Reflections on Foundation by Asimov

This past summer I started reading many of the works by Isaac Asimov for the first time. He has three major series and I read the first two this summer. They were quite good, and his final series was originally a trilogy. It is actually expanded to seven books and I finished the first one last week.

Foundation is the third book chronologically, in the series, but was the first one written. I decided to read the books in the order written rather than in the internal narrative chronology. I’m happy with this decision and Foundation was not what I expected.

The unique thing about Foundation is that the story takes place over a very long period of time. Chapters or books in the series may continue directly after the previous chapter or they may skip ahead in time by decades or centuries.

This was disorienting at first, but I see now that this is the whole point of the story. To relate the story of the rise and fall of an entire civilization that spans a galaxy, much time must be covered in the narrative.

An interesting side effect of this is that main characters in one chapter may become heroes of old, generations removed, in the next chapter and with new characters!

I’ve already started book two and am half way through it. I plan to zip through these remaining books quickly so that I can focus on my reading goals come 2019. My starting place is the works of Shakespeare alongside the King James Bible (1611) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662) to give me a foundation in modern English works.

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