January 24, 2014
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Review)
Author: Isaac Asimov
First published: 1951
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I was expecting so much from this book after the greatness of I, Robot, but, sadly, it fell flat for me. I mean, OK, it's a space saga with politics, wars, progress, etc, and it sounds rather impressive, but if you look to the core of it it's as if the author has just read about the fall of the Roman Empire and was impressed. He does have a good grasp of European history, but what about inventing something new instead of just interpreting historical tendencies on a cosmic scale?
The book consists of 5 short stories first published separately. Each of them covers an important turn in the history of Foundation - an emerging force in the Galaxy which was once one strong, centralized and technological Empire. This Empire has fallen, as had been predicted, its periphery has become separate kingdoms, and space has become a field for numerous conflicts. There is a prophesy, though, that if a certain course of action is pursued, a new Empire will emerge in 1000 years, and chaos will end; and it's up to Foundation to see to it.
Although I enjoyed some of the dialogues, which were rather clever, the rest was not very gripping. The book is all about ideas, not adventure or even characters, and the ideas, as I've mentioned, are not new. Interdicts, economic blockades, political maneuvering - all this is rather predictable for anybody who is at least a bit acquainted with the history of the world.
In my book:
It's definitely not the best of Asimov, and I'm surprised it won Hugo. Although if you really love history, this may be your thing.