First of all, I’m sorry this is a little later than I said it would be. From here on out, we should be good with a book a month. (Especially because the books are a nice, reasonable length, and fairly readable.)
So! Foundation is the first Asimov book I’ve probably read in at least 10 years, but there is a reason why Asimov is my favorite of the “classic” science fiction authors. To be honest, I’m not sure why I haven’t read the trilogy before, because I went through a definite Asimov phase as a teenager. I even read his collection of fantasy short stories. I don’t recommend that one.
But, onto the book. I really liked it, Squiders. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t read any decent science fiction lately, or if it’s just because Asimov and I get on, or if it was just awesome, or some combination of the three, but I enjoyed the experience.
I’d say stop here if you don’t want to be spoiled, but I really think that, after 50 years, you don’t get a warning anymore.
I also thought it was interesting how the book was set up, with the time jumps. I mean, I guess I should have expected them, because I’ve read things like I, Robot and Bicentennial Man, but I honestly went into the trilogy having absolutely no idea what the books were about. Apparently the parts of the trilogy were originally a series of short stories, so it makes sense in retrospect.
Also, Asimov has always been quite good at developing characters in a short period of time. A lot of older scifi is so focused on plot and science that the characters become unimportant, but that’s not Asimov. So, you know, even though you only get characters for 75 pages, you remember them and understand them.
I wonder how it went when he was writing the stories. Did he just start with the one and thought he was done? Or did he lay out all thousand years (and beyond) from the beginning, expecting to slowly dole out the stories as the urge hit him? I almost feel like it might be the first, that he had the first idea, with the psychohistory and Hari Seldon and the founding of the Foundation, because the tone of that part of the story read a little different than the rest.
But it’s rather ingenious, really, how one thing flows into the next, from the intellectual, to the religious, to the capitalist. (Though I admit I was a little skeptical about how quickly and fanatically the religion set in. But not enough to really care about it.) I’m interested to see where we go from here in the next book. After all, we’re only 150 years into the Foundation, and we’ve only had three Seldon crises.
Have you read Foundation, Squiders? What did you think? What’s your favorite Asimov story, or who’s your favorite “classic” scifi author?
We’ll discuss Foundation and Empire on April 8.