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Book Review

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Forward the Foundation


Author: Isaac Asimov
Publisher: Harper Voyager
345 pages
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 0 00 851620 8
Publication Date: 17 August 2023

Harper Voyager books republishes Forward the Foundation – the final novel of the epic science fiction Foundation Series, completed shortly before the author’s death. Isaac Asimov was born in Russia in 1920 and brought to the USA by his parents three years later, where he grew up in Brooklyn and attended Columbia University. He quickly became the most prolific SF writer of his time. By the time of his death in 1992, aged 72, he had written hundreds of novels and short stories, including the iconic I, Robot – the first book to state The Three Laws of Robotics, and had been presented with the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula once. As well as science fiction, he also wrote detective mystery stories, a four volume History of North America, encyclopaedias, a biographical dictionary, textbooks, and a two-volume autobiography. In Forward the Foundation, Hari Seldon is perfecting his theory of psychohistory to secure humanity’s place among the stars. However, the Galactic Empire is on the point of collapse and the players compete in a struggle to control Seldon – and therefore psychohistory. Seldon fights to keep it from their grasp before they can utilise it as a weapon or a form of control.

Although I was more into Asimov’s Robot stories and consider I, Robot, The Naked Sun, and The Caves of Steel to be essential reading, no one can deny the impact of the Foundation saga – not just for science fiction aficionados but for lovers of ‘people’ stories. Forward the Foundation and the other books in this story arc have lost nothing over the years in their ability to suck the reader directly into the environment and overall plot through the characters, which instantly come alive. Asimov was a very knowledgeable man and a timeless storyteller; a bright spark which burned brightly throughout his life and left us too early. The Foundation series has been attempted both on radio and TV but, much to my frustration – as with many other adaptations of excellent novels – they never live-up to the magic of the original writings. If you love SF, perhaps you will already be aware of these, but for general lovers of culture, destiny, and invention (not to mention strong characterisation) you could do much worse than to try these out.


Ty Power

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