Book Review – Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

FoundationAndEmpire_CoverI am a little behind on my book reviews, but in relevance to this post, I have also had another epiphany: My blog posts can be rather too long! This means that they aren’t quite as consumable as I would like, and they take quite a long time to create to boot. I want more time to read, more time to write and more time to interact with Twitter and bloggers. Here, therefore is a short review of Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov.

This is the second Asimov book that I have read. Unsurprisingly the first was Foundation. I read it quite a while ago… On starting Foundation and Empire I was reminded of the wonderful quality of Isaac’s writing. There is a conversational tone to it, but it is not a conversational prose per-Se. Isaac manages to hit that illusive target of “just enough”. The reader is expected to understand the world in which the story is set. This lean, intelligent approach draws you in.

If that doesn’t float your intergalactic battleship, then the main story really should. I would suggest that this is a series of books that really does need to be read in sequence. The story is epic. A hugely expanded human population and a story line that interacts with it, all on a galactic scale. It quite literally tells the future story of a whole civilisation through the deeds of a few key people. Events move beautifully from the macro to the micro without skipping a beat. At the grander end of this scale, battle scenes and more importantly tactics feature quite a bit. In places I was reminded of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, another fantastic book.

You can tell that this story is the Foundation (‘scuse the pun) of many other Sci-Fi books. All aspects of writing and story telling are bought together so well that it couldn’t help but influence a lot of stories that have arrived since. It astounds me that I can read a book about the future that was first published in 1952, yet there isn’t anything out of place, it’s still contemporary. The golden rule is; if you’re writing about the future, write about the far future. Hover boards in 2015 is just never going to happen… The only place that Foundation and Empire appeared dated was it’s references to smoking. You never know though, if we ever do actually crack the hover board, we may actually manage to create a way to smoke that doesn’t kill you??

Foundation and Empire delivers, exquisite Sci-Fi. I’ve got no more to say except, possibly, the Mule is one of my new favourite characters of all time! Appetite whetted? Go read it then 🙂

Rating: 9/10

0 comments

    1. Yeh, it’s interesting isn’t it. I always wonder if authors are aware of what they are doing, navigating through what they think will happen in reality? I’m pretty sure Arthur. C. Clarke did? My next review is of Minority Report by Philip. k. Dick. He has a subtly different approach to sci-fi…

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