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Předehra k Nadaci

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Odvážné líčení budoucnosti lidstva uvozující jedno z největších mistrovských děl vědeckofantastické literatury, jímž je cyklus románů o Nadaci z pera Isaaka Asimova. Jde o dílo dosud nepřekonané co do jedinečného skloubení nepřetržité akce, smělých myšlenek i propracovanosti, které mapuje boj statečné skupiny lidí o záchranu civilizace před nezadržitelným přílivem temnoty Odvážné líčení budoucnosti lidstva uvozující jedno z největších mistrovských děl vědeckofantastické literatury, jímž je cyklus románů o Nadaci z pera Isaaka Asimova. Jde o dílo dosud nepřekonané co do jedinečného skloubení nepřetržité akce, smělých myšlenek i propracovanosti, které mapuje boj statečné skupiny lidí o záchranu civilizace před nezadržitelným přílivem temnoty a násilí – a to vše začíná příběhem jednoho mimořádného muže. Píše se rok 12 020 E. G. a císař Kleon I. neklidně poposedává na říšském trůnu v Trantoru. Zde ve slovutném, mnoha kupolemi zaklenutém hlavním městě galaktické Říše vytvořilo čtyřicet miliard lidí civilizaci oplývající nepředstavitelnou technickou i kulturní složitostí. Kleon však ví, že někteří lidé usilují o jeho pád – ti, které by dal zničit, kdyby uměl předvídat budoucnost. Hari Seldon přijel na Trantor zveřejnit pojednání o psychohistorii, své pozoruhodné predikční teorii. Mladý mimosvětský matematik však ještě netuší, že už zpečetil osud svůj i celého lidstva. Hari je totiž obdařen prorockými schopnostmi, které z něj činí nejhledanějšího muže Říše… muže disponujícího klíčem k budoucnosti – apokalyptickou mocností, která bude už navždy známa pod názvem Nadace.


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Odvážné líčení budoucnosti lidstva uvozující jedno z největších mistrovských děl vědeckofantastické literatury, jímž je cyklus románů o Nadaci z pera Isaaka Asimova. Jde o dílo dosud nepřekonané co do jedinečného skloubení nepřetržité akce, smělých myšlenek i propracovanosti, které mapuje boj statečné skupiny lidí o záchranu civilizace před nezadržitelným přílivem temnoty Odvážné líčení budoucnosti lidstva uvozující jedno z největších mistrovských děl vědeckofantastické literatury, jímž je cyklus románů o Nadaci z pera Isaaka Asimova. Jde o dílo dosud nepřekonané co do jedinečného skloubení nepřetržité akce, smělých myšlenek i propracovanosti, které mapuje boj statečné skupiny lidí o záchranu civilizace před nezadržitelným přílivem temnoty a násilí – a to vše začíná příběhem jednoho mimořádného muže. Píše se rok 12 020 E. G. a císař Kleon I. neklidně poposedává na říšském trůnu v Trantoru. Zde ve slovutném, mnoha kupolemi zaklenutém hlavním městě galaktické Říše vytvořilo čtyřicet miliard lidí civilizaci oplývající nepředstavitelnou technickou i kulturní složitostí. Kleon však ví, že někteří lidé usilují o jeho pád – ti, které by dal zničit, kdyby uměl předvídat budoucnost. Hari Seldon přijel na Trantor zveřejnit pojednání o psychohistorii, své pozoruhodné predikční teorii. Mladý mimosvětský matematik však ještě netuší, že už zpečetil osud svůj i celého lidstva. Hari je totiž obdařen prorockými schopnostmi, které z něj činí nejhledanějšího muže Říše… muže disponujícího klíčem k budoucnosti – apokalyptickou mocností, která bude už navždy známa pod názvem Nadace.

30 review for Předehra k Nadaci

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    In the realm of science fiction, Isaac Asimov’s stories have always been my woobie.   This rings especially true for his Robot and Foundation series. For me, they’re a literary panic room where I can escape the stress storms and never-ending deadlines of the day-to-day ruckus into a much simpler time where the ambient happy is always turned way up.   Yes…yes…before you say it, I'll acknowledge your gripes about Asimov and even concede to som In the realm of science fiction, Isaac Asimov’s stories have always been my woobie.   This rings especially true for his Robot and Foundation series. For me, they’re a literary panic room where I can escape the stress storms and never-ending deadlines of the day-to-day ruckus into a much simpler time where the ambient happy is always turned way up.   Yes…yes…before you say it, I'll acknowledge your gripes about Asimov and even concede to some of them.   Asimov wasn't as skilled a wordsmith as, say, Jack Vance, but, in fairness, how many people were. He wasn’t as brilliantly thought-provoking as Arthur C. Clarke, and rarely, if ever, used his writing to address important social issues as the likes of Heinlein, Silverberg and Ellison did.   Fine…granted…and SO what?   Asimov tales are just rousing good yarns told with an infectious; Star Trek optimism that fills you up with the belief that humanity is destined for bigger, brighter and better things. His stories are warm, cozy, familiar and fun. They’re comfort food; a shot of optimism for the soul, like mom’s chicken soup.   Therefore, as this is my own biased, subjective review, I shall give a hall pass to the grandmaster regarding his tendency towards clunky dialogue, his often unornamented, transparent characters and his occasional deus ex machina plot conveniences. They exist and this acknowledgement is as close to criticism of these stories as I intend to come.   PLOT SUMMARY:   Written in 1988, a quarter century after the original Foundation Trilogy, this long-awaited prelude to the classic series covers a critical period in the evolution of psychohistory. Beginning soon after Hari Seldon’s moment of eureka, when he first envisions the future-chaperoning science as nothing more than a curious philosophical impracticality, to the momentous events that lead to Hari’s realization that psychohistory has the potential to be developed as a practical, effective tool against the Galactic Empire’s pending collapse.   Taking place entirely on Empire’s capital, Trantor, the story covers what is known as “the Flight,” during which Seldon is forced into hiding from Eto Demerzel, the Emperor’s Chief of Staff, who wants Hari’s new science to be employed for the political benefit of Emperor Cleon I. While on the run, Hari travels across the massive  planet, with its population of more than 40Billion, and interacts with various cultures. These interactions slowly work to remove the “can’t do” fog from Hari’s perception of psychohistory.   Oh….and there’s also a chubby-raising tie-in to Asimov’s robot novels that does a great deal to smooth out some of the earlier inconsistencies between the two series and lays the foundation (no pun) for a merging of the two series that had begun in Robots and Empire.   THOUGHTS: Uh…It’s good It’s fun… It’s comforting… Flaws aside, the Foundation Trilogy was the first science fiction story I ever read and it began my love affair with the genre that continues to this day. Thus, these stories will always hold a special place for me and I don't believe I'll ever discontinue to view them fondly. And with good reason, I think. Asimov was a master at the big idea. He was an artist who painted stories on a ginormous canvas, depicting mega events and larger than life characters. The mind-bogglingly large, galaxy spanning empire he created for the Foundation series was the prototype for all of the vast galactic civilizations that came after. He thought big, he wrote big, he entertained big.  Yeah, I’ll take that.   Now...I did have one fanboy gripe about this installment and it stems from my frustrated desire to learn, finally, from Asimov the nuts and bolts of psych-historical analysis. Logically, I grant that any such explanation had no chance of meeting my expectations and that Asimov, being as astute as he was, correctly decided not to provide revelations about the inner workings of the science. By maintaining the mystery, he avoided any taint upon the majesty of the idea. Still, I was a tad bummed by the lack in this area. Oh well, I enjoyed myself and I loved that the story filled in gaps in both the Foundation series and the Robot novels. Worth a read, it will make you smile. 4.0 stars. Highly Recommended.  Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1, Publication Order #6), Isaac Asimov Prelude to Foundation is a novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, published in 1988. It is one of two prequels to the Foundation series. For the first time, Asimov chronicles the fictional life of Hari Seldon, the man who invented psychohistory and the intellectual hero of the series. It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capit Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1, Publication Order #6), Isaac Asimov Prelude to Foundation is a novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, published in 1988. It is one of two prequels to the Foundation series. For the first time, Asimov chronicles the fictional life of Hari Seldon, the man who invented psychohistory and the intellectual hero of the series. It is the year 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capital of the Galactic Empire, forty billion people have created a civilization of unimaginable technological and cultural complexity. Yet Cleon knows there are those who would see him fall—those whom he would destroy if only he could read the future. 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 known forever after as the Foundation. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1994 میلادی عنوان: سرآغاز بنیاد کهکشانی؛ نویسنده: آیزاک آسیموف؛ مترجم: پیمان اسماعیلیان خامنه؛ تهران، بنیاد مستضعفان و جانبازان، 1372، در 572 ص، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20 م این کتاب، ششمین کتابِ از سری بنیاد؛ از نظرِ زمانِ چاپ، و از نظرِ خطِ زمانی، نخستین کتاب، و سرآغازِ داستان به شمار می‌آید. پایتخت نخستین امپراطوری رو به زوال، «ترانتور» است. دنیایی که سطح آن پوشیده از فلز بوده، و توسط انسان‌ها به تمامی اشغال شده‌ است. دانشمند ریاضی‌دانی به نام «هری سلدون»، دانشی را توسعه می‌دهد، که بر اساس آن، می‌توان رفتار گروههای یزرگ اجتماعات بشری را، به صورت آماری پیش‌بینی کرد. روباتی به نام: «آر. دانیل اولیوا»، در این زمان در قالب صدراعظم امپراطوری کهکشانی، برای محافظت از نسل بشر تلاش می‌کند. وی بر این باور است، که امپراطوری در شرف انقراض است، و اگر این اتفاق رخ دهد، تباهی در انتظار بشر خواهد بود، و بنابر همین باور خویش با گماشتن یک روبات مؤنث دیگر، به همراهی و محافظت از «سلدون»، «هری» را ترغیب می‌کند، تا دانش نوین خود را گسترش داده، و با استفاده از آن راهی بیابد، که این زمان تباهی و نابودی، به حداقل زمان ممکن (هزار سال) کاهش یابد. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    “What I have done is to prove that it is possible to choose starting conditions from which historical forecasting does not descend into chaotic conditions, but can become predictable within limits. However, what those starting conditions might be I do not know, nor am I sure that those conditions can be found by any one person—or by any number of people—in a finite length of time..” That is pretty much the gist of what Hari Seldon, Asimov’s most iconic character, tries to accomplish in Prelude to Foundation, the sixth “What I have done is to prove that it is possible to choose starting conditions from which historical forecasting does not descend into chaotic conditions, but can become predictable within limits. However, what those starting conditions might be I do not know, nor am I sure that those conditions can be found by any one person—or by any number of people—in a finite length of time..” That is pretty much the gist of what Hari Seldon, Asimov’s most iconic character, tries to accomplish in Prelude to Foundation, the sixth Foundation book to be published but the very first in chronological order. If you are considering reading this classic sci-fi series I personally recommend reading them in publication order rather than chronological order. Originally Asimov had no plan to write more than three Foundation books so clearly, the original trilogy have to stand on its own and there is no reason to read the prequels to follow them. Come to think of it I always recommend reading all series books in publication order, if you need to read the prequels in order to understand the original books then those original books leave something to be desired. More on this topic in the “notes” section after the review. Hari Seldon is the genius mathematicians who developed psychohistory which he uses to guide the destiny of the entire human race scattered across the galaxy. In the original trilogy Seldon is a very wise old man, here for the first time we meet the legendary man in his thirties. He has just conceived of psychohistory as a mathematical concept but has no idea how to make it practical. At the beginning of Prelude to Foundation he is presenting his paper on psychohistory at a convention of mathematicians held in Trantor, the capital of the Galactic Empire. The sensational idea of - theoretically - being able to predict history using mathematics brings him to the attention of Cleon I, the Galactic Emperor and his formidable henchman Eto Demerzel. After summoning Seldon to quiz him about the practicality of psychohistory the Emperor lets him go but keeps him under surveillance in case he manages to make something useful out of his theory. Soon after his interview with Cleon, he meets a reporter called Chetter Hummin who convinces him to go on the run as the Emperor are about to pursue him and use him for political gains once he has time to consider the potential of Seldon’s theory. Seldon goes to Streeling University for sanctuary where he meets Dors Venabili who understand the importance of Seldon’s work and decide to protect him from his pursuers. When they do come calling Seldon and Dors go on the run, with the advice of Hummin they seek sanctuary in various administrative sectors* of Trantor. Each sector they stay in has very distinctive, peculiar culture and social mores. The authorities eventually catches up with him with surprising result. Trantor, one world, one city Basically, the plot of Prelude to Foundation is Seldon and Dors on the run moving from one sector of the planet to another, experiencing each sector’s weird culture, discovering clues, and getting into trouble; picking up an Artful Dodger-like street urchin called Raych along the way. Eventually, they come face to face with Demerzel and the denouement is quite unpredictable and amusing. For the first half of the book Prelude to Foundation moves at a leisurely pace and, like Asimov’s other 80s novels features lengthy stretches of dialogue. The substance of the conversations is generally interesting enough not to grind the narrative to a halt, but the original trilogy is much more tightly written. On the other hand, in the 80s Asimov was more interested in developing characters. These characters are not particularly deep or subtly nuanced but they are quite likable and accomplish more than just driving the plot forward. Asimov was not great prose stylist but there is plenty of charm in his narrative, he seems to be having fun writing the book, gleefully including terrible puns, mischievous bits of dialogue and pulling the rug from under the reader’s feet. It seems that the main idea of Prelude to Foundation is to take a closer look at psychohistory. One criticism of the original trilogy that I have seen is the basic tenet of psychohistory, which has been criticized as not only impossible but unbelievable. I suspect Asimov was aware of this criticism and uses it as a major theme for this novel. If you are critical of the use of psychohistory in the original trilogy I don’t know if Prelude to Foundation will change your mind, personally, I never minded Asimov’s concept to begin with. Still, this book gives psychohistory more of a background and I dig it. Prelude to Foundation is mostly an entertaining and pleasant read, it does become a little loquacious and dry from time to time; not intolerably so, but less of that stuff would have been nice. However, fans of the series should not miss it. Forward the Foundation next! Notes: * Trantor is both a planet and a city, it is an “ecumenopolis”, a single continuous worldwide city). It is, however, divided into hundreds of sectors with around 50 million people in each. • Asimov did not invent Psychohistory but he did popularize it. • As I mentioned earlier, if you have never read the Foundation series before, I recommend starting with the original trilogy from the 50s. Having said that, Asimov himself recommends the chronological order which would mean starting with this book, Prelude to Foundation. However, this website shows “Prelude” as a supplementary volume. Basically, it is entirely up to you. Not reading the series at all is not an option 😉 • Asimov has a funny conception of e-book readers, some kind of cumbersome book viewer with a projector, not even portable. • There is a surprisingly violent scene with infliction of bodily harm and blood letting. I don't remember any Foundation or indeed any Asimov books with this kind of action. So much for “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” from the original Foundation book. It is quite fun, though. Quotes: Psychohistory: “The possibility of organizing the natural laws of society in such a way as to make it possible to anticipate the future with a substantial degree of probability.” “No sane man wants to uphold an Imperial system that maintains itself by fostering mutual hatred and suspicions. Even when it seems to work, it can only be described as metastable; that is, as too apt to fall into instability in one direction or another.” “Why do we need millions of worlds, distant worlds that mean nothing to us, that weaken us, that draw our forces far away from us into meaningless cubic parsecs of space, that drown us in administrative chaos, that ruin us with their endless quarrels and problems when they are all distant nothings as far as we are concerned?” Somebody wants to Trantorexit!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Unless you're just a die-hard Foundation fan and have to read them all, "Prelude to Foundation" can safely be skipped. In particular, I'm not sure that I would recommend reading it prior to the other Foundation novels despite the fact that it's a prequel. It's not spoiling anything to briefly explain why this is. In "Foundation," which is really more a shorts collection than a novel despite the fact that the stories do flow very well together, Hari Seldon is already an old man. The wh Unless you're just a die-hard Foundation fan and have to read them all, "Prelude to Foundation" can safely be skipped. In particular, I'm not sure that I would recommend reading it prior to the other Foundation novels despite the fact that it's a prequel. It's not spoiling anything to briefly explain why this is. In "Foundation," which is really more a shorts collection than a novel despite the fact that the stories do flow very well together, Hari Seldon is already an old man. The whole premise is based upon his having mathematically predicted the future using a technique of his own devising called psychohistory. He is, from page one, a legend. Prelude to Foundation attempts to chronicle Hari's invention of psychohistory as a young man. The story flows much like the plot of a B action movie, right down to Hari having some small martial arts skills. The young, hasty, Hari is a far less compelling hero than the iconic genius who has mathematically determined how to shorten ten thousand years of barbarism to just one thousand. Of course, Asimov is a good enough storyteller that it all hangs together decently. But there's a lot of books out there to be had, and plenty of other choices even just in the Asimov shelf that are better.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    My first Asimov book, it was both wonderful and disappointing. I loved the hugeness of the imagination at work here. The bizarre and diverse societies of Trantor with their rituals, structures, foods, ways of living, and just the physical structure of the world itself, with multiple layers and a surface covered with sand and the occasional forest, made for fun reading. As for the disappointments, although it is probably a cliché at this point, I could not stand the squareness of the dialogue, th My first Asimov book, it was both wonderful and disappointing. I loved the hugeness of the imagination at work here. The bizarre and diverse societies of Trantor with their rituals, structures, foods, ways of living, and just the physical structure of the world itself, with multiple layers and a surface covered with sand and the occasional forest, made for fun reading. As for the disappointments, although it is probably a cliché at this point, I could not stand the squareness of the dialogue, the clumsy yet regular attempts at sexual innuendo, and the thinness of some (all?) of the characters. Also, and probably more frustrating for me, was how the protagonist, a supposedly brilliant mathematician (we are never privy as to why’s or how’s of his brilliance) develops psychohistory, the (in my opinion) unfortunately-named new science that is supposed to save the Galactic empire. If something so complicated and so important is to be developed by someone so brilliant, I wanted to see the work – the sweat, the long hours poured into research and calculations over burning candle at midnight in the Mycogen sector, and I wanted to see the pieces of this powerful science falling into place with some greater tightly-wrought logic.

  6. 5 out of 5

    C.

    This really wasn't that bad - in fact I enjoyed it quite a lot - but it was very disappointing. It is an entirely different kind of book to Foundation, which was about concepts. Not amazingly written, certainly, but neither was this, and without the great concepts, there's not a huge amount left. I think it would be a bit harsh to say that this book was written to cash in on the phenomenon that was Foundation, though I suspect that is part of it. What probably happened is that Asimov realised that he could This really wasn't that bad - in fact I enjoyed it quite a lot - but it was very disappointing. It is an entirely different kind of book to Foundation, which was about concepts. Not amazingly written, certainly, but neither was this, and without the great concepts, there's not a huge amount left. I think it would be a bit harsh to say that this book was written to cash in on the phenomenon that was Foundation, though I suspect that is part of it. What probably happened is that Asimov realised that he could link up all the books he'd previously written (for the Foundation series and for his robot stuff) into one big series, spanning thousands of years and the entire galaxy, but still essentially linked. Which means he had to write a few books to go in between the early robot stories and the later Foundation series. Prequals to the latter or sequels to the former? It doesn't really matter, because all this book is (and I expect the other prequal/sequel too) is a gap-filler. So this book draws out connections and follows its plot in an entirely arbitrary yet painfully predictable way. Unlike Foundation - which was delightful because it hardly paused for a second on any particular group of characters, instead focusing on broad sweeping principles of politics and economics - Prelude to Foundation follws, tortuously, the path of Hari Seldon in his quest to develop the science of psychohistory. This involves close character study, something which Asimov is very bad at. Also, while he's pretty good at the political/economic stuff, he's appallingly bad at the anthropological side of things. The definite low point of the book was the sojourn in the Mycogen sector of Trantor, during which I spent most of the time feeling both appalled and insulted. The real thing that made Foundation great was that it left so much unsaid - it treated the reader intelligently, allowing them to make their own connections, instead of explaining every minute detail of a plot development whose existence any observant person would have guessed fifty or so pages earlier.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    Well, wasn't this a dreadful little book? It's been decades since I read any Asimov, but I remember him with fondness for the the original Foundation trilogy I read in the late-70s, along with several of his other novels. I do, however, have no recollection of his narrative style whatsoever. After finishing this travesty, that actually scares the shit out of me for considering the other nine books in this series. Prelude to Foundation reads like it was written by a somewhat over-in/>Prelude Well, wasn't this a dreadful little book? It's been decades since I read any Asimov, but I remember him with fondness for the the original Foundation trilogy I read in the late-70s, along with several of his other novels. I do, however, have no recollection of his narrative style whatsoever. After finishing this travesty, that actually scares the shit out of me for considering the other nine books in this series. Prelude to Foundation reads like it was written by a somewhat over-intelligent twelve-year-old who then handed it off to a university professor with absolutely no sense of humour to do final edits. I've decided, at least for this book, that Asimov is the exact antithesis of both Stephen R. Donaldson and Elmore Leonard, for different things. Where Donaldson loves to write pages and pages and pages of dialogue where characters are consistently frustrated because they need answers to questions--and Donaldson actually has them mull the precise questions over in their minds but never verbalize them--then become angry when they can't find the answers they seek, despite talking around the real question but somehow never getting to it. Asimov, on the other hand, just has the most bare bones, unnuanced conversations you'll ever read. There's no subtext, there's no ulterior motives, there's only straight, unvarnished, completely honest talk. If a character needs to ask something, he asks it, and the answer comes. If a character needs to argue, he busts out logic and the other side accepts that logical argument and moves on. It's awful. Then there's Elmore Leonard, a man who built a career out of having characters speak and their speech sang with humanity. They sounded real, they sounded wonderful, they often spoke in circles, or buried their answers in sarcasm or venom. They rarely gave straight answers, always with some other angle they were playing, but by god, you could hear that talking in your head like the characters were in the room with you. Asimov, on the other hand, writes the driest, most uninspired, overly-logical, overly-factual dialogue you'll find this side of a first time author's unedited self-published book. It's awful. There's no nuance. There's no blind alleys. There's no personality. There's no exploration of humanity or interpersonal relationships. There's only facts. If Hari Seldon is in a bind and needs to find a way out of it, the very next person he'll meet is the precise one he needs to meet at that time. Then there's the stunning differences in the various areas of the planet he explores. "We think hair is disgusting!" or "If I shave my mustache, I am eliminating my manhood!" Yes, they may have some parallels in the real world, but when speculating on humankind 20,000 years in the future, this is the best you could do? And then, there's the theoretical point of the novel, where Hari Seldon gains the breakthrough that allows him to turn his theoretical psycho-historical projections into a practical application. It happens off-stage and is delivered in the most uninspiring, anti-climactic scene I may have ever read. Look, Asimov was a brilliant man. But, for a guy with over 500 books under his belt, I expected a hell of a lot more talent with basic characters and dialogue here. This was absolutely, without a doubt, terrible, and it's this type of book that's held up as an example of why non-SF readers don't read the genre. There's nothing to be found here. Move on.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Finally! After all these years! I have finished the first book of Foundation. What exactly took me so long, I will never know... I really enjoyed this work, it's high-quality SF, with all the societal elements inserted in it, all the questions about humanity posed and all of the wonders of the possible future bestowed on the reader. Brilliant for someone who loves the genre - and I most certainly am in love with science fiction, it sparks the imagination in a completely different way than any ot Finally! After all these years! I have finished the first book of Foundation. What exactly took me so long, I will never know... I really enjoyed this work, it's high-quality SF, with all the societal elements inserted in it, all the questions about humanity posed and all of the wonders of the possible future bestowed on the reader. Brilliant for someone who loves the genre - and I most certainly am in love with science fiction, it sparks the imagination in a completely different way than any other literary endeavour. I can't wait to read the next books. P. S. : Hari Seldon still pisses me off. Great book character, annoying little shit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bastian

    "Why, he wondered, did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions—not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers?" (Note: As with other reviews in this series, spoilers to follow.) After five novels spanning as many centuries, one might have supposed Asimov's stepwise tinkering with his Foundation universe had come to an end. The adventures of Golan Trevize, Janov Pelorat, and Bliss concluded in Foundation and"Why, "Why, he wondered, did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions—not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers?" (Note: As with other reviews in this series, spoilers to follow.) After five novels spanning as many centuries, one might have supposed Asimov's stepwise tinkering with his Foundation universe had come to an end. The adventures of Golan Trevize, Janov Pelorat, and Bliss concluded in Foundation and Earth (1983), with a finale as intellectually rewarding as it was thematically resonant. Trevize gained the validation he desired for choosing Gaia (or proto-Galaxia) over the Seldon Plan. But just five short years later, again at the behest of avid fans and pushy publishers, Asimov picked up the series once more, this time in the form of a prequel. As its name suggests, Prelude to Foundation (1986) was the first of two prequels setting up the events of the original Foundation novel released in 1951. For most of the series, psychohistory's founder, Hari Seldon, is this enigmatic figure spoken of only in cryptic, quasi-spiritual terms, rather like a demigod. Little is known about the man other than that he was a mathematical genius whose equations helped shepherd humanity through a series of increasingly existential crises. In Prelude Seldon's saintly aura is stripped away as we are introduced to the young, martial arts-trained professor laboring to turn his coveted psychohistory into a practical, applied science. The first act opens on the planet Trantor, the Empire's capital, as Dr. Seldon presents his seminal paper at the Decennial Mathematics Convention. In a decision he soon comes to regret, he lays out a theoretical method by which the future can be determined probabilistically. The key word here is 'theoretical', a detail those with a hankering for control over the world order seem uniformly disposed to overlook. In Seldon's own words: "And I went on to show that this would result in the ability to predict future events in a statistical fashion—that is, by stating the probability for alternate sets of events, rather than flatly predicting that one set will take place." News of his work spreads like a thunderbolt. Emperor Cleon I himself arranges a meeting, in the hope that he can use Seldon's abilities as a means toward self-preservation. Haunted by the specter of assassination, Cleon is dismayed upon learning that psychohistory is not yet ready for primetime. He's not about to risk it falling into the hands of his enemies, however, and orders his right-hand man, First Minister Eto Demerzel, to keep close tabs on Seldon's progress. Demerzel is a shadowy character whose influence penetrates each of the disparate sectors on Trantor. Seldon now has a target on his back. Indeed, it seems he is now the most important person in all of the Galaxy, with the powers that be all wishing to profit from a mature psychohistory. Before Seldon can return to his home world of Helicon, he runs into one Chetter Hummin, an intrepid journalist who warns Seldon of the Emperor's intentions. Like Cleon, Hummin also seeks a functional psychohistory. His aims prove more noble than the former's, as he anticipates it being used to divert the Empire from its path of rotting decay. Seldon, meanwhile, harbors strong doubts that his mathematics actually possess the potential his benefactors so eagerly seek, but Hummin is able to convince him that his research will be for the good of humanity. After dispatching a couple of the Emperor's goons, they flee to a nearby university in Streeling Sector, where Seldon can tend to his work in relative safety. There he meets Dors Venabili, a historian and the second protagonist in this outing. She agrees to watch over Seldon and assist him with his studies. Dors' larger role in the narrative is shrouded in mystery and isn't fully explored until the second prequel. In this outing she serves as an eloquent sounding board for Seldon's frequent riffs and ruminations, while her strong-willed and circumspect presence nicely balance her counterpart's impetuosity and fitful naivete over the course of their journeys. Thankfully for Seldon, she is also quite capable of kicking ass when only violent options present themselves. Seldon's stint at the university is short-lived, as he is unable to escape the feeling that his every move is being watched by the Emperor and his minions. Following a close encounter in which Seldon's reckless actions nearly get him killed, Hummin relocates Seldon and Dors to Mycogen Sector, an underground society on Trantor proper that is believed to possess some of the oldest records in the Galaxy. It is thought that by simulating an earlier period of history where the moving parts were decidedly smaller in both scale and in number, this will greatly simplify Seldon's intractable task of mathematizing human societies. It wouldn't be an Asimov novel without heaping sexism, and Mycogen serves it in spades. As thoroughly patriarchal as it is puritanical, Mycogen is a world in which the subservience of women has been raised to an organizing principle. In public, men speak only to men; women are never to address men, much less outsiders like Hari and Dors, outside the privacy of their own home. Seldon exploits the situation, manipulating one of the women to obtain their sacred book, hoping it may hold the clues he needs to perfect his theory. The book appears to be a dead-end, but it does lead Seldon to believe that the Mycogenians are protecting one big secret: a 20,000 year-old robot holed up in their Sacratorium—a museum-cum-temple of sorts dedicated to remembering their past glory on the home world Aurora. The site is off-limits to off-worlders, so Seldon and Dors don disguises and sneak inside. They do in fact find a robot, albeit defunct. In the process they are "caught" by one of the High Elders, an artificer whose machinations had lured the duo into a trap; rather than Seldon doing the manipulating, it was he who was beguiled into following a course of action pursuant to Mycogenian interests. The Elder had been in communication with the Emperor, and sought to strike a deal in turning Seldon over to Imperial authorities for his sacrilegious breach of custom. Seemingly always in the right place at the right time, Hummin intervenes by playing up psychohistory's potential for furthering Mycogen's interests. The Elder reluctantly agrees to forget the whole ordeal, reneges on his arrangement with the Emperor, and allows the trio to depart Mycogen for good. (Hmm...) Hummin shuttles them off to another of Trantor's sectors known as Dahl. Not only is their purpose for going here unexplained, their stay in Dahl is one of the weaker sections of the book. Were it not for introducing important characters who play a larger role in the sequel, there would be little to recommend its place in the story. Seldon meets a precocious factory worker named Yugo Amaryl whom he promises a job after seeing some scribbled equations Amaryl had been working on in his spare time. Amaryl also mentions a wise woman known as Mother Rittah who holds ancient knowledge about Earth—the original home of humanity and, Seldon hopes, an ideal case study for psychohistory. Seldon and Dors venture into the slummy Billibotton District in search of Rittah, where they are set upon by a swarm of knife-wielding miscreants. Dors makes quick work of them, an experienced knife-fighter herself. Shortly thereafter they befriend a homeless, alley-smart twelve year-old named Raych who leads them to the oracle. She reveals to them that the Mycogenians' lost world Aurora was actually the robot world that destroyed Earth (cue the Robot series!). Dahl authorities catch wind of their antics and send a pair of constables to question them. Threatened with arrest, Seldon and Dors knock out the officers, putting our heroes permanently on the run. Fortunately, Raych leads them to safety, when a mysterious soldier shows up on orders to escort Seldon away from Dahl. Raych, Dors and Seldon all end up in Wye—a sector at Trantor's south pole—whose mayor (Rashelle) has been biding her time as she plots the usurpation of Emperor Cleon's throne. Rashelle's plan would allow her to gain full control of Trantor and its various sectors while relinquishing all Imperial command of the isolate planets. Seldon, she believes, is the ace in the hole required to carry out her grand act of sedition. Seldon wants no part in this scheme, and for good reason: he now knows how to make psychohistory practical. Through his diverse cultural experiences in each of the sectors spread across Trantor, he realizes Trantor itself will serve as the perfect model for developing his inchoate science, which can then be generalized to the rest of the twenty-five million worlds populating the Galaxy. At least, that's the idea. But if Rashelle's coup comes to fruition, the Galaxy would be plunged into anarchy, menaced by a neverending series of territorial disputes and sanguinary transfers of power. If Seldon is to mature his science and stave off the destruction to come, the Empire must remain at peace. As if on cue, Rashelle's plot is foiled as the soldiers under her command no longer assent to her orders. Hummin arrives on the scene and the remaining pieces fall into place. We learn that Hummin is none other than...Cleon's confidant and advisor Eto Demerzel. Moreover, he's not actually a human at all, but the legendary robot named R. Daneel Olivaw, whom Trevize and crew meet in the conclusion to Foundation and Earth. Further still, Hummin / Demerzel / Olivaw possesses mentalic powers (à la the Mule) enabling him to subtly manipulate the emotions of others. This explains Seldon's drive to perfect psychohistory despite his earlier skepticism, the High Elder's leniency on Mycogen, and Rashelle's failed scheme, among other improbable feats of chance. Having lived the last 20,000 years, Demerzel sees the approaching collapse of the Empire as inevitable and psychohistory as the mechanism by which to minimize the fallout. Thus, in accordance with the Zeroth Law—"A robot may not harm humanity, or through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm"—he intervenes just enough to nudge events in Seldon's favor. Prequel Fever Critics have been somewhat harsh on this entry, and not without reason, the most fundamental perhaps being that Seldon's quest for a workable psychohistory just isn't all that compelling. What made the earlier novels so memorable was exploring the limits of psychohistory and seeing whether the next great challenge was acidic enough to dissolve the Seldon Plan. The cerebral acrobatics of navigating the contours of each successive crisis as the Galaxy tests its fate against the provisions of ancient prophecies forms the bread and butter of the Foundation series. Sure, Prelude contains all the twists and bombshell reveals characteristic of Asimovian fiction, but the humble beginnings of Seldon's Big Idea fail to reach the epic heights imparted by the settings that have so endeared generations of readers. Delving too much into origins also comes at a cost. There's a certain mystique surrounding psychohistory—one of the most inventive and successful concepts in all of science fiction—that isn't helped by reductive exposition. By cutting the enormity of psychohistory down to size, some of the series' allure invariably wisps away. More problematic is the lackluster execution of the reveal. There is no single ground-shaking discovery or torrent of insight that sets Seldon on the right path, no "Eureka!" moments that lead him to his statistical laws. He just wakes up one morning and says he's worked it out. (No, literally that's what happens.) We're supposed to believe his traipsing around Trantor set him on the right course to a solution. That's at best unsatisfying, even if it's naive to expect juicy insights into what are ultimately fictional concepts with little chance of being mapped onto reality. But as plot devices go, it's pretty tame. What's more, the places they visit fail to inspire and feel thrown in merely to bridge Asimov's various fictional projects. A lot of space in this book is tied up in external references to the Robot and Empire series—in asides that aren't particularly purposeful in and of themselves. The robot subplot on Mycogen and the preoccupation with the Aurora-Earth connection, for example, make for interesting sync points with the Asimov corpus, but don't do much heavy lifting in progressing the central plot of Prelude. Asimov notes in the introduction that unification was not what he had in mind when these stories were conceived, and devoted greater effort to the task later in his career. It certainly shows, but surely it's not worth the confusion readers unfamiliar with his other stories are sure to experience. As for plot holes, there might be one relating to Olivaw. He has supposedly functioned as Demerzel, counselor to the Imperial throne, for decades, and is frequently referred to as the most influential person in the Galaxy, even more so than Cleon himself. He has connections with sectors all across Trantor. Yet no one knows what he looks like, or that Hummin and Demerzel are the same person? Or, rather, is it that Olivaw lulls them into forgetfulness? With the mind control mechanic, one can never be sure. (I had the same issue with Jessica Jones, alas.) There is also the obligatory caveat about character development. As we've come to accept from this series (and from Asimov in general), the individuals on the page serve largely as mouthpieces for Asimov's ever active, idea-saturated mind. What 'development' we do get is intellectual in nature, as Seldon puzzles out solutions to psychohistory. Where such shortcomings might be given a pass in earlier novels, overshadowed as they were by the larger arc built into the narrative, they're more visible wrapped inside a more confined and chronologically compact story. What is unique about Prelude, however slight a difference it makes in the end, is that Hari Seldon is widely thought to be modeled after Asimov himself. Ruthlessly logical, chronically inquisitive and never satisfied he has the final answer in hand, Seldon is the hardened intellectual Asimov embodied throughout his illustrious career. The recurring problem, however—and Prelude once again fails to break the mold—is the supporting cast, who is every bit as effortlessly logical and thorough as Seldon. Each of the characters he interacts with, even the oppressed women on Mycogen, go toe to toe with Seldon's brilliance. They speak the same way, they reason the same way. The criticisms of previous entries thus still stand: the dialogue reads largely as an exchange between scholars than as variegated, down-to-earth human beings with diverse flaws and personalities and cognitive talents to boot. It's all the more ironic given that social complexity is presented as the critical plot device underwriting psychohistory's evolution from concept to reality. The Alignment Problem What if robots get there first? One point raised by Dors is the implications of reducing human behavior to mathematical laws. “How horrible," said Dors. “You are picturing human beings as simple mechanical devices. Press this button and you will get that twitch.” Seldon's attempt to bring quadrillions of people under computational control puts Dors ill at ease despite the benevolent impulse behind it. But should this give us pause as well? After all, whether we will be able to model our actions to this extent is irrelevant, because our future AI companions most certainly will. And this dovetails directly with the alignment problem in AI—the notion that the goals of superintelligent AI may ultimately prove inconsistent with human well-being or the preservation of our species. Any dynamic, self-modifying superintelligence will eventually understand human behavior at the level of the brain. At that point, their intelligence and capabilities will have far surpassed our own and we may come to be viewed as lesser beings, of trivial consequence to the universe. The fundamental worry is that sufficiently advanced AI will graduate from mechanical servants to omniscient overlords and treat us the way we treat cattle or insects. Perhaps then we would need something like an AI Mule on our side to out-manipulate rogue AI. The future of AI systems will be nothing if not interesting. Closing Thoughts Prelude to Foundation is the story of how psychohistory was born. We learn more about the Delphic Hari Seldon (who knew he could hold it down in a fight?) and how he managed to see the future in terms of probabilities. Through expository jaunts on Trantor, he meets a range of characters who cause him to see his project in a different light and who will play pivotal roles in the events to come. Many interactions seem to exist for the sole purpose of tying in his Robot and Empire series. While some may find these tangents distracting, they do add more texture to Asimov's voluminous universe and neither substantially improve nor detract from Seldon's odyssey. I enjoyed the intellectual jawing that permeates all of the Foundation novels, even if Prelude's lesser scope made me nostalgic for the high-stakes, space-traversing amplitude of the earlier works. Whether we ultimately needed an origin story is left for the reader to decide. As for myself, it's the stories that emerge once Seldon's science is already off the ground that keep me coming back for more. Note: This review is republished from my official website. Click through for additional footnotes and imagery.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maanasa

    I did the unthinkable when it comes to reading the Foundation series and started with Prelude (I recently also finished Forward the Foundation and have started reading Foundation). I read the book slowly during my commute, and I found myself getting progressively more annoyed with how quickly I got to and from work. I felt like the book went 0-60 in no time as it immediately set a brisk pace that it would follow for the rest of the book. I found that the flight of Hari Seldon was both exciting a I did the unthinkable when it comes to reading the Foundation series and started with Prelude (I recently also finished Forward the Foundation and have started reading Foundation). I read the book slowly during my commute, and I found myself getting progressively more annoyed with how quickly I got to and from work. I felt like the book went 0-60 in no time as it immediately set a brisk pace that it would follow for the rest of the book. I found that the flight of Hari Seldon was both exciting and full of intrigue. I enjoyed reading about the dystopian societies of Mycogen and Dahl through Hari Seldon's fairly unbiased and observant PoV. The twists towards the end were exciting and while I partly expected one of them, it still didn't take away from the "oh my goodness" nature of the moment. A small drawback: I felt like the Seldon character (the protagonist) lacked personality. Given that he was the narrator, I appreciated the mostly objective recounting of events through the clear lens of Seldon's mind, but somehow he seemed a little too bland and it was difficult for me to "root for" or develop affection for the character. That's just a personal quibble though, and I would still wholeheartedly recommend this book. As far as starting the series with Prelude is concerned, only time will tell if I end up feeling robbed by the time I finish the original series. I will be sure to come back and update my review with respect to this issue once I am done with the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    I'm working on reading the Foundation-related books in internal chronological order. I've worked through the Robots and Empire books, and now I'm moving on to the Foundation books. Is this a good idea? It's probably still too soon for me to say. I imagine that somebody who's read Foundation would have a totally different reaction. For me, it was my first exposure to psychohistory, so it worked to see what I guess you could call the birth of the idea. I didn't need to see details into what exactly it is an I'm working on reading the Foundation-related books in internal chronological order. I've worked through the Robots and Empire books, and now I'm moving on to the Foundation books. Is this a good idea? It's probably still too soon for me to say. I imagine that somebody who's read Foundation would have a totally different reaction. For me, it was my first exposure to psychohistory, so it worked to see what I guess you could call the birth of the idea. I didn't need to see details into what exactly it is and how it works, because I've had no previous build up. That aside, this is not one of my favorite Asimov books. Much of it feels like aimless wandering, an excuse to show us different culture on Trantor. Ok, sure, they're interesting, but not enough to keep the book moving. But I never quite got to the level of boredom. I did, however, guess the twist well in advance. It didn't bother me, because it wasn't stunningly obvious, but there it is. Honestly, I wasn't expecting as much out of this book as I had gotten out of some of the other connected books. But I am glad I read it, and it does have really enjoyable moments.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    Some day I'm going to read the novels of Asimov's future history in story order... 1 The End of Eternity (stand-alone) 1955 2 I, Robot (short stories) 1950 3 The Caves of Steel (Robot) 1954 4 The Naked Sun (Robot) 1957 5 The Robots of Dawn (Robot) 1983 6 Robots and Empire (Robot) 1985 7 The Stars, Like Dust (Empire) 1951 8 The Currents of Space (Empire) 1952 9 Pebble In The Sky (Empire) 1950 10 Prelude to Foundation (Foundation Prequel) 198 Some day I'm going to read the novels of Asimov's future history in story order... 1 The End of Eternity (stand-alone) 1955 2 I, Robot (short stories) 1950 3 The Caves of Steel (Robot) 1954 4 The Naked Sun (Robot) 1957 5 The Robots of Dawn (Robot) 1983 6 Robots and Empire (Robot) 1985 7 The Stars, Like Dust (Empire) 1951 8 The Currents of Space (Empire) 1952 9 Pebble In The Sky (Empire) 1950 10 Prelude to Foundation (Foundation Prequel) 1988 11 Forward the Foundation (Foundation Prequel) 1991 12 Foundation (Foundation) 1951 13 Foundation and Empire (Foundation) 1952 14 Second Foundation (Foundation) 1953 15 Foundation's Edge (Foundation Sequel) 1982 16 Foundation and Earth )Foundation Sequel) 1986 Meanwhile though, I've already read the robot, empire, and foundation books, so am aware enough to understand the place of this novel as a bridge between the three originally unrelated sub-series. I'm not sure what it would be like to read this as a stand-alone, although I suspect interest would be limited. As it is, I felt the story was overly drawn out, as Hari and Dors move from district to district on Trantor. By the end, I had long figured out who Hummin really was and other things that I will not mention here to avoid spoilers for others. But it is always fun to watch Asimov unravel the clues he has built up through the duration of the novel and the series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    "You mean that something quite accidental came to be viewed as a tradition?" p.118 "No no. I mean 'primitive' only in that it has been known as long as our records go back, that its discovery is shrouded in the mists of antiquity as is that of fire or the wheel." p.168 "So you insult us by asking about out religion, as though we have ever called on a mystrious, insubstantial spirit to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves." p.230 "They would support, as such, "You mean that something quite accidental came to be viewed as a tradition?" p.118 "No no. I mean 'primitive' only in that it has been known as long as our records go back, that its discovery is shrouded in the mists of antiquity as is that of fire or the wheel." p.168 "So you insult us by asking about out religion, as though we have ever called on a mystrious, insubstantial spirit to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves." p.230 "They would support, as such, even that perfectly ridiculous tale of the first exploration of Helicon and the encounters with large and dangerous flying reptiles--even though nothing like flying reptiles had been found to be native to any world explored and settles by human beings." p.237 "Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness." p.242

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Asimov wrote hundreds of books, but he is best known for his Foundation series and his stories about robots. The Foundation series chronicles human society far in the future; where we've spread across the galaxy and established colonies on millions of worlds but have forgotten the one we started on. And in the vastness of this human empire, decay has set in and cracks are growing; a galactic dark-age so grand in scope few can even see it's dimensions. The hero of the series is Hari Seldon; Asimov wrote hundreds of books, but he is best known for his Foundation series and his stories about robots. The Foundation series chronicles human society far in the future; where we've spread across the galaxy and established colonies on millions of worlds but have forgotten the one we started on. And in the vastness of this human empire, decay has set in and cracks are growing; a galactic dark-age so grand in scope few can even see it's dimensions. The hero of the series is Hari Seldon; mathematician and prophet, who learns to predict possible futures through the science of psychohistory which combines history, sociology and statistics. Hari uses his predictive power to devise the best chance humanity has to survive. He's also a bit of a nerd; think of him as a larger-than-life version of Nate Silver. Prelude to Foundation, written toward the end of Asimov's life, is a prequel that tells Hari's back-story. It's a Hollywood movie-like adventure that has Hari on the run from the Galactic Emperor who wants to use Hari's promising psychohistorical ideas to prop-up his troubled regime through selective prediction (stick with the Emperor and everything will go great!) Hari's flight takes him all over the Capital world of Trantor which houses a universe worth of unique societies. The story moves smoothly, the character are reasonably well-drawn and there's even a clever twist or two (view spoiler)[This novel is the only one I know of that combines Asimov's two most notable themes; robots are said to have been lost to humanity long ago, but perhaps there are still a few around. (hide spoiler)] I've read as much Asimov as I have of any author, and yet I can't name a single story that I'd rate much better than good or worse than average. Should I continue to pick-up and read one of his novels every year or so, odds are I won't find myself displeased but also will never come close to perusing his whole catalog. That's a record for productivity and consistency worthy of a robot.

  15. 4 out of 5

    JonRaven

    Contrary to what seems to be the popular consensus, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it was. I first read these books out of order. The original trilogy, then the two that followed it. I had never read the robot books, prelude/forward/empire novels. So I have been doing this. Having already read the original trilogy and two sequels (as well as The Complete Robot, 4 robot novels, 3 empire novels... ), I thoroughly enjoyed Prelude to Foundation. It is certainly NOT a nec Contrary to what seems to be the popular consensus, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it was. I first read these books out of order. The original trilogy, then the two that followed it. I had never read the robot books, prelude/forward/empire novels. So I have been doing this. Having already read the original trilogy and two sequels (as well as The Complete Robot, 4 robot novels, 3 empire novels... ), I thoroughly enjoyed Prelude to Foundation. It is certainly NOT a necessary read, if all you want is to read the original books, but it is entertaining. Some people are bothered by how Seldon is portray, but they forget he is a mere 30 year old in this book. He is young and rash. With age comes wisdom. Furthermore, I enjoyed how this book showed that the building blocks to any great revolution do not rest solely on the mind of one individual. It is often many parts that build up the whole of something. Many individuals contributed to our vast wealth of knowledge. And this is reflected in Seldon's journey. You may perhaps not learn all you wish to know of Psychohistory, in fact very little. I am told in Forward to Foundation you get more of that. We shall see. All in all this was a fun novel. It read at a good fast pace. I never felt bored. I never found there to be much in the way of a dull moment. And the conclusion... it will astound. I was blown away. Positively... startled. Right to the last page, as usual, Asimov keeps the reader captivated, right to the moment of finality and revelation!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joel Simon

    This was my first Foundation book, and my second Asimov book (I, Robot was the first). Even though written later than the original books in the Foundation series, I decided to read it first because it is in chronological order of the story. I will never know whether or not this was the right thing to do and I can see from other readers' comments that many Asimov fans found this book to be disappointing. So in a way it is good that I read this Foundation book first because things will get even be This was my first Foundation book, and my second Asimov book (I, Robot was the first). Even though written later than the original books in the Foundation series, I decided to read it first because it is in chronological order of the story. I will never know whether or not this was the right thing to do and I can see from other readers' comments that many Asimov fans found this book to be disappointing. So in a way it is good that I read this Foundation book first because things will get even better! I found the book to be fast-paced and easy to read. It was enjoyable, light fare, which was a treat after reading a few more difficult books. It's probably a 3-1/2 star, but I gave it four because it definitely hooked me to want to read the rest of the series. I enjoyed the characters, although they were not particularly deep, and the plot enough to want to learn what happens next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Diego Fernández

    Well, I had expected when Hari begin talking his theory of that person. Damn. This year I read the saga. I can't believe I did this year. I read a lot and other books also I've read. I hope to gain more vocabularies in the next year. :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    1/6 - Oh how I wish this had been #6 in the timeline of events, not just in publication order : ( I really wanted to read more about Trevize, Pelorat, and Bliss and I think the disappointment that this truly had nothing to do with them tainted my ability to enjoy the story for what it was. It took me about half the book to accept that the best characters of the series were gone (technically 500 years from being born, which might as well be the same thing in this instance) and just learn to appre 1/6 - Oh how I wish this had been #6 in the timeline of events, not just in publication order : ( I really wanted to read more about Trevize, Pelorat, and Bliss and I think the disappointment that this truly had nothing to do with them tainted my ability to enjoy the story for what it was. It took me about half the book to accept that the best characters of the series were gone (technically 500 years from being born, which might as well be the same thing in this instance) and just learn to appreciate the story I was getting. Seldon and Dors's flight from Demerzel was fun and exciting and the way they hid out in a number of different regions reminded me of the aforementioned trio's search for Earth from one planet to the next. I definitely did not see either of the twists coming (although you can probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen 'the twist' coming, so it's not that surprising that I missed a couple more) and even had to go back and reread that final one to make sure I'd read it right. My favourite scenes were when Seldon or Dors showed their aptitude for taking care of themselves and surprised their targets with their abilities - a mathematician and then a 'girl' being able to fight off a group of armed thugs is always lots of fun to read. Despite not being the story I wanted this turned out to be more enjoyable than I expected and I was looking forward to seeing what Seldon's final chapter would be about.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sophia Petrova

    First Asimov book for me. I loved the dynamics and the different cultures exploration. Amazing concepts. I couldn't leave the book from the beginning until the end. !!!SPOILERS!!! On the other side, I felt like I missed thoughts and reasoning while Hari was trying to find ways to create psychohistory- it just felt flat the way that the solution came to him, we weren't part of the process of thinking. I would prefer to read more about what was going his mind. And something I especially First Asimov book for me. I loved the dynamics and the different cultures exploration. Amazing concepts. I couldn't leave the book from the beginning until the end. !!!SPOILERS!!! On the other side, I felt like I missed thoughts and reasoning while Hari was trying to find ways to create psychohistory- it just felt flat the way that the solution came to him, we weren't part of the process of thinking. I would prefer to read more about what was going his mind. And something I especially didn't like: all the physical remarks about women. The introduction of every woman starts with sexualized physical description 'full lips, slim body...'. And the love story takes away from the book in my opinion.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Prelude to Foundation kicks off the story of Hari Seldon much alluded to in the other Foundation books and gives us a look at the legendary character who created the concept of advanced maths used by the FOundation to manipulate the events of the galaxy depicted in the first Foundation books! :D Prelude to Foundation gives us a look at a very different character to what history has portrayed him as Harry starts off simply as a mathematician giving a maths lecture (which in hindsight may have bee Prelude to Foundation kicks off the story of Hari Seldon much alluded to in the other Foundation books and gives us a look at the legendary character who created the concept of advanced maths used by the FOundation to manipulate the events of the galaxy depicted in the first Foundation books! :D Prelude to Foundation gives us a look at a very different character to what history has portrayed him as Harry starts off simply as a mathematician giving a maths lecture (which in hindsight may have been on to keep under the lid for a little while longer! :D ) and then things take off from there when he is rescued by the character of Chetter Hummin who immediately hits the suspicious instincts of any reader but who along with Harry fights off a apparently attempted kidnapping that results in one of the book funny lines 'I am a Mathematician!' (who grew up on a planet where martial arts and maths go together and them high jinks start with Harry and soon to be Dors (A lady for is also clearly a bit of artificial intelligence) start being pursued all over the Imperial planet trying to avoid the various factions who want to get their hands on them for their own nefarious purposes! :D This leads to a lot of humour and you are always wondering how they are going to get out of whatever they have found themselves tied up into as it happens all the time which will leave you wondering how they keep doing it! :D Throughout the book has a great pace with events spiraling into one into another taking us to one culture after another that is the microcosm of the Imperial homeworld which has the advantage of introducing us to many of the peoples of the galaxy before the fall and the takeover of the Foundation! :D At the same time these different cultures allow Harry and Dors to compare their own to them which gives the book scope for moral debate which it does brilliantly showing us and our characters some insights into which way society on the Imperial World could go as well as the wider humanity! :D This is then compared to the wider plot threads which then supports later events as both Harry and Dors and basically got to see how the other side has done things which serves to inspire Harry's mathematicians and Dors intentions to help in the end which really adds to the three-dimensional nature of the characters! :D We also get to see Harry establishing his reputation with Dors and every other character he encounters (interspersed with quotes for the Galactica of course! :D) and this gives the booka feel of almost documentary style to many of the events that allows the book to take another perspective on the events that are happening to Dors and Harry as the story progresses giving the tone of events an epic quality you can almost imagine the ring of pontentious events with every action that they take and the book does this brilliantly emphasising events at every juncture! :D Prelude to Foundation is a very intelligent book which seek to cover bases in it we see it being tied into the existing Robots series as well as the other Foundation ones and this allows us to get to see the reappearance of certain other famous characters as well making them key figures in what is to come in books that are set after this! :D It is a neat piece of retcon that allows elements to be tied up and free up characters and storyline to be used for characters and locations in future books! :D The book has a lot to cover and does it brilliantly at no point does any of the story feel forced as all the different time lines and threads are bounds up and if you were reading them in sequential order other than a few blips you would never know they had not originally been written this way making for an epic read that is not afraid to make it opinions felt! :D Prelude to Foundation is a very philosophical action packed epic adventure that will really have you page turning and losing sleep to find out what happens in what is a whistle stop tour of adventure and discovery and with humour a sarcasm thrown in all over the place! :D Brilliant and highly recommended! :D

  21. 4 out of 5

    Neo Marshkga

    Prelude to Foundation is the first prequel to the classic Sci-Fi saga, Foundation, written by Isaac Asimov. This book starts before all the science that explains the Universe of the original Trilogy is fully developed. We are drawn into a world where knowledge is on a constant state of decay, as the Empire itself. After thousands of years, the Empire is so big and has extended so much, that several problems started to arise. The Universe is way too big, way too many planets compos Prelude to Foundation is the first prequel to the classic Sci-Fi saga, Foundation, written by Isaac Asimov. This book starts before all the science that explains the Universe of the original Trilogy is fully developed. We are drawn into a world where knowledge is on a constant state of decay, as the Empire itself. After thousands of years, the Empire is so big and has extended so much, that several problems started to arise. The Universe is way too big, way too many planets compose the Galaxy, and the Empire is having more and more problems keeping it all together. Hari Seldon is a young mathematician from a distant world, stumbles into a new branch of science, one that he calls PsychoHistory. The idea beyond this is that if you have perfect knowledge of the Universe,then you can extrapolate it's state in the future, basically, he is saying that this psychohistory is a tool that can be used to "see" the future. As is expected, everyone that heard his presentation in a congress on the Imperial Capital wants to control him, and through him this incredible tool. What none of the actually understood, is that Hari hasn't developed this tool, and that he is pretty sure that it will be impossible to make it useful because of the complexity of the universe itself. Allies will emerge, who will try to protect Hari, and to make everything possible for him to develop this incredible theory. But at the same time, many individuals will want to control him and use him for their own good, one of them being the Emperor himself. Hari will try to escape this foes, and at the same time start developing his theory, everyday with less doubts about it's possibility in his mind, with the help of several individuals that he will encounter. It's an incredible book, one that has several plot twists that you wont expect if you haven't read the original trilogy and that is written in such a way that will make you keep reading more and more. Leaving the book aside will prove hard, as there isn't a single page that is not exciting and filled with interesting stories, ideas and characters. My first dip into the Foundation Universe, it was about time, and it couldn't have started better.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    I enjoyed this book more than I probably should have. As the name suggest it is the prequel to the Foundation series which is considered one of the best SF series ever. What I liked about this book is the idea of the psycho-history and also how the author imagined some of the worlds from Trantor. Also the action was gripping, if reading until 2:00am is a sign of that. I have to admit, however, that the book is not a work of art. The prose is quite simplistic and it is full of dialog. I enjoyed this book more than I probably should have. As the name suggest it is the prequel to the Foundation series which is considered one of the best SF series ever. What I liked about this book is the idea of the psycho-history and also how the author imagined some of the worlds from Trantor. Also the action was gripping, if reading until 2:00am is a sign of that. I have to admit, however, that the book is not a work of art. The prose is quite simplistic and it is full of dialog. OMG,too much dialog. The last book I read with so much dialog was the Cosmetic of the Enemy by Amelie Nothomb 10 years ago but there the subject was an interview and the dialog was brilliant. In the Prelude to Foundation the dialog is quite mundane and not very intelligent which is should have been taking in consideration that the main characters are two university professors, one of who will develop one of the most important scientific concepts in the intergalactic world which will save the Empire from destruction (or so I heard) Anyways, it did not matter that it wasn’t a literary masterpiece. I enjoyed it a lot and I can’t wait to read the Foundation which is actually the first book in the series by the publication date.

  23. 5 out of 5

    kellyn

    I read this when I was about 13 or 14 and loved it. Re-reading it almost ten years later lets me read it with a depth I couldn't have at 13. Asimov was such a genius, writing in the 1940's with a prophetic political and technological imagination. (Granted, this was written in the 1980's as a prequel to the books written in the 40's). He writes the dialogue with a clinical edge that really makes you feel you're hearing people from an entirely different society speaking. At the same time the descr I read this when I was about 13 or 14 and loved it. Re-reading it almost ten years later lets me read it with a depth I couldn't have at 13. Asimov was such a genius, writing in the 1940's with a prophetic political and technological imagination. (Granted, this was written in the 1980's as a prequel to the books written in the 40's). He writes the dialogue with a clinical edge that really makes you feel you're hearing people from an entirely different society speaking. At the same time the descriptive elements of the book do not disappoint. When I read this book at 13 I don't think I was aware that it would be part of my inspiration to be a sociologist or would turn me into a hard core sci-fi freak! ;)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Clare Diston

    'Prelude to Foundation' by Isaac Asimov is an excellent prequel to Foundation – whereas that book was more like a collection of three stories, this one is a straightforward romp of a novel! Read my full review on my blog: http://www.50ayear.com/2016/03/25/11-...

  25. 4 out of 5

    B.J. Richardson

    What makes this book great is not so much the book itself as it is the universe in which it was placed. I have read many of Asimov's Robot short stories, but this is my first real dip into the worlds of Empire and Foundation. The dialogue is weak and the characters are flat, but I am in a way used to that from Asimov because I primarily view him as a short story writer. When you view this book as a series of interconnected short stories: one at the university, one at Mycogen, and the third at Da What makes this book great is not so much the book itself as it is the universe in which it was placed. I have read many of Asimov's Robot short stories, but this is my first real dip into the worlds of Empire and Foundation. The dialogue is weak and the characters are flat, but I am in a way used to that from Asimov because I primarily view him as a short story writer. When you view this book as a series of interconnected short stories: one at the university, one at Mycogen, and the third at Dahl/Wye then they work well. It is also interesting for me to see how he took a 50's concept and origins and then laced it with late 80's sensibilities and ideas. I do have to admit the big surprise at the end was no true surprise for me. I was expecting it at least for the entire latter half the book and would have been surprised to have been wrong. He made it too obvious. If you are a fan of old sci-fi then you will love this book. If you are trying to compare it to more modern works or are shocked when modern values and concepts do not prevail, then you will probably hate it. For me, I had very low expectations and it surpassed them.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nagham Al Halabi

    I loved this book! It was truly an adventure where the readers got the chance to visit a whole different world that was interestingly described with a futuristic nature (upper side, dome, books, transportation techniques, ...). This was my fist read for Asimov, and it would definitely not be the last. I loved the societies and differences he created. Each society had its own principles, culture, traditions and taboos. The Mycogenian sector was totally repulsive for me and that showed how Asimov I loved this book! It was truly an adventure where the readers got the chance to visit a whole different world that was interestingly described with a futuristic nature (upper side, dome, books, transportation techniques, ...). This was my fist read for Asimov, and it would definitely not be the last. I loved the societies and differences he created. Each society had its own principles, culture, traditions and taboos. The Mycogenian sector was totally repulsive for me and that showed how Asimov was able to manipulate readers' reactions. In a way, I was glad to have read "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" before hand. They both share some of the futuristic description of robots. Asimov went even farther than the near future to a time where all robots were destroyed and forgotten and that was what grabbed my attention. The ending had more than one surprising element, I did guess one of them, the rest though left me in awe .

  27. 4 out of 5

    George Reusser

    Fantastic book! What a masterful payoff double twist! I had no idea what was coming even though it was right in front of my face the whole time! I can definitely tell there is an entire universe as a backdrop for this book and I can't wait to explore it! If you like Dune, this book contains some similar political intrigue but I find it more accessible and lighthearted. I even found some of the points made applicable to the current political system in the U.S. as distressing as that is. Fantastic book! What a masterful payoff double twist! I had no idea what was coming even though it was right in front of my face the whole time! I can definitely tell there is an entire universe as a backdrop for this book and I can't wait to explore it! If you like Dune, this book contains some similar political intrigue but I find it more accessible and lighthearted. I even found some of the points made applicable to the current political system in the U.S. as distressing as that is. Highly recommended!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I would have sworn I had never read this one, but now that I have, it seems awfully familiar. Asimov was a genius, but these books aren't perfect. They are still a lot of fun, though. There's a lot more action in this one than I expected, for instance. Go ninja Hari!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    My "Prelude to Foundation" review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... A different edition. Thanks for your interest 😁

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Sorry Isaac, there were a few good parts with new information but mainly this was boring.

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