I’ve decided to read The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov, as per recommendation of David, and I’m going to make a few observations and sometimes summaries, each of the seven books. Also I’ll be reading the books, not in the order they were published, but in the chronological sequence. There will also be MASSIVE SPOILERS through out!
Once more for good measure: MASSIVE SPOILERS
Prelude to Foundation is the second most recently published, but the first in the series. The first two of the series overview the life of Hari Seldon, while the others jump through time to watch his plan unfold. I very much enjoyed this book, as it kept me interested with the many fight scenes and backdrop of interwoven plot. Not only does Hari Seldon kick ass and take names, but he’s a brilliant, well spoken, mathematician who is seemingly well aware of his abilities as a thinker. He doesn’t accept the idea that psychohistory is practical and certainly not that he’ll develop it to a working model. That is to say, a pet peeve of mine is when protagonists accept their role as hero all too quickly.
I would say however that Hari’s self esteem could use a boost here or there. While humility has it’s place, he doesn’t always take credit where credit is due. While (in coming cop-out) he does clearly view himself in high regard, he doesn’t like to let it show.
The adventure on Mycogen is a very interesting one. While the perils Hari and Dors find themselves in are more than a little formulaic, the trip to Mycogen stands out in my mind. Not only was it a massively necessary step for Hari toward psychohistory, but it introduced the connection between The Foundation Series and the Robot Series. Also that section brought the idea that robots might exist in the present day, into light. Which is pivotal for the major twist of the book.
The big reveal at the end was well worth it, and one that I was considering as a possible outcome… in a sense. I suspected that either Dors or Chetter would be a robot, not that BOTH were. And certainly not that Chetter was also Demerzel/R. Daneel Olivaw.
One of the most interesting parts to me was when Hari reasoned to the fact that Dors was also a robot, confessed his love, and went in for the kiss. He was testing the idea that if she loved him back (knowing she had never loved before in her hundreds of years of life) she’d want him to kiss her again. And not do so to because it meets a goal/her programming, but because she wants to and therefore loves him. And of course she does fervently kiss him again and again, and Hari chooses to believe she loves him. Meanwhile the reader is left with a sense of mystery. She is still charged with protecting Hari as doing so is best for the state of humanity as a whole, and was built by Daneel for that purpose. So perhaps she’s still only following her programming, and simply doing an excellent job at it. Or perhaps it’s a middle ground: she was programmed by Daneel to love Hari as part of her mission. this option would allow her love to be ‘real’ as well as part of her robot nature.
I look forward to the next book in the series (Forward The Foundation), where I gather psychohistory will be put into a working model, and the Seldon Plan I’ve heard mentioned vaguely over the years, will be put into place.