Friday, 20 March 2009

Books Read: The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

Just finished reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy (1940's - 1950's)

The books tell the story of the Foundation, a civilization set up to form a second galactic empire once the first one fades away. Reminiscent of Star Wars in bits, as they focus more on personal stories, politics, psychology and strategy rather than SciFi. Soft SciFi really.

The feeling I got while reading these three books was that these stories could be taking place anywhere at any time and not just in a futuristic setting, though this setting only seems to enable the author to tell the story better. There seems to be a clear focus on strong dialogue, with twists, surprises, suspense, double crosses, etc, while the whole technology/logistics angle seems to be downplayed.



Arby K said...

Read the wiki page for the trilogy. The trilogy has borrowed considerably from Roman history.

Daniel said...

@ Arby,

Back to blogging after a long gap I see.

I did read the wiki, but forgot about the Roman part. Also, it didn't strike me while reading the books. But in retrospect, yeah, I guess the way the books show the empire as being formed and then broken off bit by bit reflect Roman history.

But that's just one part of the trilogy. Other parts and themes like the rise of the mule, a secret brotherhood, etc. are all concepts that can be said to be derived from history or have themselves been copied in popular culture since the 1950's.

Bobby said...

I am currently behind O.Henry collection...and enjoying the book...I never liked the stuff like is just not my cuppa! :)

Arby K said...

Asimov did base some of it on Rome. Bel Riose in the second book is based on Byzantine general Bellisarius, for example, who was send out by Justinian to recapture Rome.
Mule is a pretty cliched character in history. Can be drawn from various characters like Alexander, Qin Shi Huang and even Charlamagne where rulers have acquired vast empires only to have their work undone after their death.

Daniel said...

The Bel Riose - Flavius Belisarius connection is probably the most overt reference to Roman history in the Foundation Trilogy.

However, Bel Riose's story seemed relatively more tragic. I mean, the poor guy was just trying to be a loyal subject and ended up getting himself executed on suspicion of treason.

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