Black Hole Reads: Foundation

Standard

Foundation is the first volume of Isaac Asimov’s well-known series. In the book, psychohistory is a discipline whose goal is to predict future events through a mathematical model applied to large groups of people. Such an approach adds up to the originality of the novel, because its focus is not on the quest of a hero but on general dynamics of history: masses are at its center, not individuals.

To some extent, the activity of the psychohistorian is similar to that of the science fiction writer trying to imagine a future.

The Galactic Empire history seems to mirror the evolution of society in the middle age, with the clash between religious and secular power and later the rising of the merchants and the middle class.

The initial idea is good, but I’m not impressed. Characters are not well described, nor there is enough psychological insight. Hari Seldon and the others are merely names with a public role attached. There’s too much politics and no room for the individual background of the charachters. Decades pass by too fast and the reader has no time to get used to them. There can’t be much involment on the reader’s part when there is no one in the story he can identify with.
This is supposed to be a classic of science fiction, but it didn’t click with me. I had high expectations which were disappointed. But I’m not giving up on this author. I’ll try and read something else by Asimov before I decide whether it’s worth to continue the Foundation cycle or not.

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