It Is The Year , GE 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 Empiree Man Who Holds The Key To The Future An Apocalyptic Power To Be Known Forever After As The Foundation 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 progressivelyannoyed 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 progressivelyannoyed 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 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, J 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 nothingthan 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 ofthan 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 goodIt 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 NowI 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 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 toWhat 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 writethan 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 s The authorities eventually catches up with him with surprising result.Trantor, one world, one cityBasically, 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 muchtightly written On the other hand, in the 80s Asimov wasinterested in developing characters These characters are not particularly deep or subtly nuanced but they are quite likable and accomplishthan 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 psychohistoryof 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 forViolence is the last refuge of the incompetentfrom the original Foundation book It is quite fun, though.Quotes PsychohistoryThe 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 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 1994 1372 572 20
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