Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a group read of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. I’ve read very little ‘classic’ sci-fi so I jumped at the chance to join in.
In this post, I’m answering questions about the first half of the book, (and next week, you guessed it! The second half (and I’m sure the book as a whole).
For the purpose of satisfying curiosity, is this your first time reading Foundation or have you read it before?
This is my first time reading the books. In fact it’s my first time reading anything by Asimov.
For those reading Foundation for the first time, what expectations did you have going in and has it met them or surprised you in any way?
I didn’t really have any expectations going in, Asimov was a name I’d heard about obviously, but he’s never been an author I’ve ever thought about or looked into reading before, so I really had no preconceptions about his writing style. So far it’s turning out to be much more towards the science end rather that the fiction end of Science Fiction, but it’s proving remarkably easy to read.
What are your thoughts about the structure of the novel thus far? (I am referring to the brief glimpses of different parts of the history of the Foundation with big time gaps between events in the novel)
I’m not entirely sure as yet. It makes for an easy read, in that so far it’s been broken up in to segments that have pretty much matched the time I’ve had to commit to reading it. But (and I’m sure it’s partly the author’s intention), I feel I’m missing out on the ‘bigger picture’.
One thing I remain confident of though is that by the end of the book, I will know what I need to, and it will all fit together.
What are your initial thoughts on the field of psychohistory?
Interesting. I do find it odd I suppose that it can predict the future so exactly (For example knowing the new colony would be having issues with its neighbours, just as Seldon is due to appear), when there are so many things that could have an effect and change things. That it trumps things like say a Sliding Door concept or Chaos Theory. All these thing have to come together for it to work.
Asimov makes it work within the novel, and I suppose the point is, it is meant to make us think and question.
What, if anything, is holding your interest thus far, what are you enjoying about Foundation?
See above! The way the author is pulling everything together, slowly feeding in bits of the bigger picture.
What, if anything, are you not enjoying about Foundation?
Well, normally I’ve very much a ‘character based’ reader normally, so not having a single character (or two) to take us through the story is outside if what I would enjoy normally. Not saying this is stopping it from being enjoyable though.
You may have covered this in answering the other questions, but if not, what are your thoughts/feelings about the Galactic Empire. Is it a practical thing to have a galaxy spanning government? Can you imagine such a thing and do you think it would work?
I’ve watched Star Wars so I can imagine it. Seriously though, as a concept I can see it as something that would be aimed towards, but could it be successful? I’m not sure. As I live in the UK, I can’t help but think of the current (and previous) turmoil taking place in the EU and see parallels. Could they really make it work? I don’t know.
Yet until the point of time we join the book, it has been so successful that complacency has set in.
What are your thoughts on Hardin’s creation of a religious system in which to house scientific ideas and technology while keeping the users of that science and technology in the dark?
Clever on his part. For it so far seems to have done what he set it out to do. As a reader thinking about the concept though, I’ll be honest. I’ve not thought about it enough. Perhaps as we head into next week I’ll have read a little more about it and have some thoughts.