Top positive review
A portrait of a psychohistorian as a young man
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2020
Isaac Asimov's Prelude to Foundation, although his 6th Foundation box, is actually the first of the series. We see Hari Sheldon as a young mathematician just beginning to formulate and establish the field of pyschohistory. The story takes place on Trantor and begins just after Hari has presented at an mathematics conference on the topic. Everyone, including the emperor want a piece of Hari, although while he feels his concept is possible, he is very skeptical that it is implementable. He travels around Trantor trying to elude groups that him, all the while trying to divine a path to reducing the subject to something practical. In the end he sees his own future, but only after much deception and adventure.
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.