Asimovs Foundation

ISBN 0553293354 by IsaacAsimov

I've just about finished Second Foundation (having completed Foundation and Foundation and Empire). Loving it, loving it, loving it.

Can PsychoHistory be applied to Wiki?

-- AlanFrancis

I'll tell you if you show me the equations. Then we'll stick them in the Prime Wiki.


"If a science of history were achieved, it would, like the science of celestial mechanics, make possible the calculable prediction of the future in history. It would bring the totality of historical occurrences within a single field and reveal the unfolding future to its last end, including all the apparent choices made and to be made. It would be omniscience. The creator of it would possess the attributes ascribed by the theologians to God. The future once revealed, humanity would have nothing to do except to await its doom."

Charles Austin Beard, 1933, "Written History as an Act of Faith". Annual address of the president of the American Historical Association, delivered at Urbana, Illinois. December 28, 1933. From the American Historical Review 39(2):219-231.

In case you were wondering, Isaac Asimov began Foundation in 1941 when he was only 21 years old; it's hard to know whether he would have read the American Historical Review when he was thirteen. If it was anybody but Asimov, you'd say absolutely not.

An interesting analysis of PsychoHistory as presented in the original Foundation trilogy resides at http://www.zompist.com/psihist.html.

Interesting reviews of the other Foundation novels (see below) reside at http://www.zompist.com/asimov.htm.


If you're loving the Foundation novels, you'll love the robot novels as well. In fact, the robot and Foundation books (and Empire books) all fit together in a coherent future history of the galaxy. Here they are in future historical order:

The above books are not listed in the order they were written. In fact the writing spans about 50 years: some of the robot stories go back to 1940, Foundation was begun in 1941, and Forward the Foundation was published posthumously in 1993. The three original Foundation "novels" (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation) are actually collections of short stories and novellas first published in Astounding Science Fiction then later tied together a bit to form novels. And so the earlier works are a lot more PulpFiction-ish than the later ones. It's also comical to watch "relays" come and go and see depictions of other technologies vary when you read the books in the order listed above.

-- ElizabethWiethoff

If you're loving the Foundation novels, you'll love the robot novels as well. In fact, the robot and Foundation books (and Empire books) all fit together in a coherent future history of the galaxy.

Er, maybe. You'll probably love the original robot novels, but perhaps not the later "combined" ones. I think the later novels are mostly dross. There seems to be a commandment that all major authors towards the end of their career have to merge their various book's plot lines into some force-fit turgid and over long set of novels (cf. Heinlein). The "Robots" and "Foundation" series were not really intended to fit, IMO, except perhaps in the most tenous way. The "dumbing down" infection is just one of the silly ways they're made to fit. Asimov should have left the classic series alone.

Sure. Some are drossier than others. I can do without some themes in Foundation and Earth but but I enjoy the search for Earth nevertheless. And all told I get tired of Daneel. But Robots and Empire is interesting and downright touching. If I remember correctly, the Foundation books didn't sell well until the 1970s. Asimov's publisher Doubleday was clamoring for more Foundation books in the 1980s, so he started cranking them out again. Blame Doubleday, perhaps. (And blame Putnam? for RobertHeinlein, perhaps.) The publishing houses want to spew out bestsellers; Asimov's Foundation and robots are page turners and they sell. -- Eliz


The novel PsychohistoricalCrisis? by DonaldKingbury? is intended as a direct response to the Foundation series and Asimov's imaging of psychohistory.


CategoryScienceFiction

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