“Childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a child”
This was my first Asimov book. I don’t usually go for science fiction, and this is your granddad’s science fiction, not my granddad’s science fiction, because he read pretty much exclusively westerns. I would’ve probably preferred a Western, I don’t know, this was pretty boring.
The story is set millennia into the future of the human existence as a galactic empire begins to crumble, basically Rome in deep space. With the collapse is a threatened destruction of all science and human knowledge. Professor Hari Seldon enters into the picture as a practitioner of Psychoanalytics, who has predicted the fall of the Empire, not just predicted its fall, but predicted how to successfully guide humanity through the thousand years war and raiding that will follow the fall.
Multiple stories are told, each one shoots us forward another generation or two into the history of the Foundation, which is the organization Seldon founded to preserve scientific advances in the compendium of an encyclopedia. This is a front, as the Foundation’s actual purpose is to actively guide the universe through its Dark Age in a direct leadership role, not as some passive pedants on a backwater planet.
The problem is that there is no tension, no sense that something might go wrong; at least not once we are guided through the first crisis. Maybe it changes through the series, as it is pointed out that Psychoanalytics is a study of the masses and it begins to breakdown when used on an individual level. The point of view characters in the story each may add some sort of butterfly affect to how they handle a crisis which could derail the final prediction, but as a stand alone story, The Foundation doesn’t do much to make me want to find out.