Title: Forward the Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Page Count/Review Word Count: 480
When I read the first Foundation book, it left me feeling kind of underwhelmed and as though perhaps the series had been overhyped. I’m now on my fourth or fifth read in the series and despite occasional highlights here and there where it picked up, I’m starting to think that my original reaction might have been justified.
There’s also the fact that I find Asimov to be at his best when he’s writing short stories, because that means that he has room to play with more concepts and ideas. In his novels, he has a King-esque knack for them being a hundred pages too long, and that’s true here even if you get past the fact that I wasn’t particularly interested in the story line to begin with.
What I will say is that I find Hari Seldon to be a compelling character, and so I guess it was enjoyable enough to follow his story for a while. He has an adult son by the time that the action here takes place too, and so we can see whether his personality flows down the generations or not.
So there are pros and cons to picking this one up for sure, and I don’t really know why you’d bother unless you’re a big Asimov fan. I’d also suggest reading the original Foundation books first, otherwise you’re not really going to understand what’s happening. That’s the strange thing about the Foundation series, because you can either read it in chronological order or you can read it in publication order. Just don’t do what I did, which is to mix and match the two.
Other than that, I mean I guess that the Foundation books are considered sci-fi classics for a reason, and there’s definitely a lot of good worldbuilding here and some fascinating stuff when Asimov tackles psychohistory. I find it kind of funny because when people talk about H. P. Lovecraft and cosmic horror, they’re talking about evils that are almost unimaginably old. Asimov does kind of the same thing, except that he looks to the future instead of the past and his evils are distinctly societal and man-made.
It’s just that for me, a lot of the Foundation series (and this book in particular) has felt as though I’m reading it for the sake of reading it, because I want to be one of the cool kids who’s finished the series. It’s not like something like Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, which I just devoured because I constantly wanted to see what was going to happen next. I couldn’t care less with the foundation, and while I’m committed to the ride, it feels more like travelling for work than travelling for fun. Make of that what you will.