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Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Published by Bantam Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Galactic Empire is falling. After untold millennia of ruling all of star-spanning humanity, civilization will soon give way to chaos and barbarism. It may look as strong as ever, but its institutions are rotten to the core.

However, all may not be lost. Hari Seldon, the scientist who recognized the Empire's moribund state, also has a prescription for shortening the ages of barbarism to a single millenium, after which a new Galactic Empire will arise. Using the science of psychohistory that he has developed, he has charted out a plan to create a saving remnant of scientists who will keep alive the light of knowledge.

Under cover of creating an encyclopedia of all knowledge, they establish a colony on Terminus, a planet on the extreme fringes of the galaxy. When several neighboring systems seceed from the Empire and try to conquor Terminus, the Encyclopedia Foundation reveals its true nature. Much as the monasteries preserved knowedge during Earth's Middle Ages, they have preserved scientific knowledge and will dole it out to the neighboring kingdoms -- for a price.

Soon the Foundation is growing into a major power on the periphery. But many challenges remain ahead before them in the struggle to rebuild the falling Galactic Empire.

Click to buy Foundation in mass market paperback.

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This review posted October 18, 2000

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