Isaac Asimov’s Foundation is probably the Big Daddy of literary science fiction. Written at a time when the world was beginning to witness the power of nuclear technology and simultaneously coming to terms with the socio-cultural implications of possible human destruction, the book’s themes are vast and ambitious.
If you like your science fiction teeming with warrior like heroes fleeting through hyperspace engaging in action packed battles to save their/a/any world, then this book and indeed series of books is not for you.
However, there is something poignant about the central premise and therein lies a sophisticated naivete that when you dig a little deeper, reveal a considered exposition on religion and the human condition. That, and there are some interesting characters too.
Humans have conquered other planets and galaxies but are destined for thousands of years of Dark Ages that cannot be averted but can only be shortened by the creation of a fabled encyclopedia of all known knowledge.
The story moves quickly, mainly through a series of dialogues from fleeting characters that grab the plot by the scruff of its neck and hurl it forward by hundreds of years. Religion, philosophy, nuclear power and energy and the fall and rise of civilisations provide an interesting and cerebral backdrop and have inspired many science fiction authors in the years since it was originally published.