Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Books: The Robot and Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov

I'm a big fan of the late Isaac Asimov's science fiction. I recently managed to cross off a "bucket list" item in that I read all the novels in his Foundation series. I found them all very very good and (in many ways) a bit eerily reminiscent of what we see happening today with the Internet, data mining and how search engines are getting really good at predicting what we will look for online. Who knows, maybe his concept of Psychohistory is something we'll see become a reality in our lifetimes. Anyway, I made one mistake (in my opinion) in that I read the books in the order they were written as opposed to their chronological order. I did not realize that two books were prequels and two books were epilogues that actually wrote much later in life to bookend the core trilogy. If I had to do it all over again I'd have read them in the chronological order of the storyline and (I think) events depicted would have been easier for me to follow.

Also its worth mentioning that (if you really want to get the most out of these books) you should probably start by reading several books from his Robot Series. The reason for this is that later in his life Asimov began to include characters and places from the Robot Novels in the Foundation Novels effectively placing the events of those books in the same fictional universe. So if I had to do it all over again these are the books I'd read and the order I would read them in:

The Robot Series (Reading Order):
  1. The Complete Robot
  2. The Caves of Steel
  3. The Naked Sun
  4. The Robots of Dawn
  5. Robots and Empire
The Foundation Series (Reading Order):
  1. Prelude to Foundation
  2. Forward the Foundation
  3. Foundation
  4. Foundation and Empire
  5. Second Foundation
  6. Foundation's Edge
  7. Foundation and Earth
Oh and if you are a completionist (like me) you'll also want to read his Galactic Empire Series. It consists of three standalone but loosely connected stories that take place in the time period between the Robot Series and the Foundation series. Not really required to follow the Robot and Foundation series, but if you enjoy Asimov's writing they are a great reads because they only serve to expand upon the intriguing universe authored by Asimov:   

Galactic Empire Series:
  1. The Stars, Like Dust
  2. The Currents of Space
  3. Pebble in the Sky
Be aware that some of these books may be out of print but (at the time this article was proste) all were available via Asimov's author page at Amazon:

Good luck finding copies and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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