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Foundation


by Isaac Asimov
Very dated


The Foundation novel is very dated, which I suppose is a function of the time it was written. Women are almost entirely absent except when they turn to putty over pretty pieces of jewelry. A gun is an “atomic blaster,” and other quaint 50s relics.

The one dimensionality of the characters is problematic. I have to admit that although I don’t read a lot of science fiction, I know priority is never put on characterization. However, since nearly all of the ideas of this book are no longer relevant, this shortcoming becomes glaring. The book is more of a time capsule than a living book.

There is actually a single main character who re-occurs as 3 different personas (Seldon, Hardin, and Mallow). SeldonHardenMallow is calm, calculating, and always right. His opponents flail around until the denouement when SeldumHardenMallow has maneuvered them into exactly the right position and emerges victorious. It’s so predictable that there isn’t any dramatic tension.

The biggest problem I had with the book is that the politics seem very naïve. This novel was supposedly based on Gibbon’s “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” but Foundation seems to have only to most primitive understanding of that work.

I don’t really understand the love generated toward this book. It seems particularly flat. A lot of people seem to enjoy it -- just not me, I guess.