The Foundation Series is an award winning epic science fiction collection of novels by the legendary Author Isaac Asimov. The series consists of seven volumes spanning 500 years and although part of a series, can be read as stand alone stories.
In 1965 the original Foundation trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation) fought off a number of influential series including JRR Tolkiens Lord of The Rings to win a special Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, to this day it is the only series to win such an award. The short story called The Mule that forms part of the foundation novel (the first in the series) also won a retrospective Hugo award in 1996.
The Foundation Series is also closely tied with two other of Asimov's series, the Robot and Empire Series (and also Asimov's first ever novel "Pebble in the Sky") - which are all set in the same single unified universe (with the Robot and Empire series set much earlier chronologically). As such it has been suggested that in order to read in the correct chronological order the Robot and then Empire series should be read first.
The story follows that mathematician Hari Seldon has spent his life working on developing a branch of mathematics known as psychhistory. Using the law of mass action it can predict the future, but only on large scales.
Using this teqnique, Seldon predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire and a resulting dark age that will last for 30 000 years before a second Empire arises.
To shorten the period of barbarism, he creates two Foundations, small, secluded havens of all human knowledge, on opposite ends of the galaxy. The focus of the trilogy is on the Foundation of the planet Terminus. The people living there are working on an all-encompassing Encyclopedia, and are unaware of Seldon's real intentions (for if they were, the variables would become too uncontrolled). Although originally written as a trilogy, the series was later expanded with a total of 4 additional novels, two set after the original events (Foundations Edge and Foundation and Earth) and two set before (Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation).
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