Series Review: Foundation Trilogy
Books in Series: Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), Second Foundation (1953)
Author: Isaac Asimov
Hints of: Star Wars (or more correctly, Star Wars is hints of Foundation)
Warnings: Pretty tame, not much to warn or be triggered by. Unless you don't care for tobacco.
In the waning days of a future Galactic Empire, the mathematician Hari Seldon spends his life developing a theory of psychohistory, a new and effective mathematical sociology. Using statistical laws of mass action, it can predict the future of large populations. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a Dark Age lasting 30,000 years before a second empire arises. Although the inertia of the Empire's fall is too great to stop, Seldon devises a plan by which "the onrushing mass of events must be deflected just a little" to eventually limit this interregnum to just one thousand years. To implement his plan, Seldon creates the Foundations—two groups of scientists and engineers settled at opposite ends of the galaxy—to preserve the spirit of science and civilization, and thus become the cornerstones of the new galactic empire.
I wanted to read this series before the show premiered on Apple TV in a couple of months. We actually won a #Bookstagram competition and got to pick a book to be purchased off our Good Reads list. Instead the kind soul bought the entire Foundation trilogy for us. What luck!
The Foundation trilogy was entirely ahead of its time. Straight out the gate we are placed on a world entirely covered in metal. A planet that is one giant city. Trantor is the center of the galaxy and from the beginning of this series you just know that your previous thinking of the greatness that was George Lucas was all a lie. Like most things in history lately. we never got the full story. Most Lucas' inspiration for Star Wars can actually be traced back to Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
The characters and concepts of Foundation are also something uniquely misplaced for the 50s. Psychohistorical mathematics? Humanity spread across the galaxy? Holographic reincarnations played centuries past their recording date? Foundation is a fun novel that stands the test of time. A novel we could get into even today!
I loved the pure science fiction that radiated from this series. In most sci-fi novels you can get lost in absolutely random scientific talk like Expanse or Martian. Then there are those series that get a bit too fiction, like Dune or some Octavia Butler novels. But Foundation has a decent mix, plus it doesn't dilly dally around a point. These novels are quick reads (about 300 or fewer pages) and fairly easy concepts to understand.
One of my favorites is the idea of statistical probability based on the masses. This was the science behind Hari Seldon's prediction for the fall of the Empire. Essentially the idea is that large groups are bound to do certain things and can not deviate but for only a few options.
Very Loki and the sacred timeline vibes.
This concept is the type of science fiction that is just fun. Not too complicated but just weird enough to peak that interest.
I gave the series a full 5 stars not only for its groundbreaking (pardon the pun) foundation for much of what we know of science fiction today, but also because of its intriguing concepts and fun character developments that keep the reader engaged throughout all three novels.
Check out the Foundation Trilogy wherever you buy your books. Also look out for reviews on foundation spinoff novels outside of these original three!
Drink Pairing: Rum Runner
I picked this drink because in Foundation there is a group called the Merchant Princes. These were once Traders that got rich from their business dealings with the Foundation and its partner planets. To quote Asimov
" ...With psychohistoric inevitability, economic control of the Foundation grew. The traders grew rich; and with riches came power..."
To honor both the traders and the rum runners of the 1950s we're pairing this series with the drink for their namesake! Cheers!