"Somewhere in the fifty years just past is where the historians of the future will place an arbitrary line and say: 'This marks the Fall of the Galactic Empire.'"Foundation
is The Book of Kells
writ large. The amazing-but-made-up science of psychohistory determines that the Galactic Empire is crumbling and the impending Dark Age can only be, at best, shortened (from 30,000 years to 1,000) if all its expansive knowledge and learning are preserved and disseminated in just the right way. This is to be done by an organization (and planet, and city, and society) called the Foundation. It's one hell of a science fiction idea, and one that's wrapped up in economics, history, religion, science, civilization, fatalism, and the sort of slow, incremental decline that most people don't even notice. Foundation
manages to deal chiefly with all of those things without being ponderous or boring -- it is, in fact, positively lightfooted.
That said, before a person may even think about whether they want to read Foundation
, that person must understand that it features men (and they are exclusively men, we'll get to that later) with names like Hari, Salvor, Gaal, Limmar, Publis Manlio, and, God help me, Wienis. If you can still take seriously a story with such names, you're good to go. Not that there's anything wrong with stopping for a moment to snicker now and then. I did.[Read the rest of the review here. Plus pretty pictures!]