Foundation

foundation

Foundation is the first book in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy (and later Foundation Series). Foundation is a collection of five short stories, which were first published together as a book in 1951. It also appeared in 1955 under the title ‘The 1,000-Year Plan.’ The novel tells the story of a group of scientists who seek to preserve knowledge as the civilizations around them begin to regress. The first story is set on Trantor, the capital planet of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Whilst the empire gives the appearance of stability, beneath this façade it is suffering a slow decay. Hari Seldon, a mathematician, has developed ‘psychohistory,’ which equates all possibilities in large societies to mathematics, allowing predictable long term outcomes.

Seldon discovers a horrifying truth to the Empire’s decay, but his results are considered treasonable. On trial, Seldon shares the discoveries made through psychohistory, such as the collapse of the Empire within 500 years, followed by a 30,000-year period of barbarism. Seldon proposes an alternative to this future; one that would not avert the collapse but shorten the interregnum period to a mere 1000 years. But this plan would require a large group of people to develop a compendium of all human knowledge, titled the Encyclopedia Galactica. A still skeptical commission, not wanting to make a martyr of Seldon, exile him and his group of ‘Encyclopedists’ to a remote planet Terminus. There, they will carry out the Plan under an imperial decree, while Seldon would remain barred from returning to Trantor.

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