Reading Challenge #49: A Book You Got From a Used Book Sale

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Title: Foundation and Empire

Author: Isaac Asimov

How it fulfills the challenge: Every year our library has two huge book sales put on by the Friends of the Library. I helped run the fall sale, but I went a day early to check out all the books. I ended up with a huge box of books for  both myself and as gifts, including this old copy of Asimov’s book for 50 cents.

Genre: Science-Fiction

Quick Description: In Asimov’s second Foundation book, new forces are set to destroy the fledgling Foundation, which was established at the end of the Empire’s power. The Foundation started as a scientific endeavor to create a giant encyclopedia containing all knowledge to shorten the inevitable chaos that will follow the end of the Empire to 1,000 years instead of 30,000 years. To do this, the Foundation must weather different crises. The first ones are described in the first book, but the new ones threaten to topple everything the Foundation has ever stood for.

Opening Line: The Galactic Empire was falling.

The city was quiet under its conquest and curfew, and the hazy milk of the great Galactic Lens, with here and there a lonely star, dominated the sky of the Foundation.

Highlights: This book series is without a doubt a masterpiece of science fiction. It shows interesting views of all of humanity, since part of the premise is that large bodies of people are predictable, even though individuals are not. The writing is atmospheric and smart, and through the jumps in time and space, Asimov is simultaneously able to make his characters seem individual as well as a part of the bigger picture.

Low points: Like any book, you really have to be in the right mood to read this one in order to keep up with the plotting, the history that’s been set forth, and the political powers at work. It’s a book that demands a lot from the reader, and you have to be into that. I’m not sure this really counts as a low point though… It doesn’t for me.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars–though it probably deserves something more like 4.5. I find series difficult to award 5 stars to consistently. It definitely feels like this book is set up for more intense galactic struggles to come.

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