.
what a performance! its so well dramatized, perfect delivery.
I first read the Foundation trilogy in the 60's. I hoped this would be a good new addition. Unfortunately, it is boring, tedious and pretty much a hack job by Asimov. Who knew Hari Seldon was such a whiny bitch! Amazing...
I read this book about twenty years ago and remembered how much I enjoyed it. Thankfully for me my memory is a bit faded and I was able to enjoy Asimov's amazing prose once again as if it were brand new. A couple of things are different now. In the 21st century, with instant texting and cellphones everywhere I found it rather amusing that the citizens of Trantor had not gotten very far with their communication devices, or their travel options. In 1988 we were just getting our teeth sharpened on personal computers -- to have a "286" was top of the line, and only text pilots and geeks were on the world wide web. AOL was not even born yet and dial-up was the way to go and SO expensive. Who knew that technology would leap so far so fast!
So, tongue in cheek, I retread Hari Seldon's path as he postulated his theory of psychohistory, so much more enjoyable with Scott Brick's spot-on narration. As the story unfolded I had a germ of remembrance about the ending which I shoved to the back of my mind as I listened happily to Hari and Dors' travel experiences. In the end it was as I suspected and so utterly perfectly delivered I enjoyed it thoroughly again.
This was a perfect listen. I am ready now to re-experience the rest of the Foundation series. I hope that Scott Brick will be my storyteller.
I had gone through the Foundation series as written and at this point the series was getting to be more of the same
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