Isaac Asimov
Foundation Cover

Laying the Foundations


In many ways, this is what I feared I was going to get from Isaac Asimov.

Until last year, I had barely read any Asimov - only I, Robot, as far as I can remember - and the opinion I had formed over the years was that his work was likely to be a bit stuffy and dull. Then, last year, as part of an attempt to read all the Hugo Best Novels, I read The Gods Themselves, and was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it. Sadly, Foundation doesn't really manage to live up to that.

I needed to read it as a stepping-stone to other Hugo winners (the Retro Hugo for The Mule - in Foundation and Empire - and the regular Hugo for Foundation's Edge), and I'm hoping the later books pick up. The writing is variable, it's very talky and some of the plot leaps are pretty shaky.When it comes down to it, the central conceit - psychohistory - just seems too silly, to me.

It wasn't a difficult read, and I did feel it was getting stronger as it went along, which gives me some hope for the sequels. This might be an important early work in SF, but it does feel quite dated.