Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy Book-On-Tape Report

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Luke T.
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Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy Book-On-Tape Report

Post by Luke T. »

I've been listening to the trilogy in unabridged form on books on tape for the last month and am on the last tape. I will finish it on my way home tonight.

An okay "read". I tried to read it a couple decades ago and thought it was boring back then and put it down a quarter of the way through the first book and never finished it. Funny how time changes our tastes. But even so, it gets kinda boring with the same overall plot scheme throughout.

What I find interesting is that the books were written over 50 years ago, and the story takes place at least ten thousand years into the future. As a result, some of the sci-fi gadgets are kinda funny. They have tubes and relays in them, there are no computers, a voice recognition writing device writes on paper and if you misspeak you have to throw the paper away and start over. Cute anachronistic stuff like that.

But the most anachronistic thing is the overall plot. "Psychohistory", which basically says that you can predict the course of future events due to mass psychology. This book series is definitely a product of the 1950s. :D

The female roles in the book are also very 1950s.

A pattern repeats itself to the point of annoyance through the entire series. The Foundation is faced with a crisis. Psychohistory works to ensure a Foundation victory every time. Over and over. And Asimov's foreshadowing is so heavy-handed, I was able to predict the course of future events myself. Not one single plot twist came as a surprise to me. I had foreseen all of them way, way ahead of time. Particularly the identity of The Mule. I saw that instantly.

But still, I found it an enjoyable read for the various subplots. The traders' intrigues, and so forth.

End review.
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Post by uneasy »

That might have bene the first big sci fi book I ever read as a kid. I enjoyed it and it launched me into reading more sci fi. I had a similar experience to yours, because I recently listened to a BBC radio play adaptation.

Novels set so far into the future are always a problem. Unless you have a good reason (like Frank Herbert's Butlerian Jihad), after a few decades the technology of the "far future" is laughable. A cure for cancer is mentioned. I really hope we cure cancer within 1000 years!

Yes, the women's roles are along the lines of "this feisty woman is actually smart so she's coming along on our adventure too." I think all women are called girls.

I think the original novels were in serial form in a magazine, and I hope this is the reason it seems like a bunch of short stories.

The biggest flaw I found is that he set up a theory (mass psychology predicts future history) and then repeately tells stories about how individual actions change history. At the end of each story, he tries to reafirm that his mass psychology theory is right anyway.
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iain
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Post by iain »

I read the Foundation books many years ago and enjoyed them.

I recently re-read "prelude to foundation" and came away feeling a bit disappointed. The story is good but the actual quality of the writing is very average (this was written in the '80s I think). The characters seemed two-dimensional.

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Post by diddidit »

I agree on the original Foundation trilogy - it was a bit of a drab read. I'm midway though Foundation's Edge, the fourth book in the series, and it's much more of a page-turner. The technology is not nearly as laughable...

did

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Post by Doctor X »

By the end of Foundation's Edge I followed Dorothy Parker's recommendation:
This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it should be thrown with great force.
Of course she was not writing about the book. Not to spoil it, but Asimov ties it to all of his series. Pathetic.

It is an over-rated series.

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Post by diddidit »

Doctor X wrote:By the end of Foundation's Edge I followed Dorothy Parker's recommendation:
This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it should be thrown with great force.
Of course she was not writing about the book. Not to spoil it, but Asimov ties it to all of his series. Pathetic.

It is an over-rated series.

--J.D.
So what if he tied it to all his other series? He's exploring a universe of his own making, a concept I enjoy. Though I did find the end of Edge to be a bit weak. I'll read 'em all, though.

did

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Post by Doctor X »

Too much of a marketing gimick--"Buy and read ALL of my books!"

Feh!

--J.D.
Mob of the Mean: Free beanie, cattle-prod and Charley Fan Club!
"Doctor X is just treating you the way he treats everyone--as subhuman crap too dumb to breathe in after you breathe out." – Don
DocX: FTW. – sparks
"Doctor X wins again." – Pyrrho
"Never sorry to make a racist Fucktard cry." – His Humble MagNIfIcence
"It was the criticisms of Doc X, actually, that let me see more clearly how far the hypocrisy had gone." – clarsct
"I'd leave it up to Doctor X who has been a benevolent tyrant so far." – Grammatron
"Indeed you are a river to your people.
Shit. That's going to end up in your sig." – Pyrrho
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Post by DrMatt »

Doctor X wrote:Too much of a marketing gimick--"Buy and read ALL of my books!"

Feh!

--J.D.
I always thought he had a really funny sense of humor, and that was just one manifestation of it.
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