A pscho historian, Hari Seldon, figures out using Psycho-history that the empire will fall in 3 centuries. He has a station set up in Terminous, called the Foundation, where his people will make an all powerful encyclopedia. 50 years later, long after Seldon is dead, they open up his vault and figure out that it wasn't their main purpose to make the book.
Throughout the story, a character named Hardin is pushed back and forth between the four kingdoms because they know Terminus has nuclear power. Something they want. He sticks to his motto and does nothing.
This report prepared by Elf
Foundation is aptly named. While not the first book to explore the idea of Galactic Empire (E.E. Smith wrote the first great novels of action across the galaxy) it is certainly the most widely read. This seminal work set the groundwork, the foundation if you will, for how to explore the themes of politics, power plays, and a sweep of history in a science fiction setting. Many works of science fiction are indebted to this, the seminal work. Dune, Niven's Known Space, The Left Hand of Darkness, Star Wars, etc., all are the outgrowth of this book.
The plot of the book is simple enough. The Galaxy is ruled by an all-encompassing Empire tottering on the brink of collapse. Only one man is able to see the chaos that is coming: Hari Seldon. Fortunately, he has a plan. Using a scientific discipline he calls ‘psychohistory,' he comes up with a way to save the galaxy from thousands of years of anarchy. He creates a society that will be the foundation of a new empire (get it?).
This book is actually a collection of the short stories published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1942. Sequentially they tell a riveting story of a band of human beings and their leaders, attempting to make their way in an increasingly warlike and barbaric galaxy. A true page-turner from beginning to end, this is what good science fiction is about. I can't help but envy anyone reading it for the first time.
This report prepared by Eduard Gaskin
Hari Seldon, the greatest scholar of the Galactic Empire, creates the science of "PsychoHistory" to predict the future by mathematically modelling the behavior of the galactic society. He forsees the fall of the Galactic empire into "barbarity" for tens of thousands of years. To prevent this, he sets up a "Foundation" at the fringe of the galaxy. Their mission - though the settlers don't realize it at the time - is to be the foundation for a new and more stable Galactic society and government.
This report prepared by Allen Vander Meulen
Asimov's "Foundation" books (at least the six main ones) are the epitome of science fiction. His deft manipulation of Hari Selden's mathematical historical projections (he calls it "psychohistory") is breathtaking and eminently believable. As an added bonus, it is an exciting, gripping story through three volumes of time-shifting short stories and three short novels.
This report prepared by Kelly Whiting