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Prelude to Foundation (Foundation, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1989
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From the Back Cover
Hari Seldon has come to Trantor to deliver his paper on psychohistory, his remarkable theory of prediction. Little does the young Outworld mathematician know that he has already sealed his fate and the fate of humanity. For Hari possesses the prophetic power that makes him the most wanted man in the Empire... the man who holds the key to the future - an apocalyptic power to be know forever after as the Foundation.
About the Author
- Publisher : Spectra (March 1, 1989)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553278398
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553278392
- Lexile measure : 860L
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.1 x 1.04 x 6.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #19,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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But there are some compelling ideas here for both Foundation newcomers and longtime fans of the original books, often presented in fun ways. In particular, the novel examines the idea of personal cluelessness about one’s genius, and how it sometimes takes others to fill a person in about one's own potential. Here, Hari is presented as someone who thinks he’s just a modest mathematician, with maybe a few creative ideas worthy of writing an esoteric paper on, but nothing more. But once Hari delivers his paper at a conference, the most powerful six or seven forces in the universal hierarchy immediately wrestle and compete with each other to grab up Hari and his ideas first, recognizing their potential to shape the future. And even then Hari is slow to say, “Hmmmm, maybe I’ve got something here.”
“Prelude to Foundation” is pretty much a chase novel set in a fascinating, far flung future, with a nice level of attention given over to the ways people live and interact, and other humanitarian concerns. Dr.Asimov also uses “Prelude to Foundation” to tie some of his other famous books into the continuity of the Foundation books, specifically novels in his “Empire” and “Robot” series. At this point, that move neither overly complicates nor greatly improves the Foundation series, though it does add a bit of interesting texture, so it’ll be fascinating to see where things go in the other Foundation prequel/sequels.
If you’re interested, here are the seven books in the Foundation series, presented in chronological order of the events they depict: “Prelude to Foundation” (the first prequel to the original trilogy), “Forward the Foundation” (second prequel to the original trilogy); “Foundation” (book one of the original trilogy); “Foundation and Empire” (book two of the original trilogy); “Second Foundation” (book three of the original trilogy); “Foundation’s Edge” (first sequel to the original trilogy); and “Foundation and Earth” (second and final sequel to the original trilogy).
Finally, you should know that HBO is now developing the Foundation books as an ongoing television series, hence my renewed interest in the original trilogy (which I once read way back when) and the prequels/sequels (which are new to me). Personally, I think it’ll be fun to shoot through all seven books prior to the premiere of the show.
After disappointing Emperor Cleon I he kicks Hari out but orders that his men spy on Hari as he might try telling the other leaders his theory. While sitting in a park thinking of what to do next Hari meets a journalist Chetter Hummin which saves him from two thugs trying to steal Hari's paper with his Pyschohistory. With Hummin's help he gets Hari away from the Emperor by taking him to Streeling University where he'll be safe and can start working on his Pyschohistory.
Hari meets a history teacher Dors Venabili who helps him and has a crush on her. However Hari is unable to get his theory to work and states he needs to study the oldest human records so Hummin's help again he sends both Hari and Dors to Aurora an dry desert planet with a mixture of Indian and Middle East culture to it. While not religious however the people on Aurora are strict with rules such as women aren't allowed to talk to men unless they are told to and must cover up their heads since having hair is seen bad.
This is where I got bored and couldn't stand this part in the novel and start drawing questions. It seems Hummin has contacts where ever he goes and gets help from anybody yet not once in Prelude to Foundation does it show anything that Hummin claims has done. I also found Hari Seldon to be a jerk at times and was even questioning his so called "Pyschohistory" feeling he was trying scam people with it. But by far the worst part in this novel was going to the planet of Aurora where people are called Raindrop 45 or Grey Cloud III, they have stupid rules of covering up hair seeing it as a bad thing so everyone is bald and women are treated like slaves and yet the people of Aurora are in charge of running micro farms which grow all the food for every planet.
This scene just didn't feel like it belonged in the story it would made more sense if every planet had it's own micro farm or factory rather then having this one planet doing it. While this novel is detailed I'm disappointed with this series. I had such high expectations for Foundation series thinking it was going to be more about these emperors fighting each other on different planers. Not boring characters trying to make some theory work. And when I tried to read the first novel in the Foundation series I lost interest in it. I'll continue this review of Foundation series on 1st novel.
Asimov lays out much of the mystery of the empire with Earth origins lost and mythologized. Trantor is presented as a sprawling megaopolis with endless subgroups of odd and arcane cults with their own peccadilloes. While Hari is portrayed in later volumes as an elder statesman, here he is a young, vibrant, but naive off-worlder who nevertheless can handle himself in a fight and does so often.
Note: the Kindle version is poorly rendered with numerous typos, missing lines and repeated text. While it is an annoyance, this conversion needs a good proof-reading before release.