Here we go! The first group read discussion of Foundation by Isaac Asimov and the first post for the Science Fiction Experience. These are questions for the first half of the book, Part 1 through Part 3, Chapter 4. Remember there will be spoilers! Though at this point in the book they are minor. Below are the group read discussion questions in bold and my answers. Let's get started!
For the purpose of satisfying curiosity, is this your first time reading Foundation or have you read it before?
For those reading Foundation for the first time, what expectations did you have going in and has it met them or surprised you in any way?
I had no expectations. I hadn’t even done any research online about the story. I went in completely ignorant and willing to let it surprise or disappoint me.
I will say Asimov has always intimidated me. Most Sci-Fi books in general have always intimidated me. I usually stuck with the Star Wars EU since I was already familiar with the story of the Republic and the Empire. I had branched out slightly with The Forever War, Battlefield Earth and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (a book I forgot to mention I had read) and enjoyed them but hadn’t moved beyond them. I always felt the technical side would go over my head or it would just be so technical I would not be able to connect with the characters.
What are your thoughts about the structure of the novel thus far? (I am referring to the brief glimpses of different parts of the history of the Foundation with big time gaps between events in the novel)
I like it. I find it interesting to see how the results of the events have shaped the future from one generation to the next and how much has changed.
What are your initial thoughts on the field of psychohistory?
Predicting the future through psychology is interesting but scary. I can see guessing future events based on the past may be possible and helpful to learn from our ancestors mistakes. But it could lead to someone actually manipulating things so it does happen, instead of letting history happen naturally. So you have to wonder, if Hari Seldon did not predict the fall of the Galactic Empire in the first place in order to establish the Foundation, would the Empire even fall? Did it let things deteriorate knowing it would reestablish itself in the future because Seldon predicted it?
What, if anything, is holding your interest thus far, what are you enjoying about Foundation?
Salvor Hardin I found fascinating; seeing him as a young man then thirty years later to see how he has changed. Also learning the true purpose of the Foundation and that there’s still more to be revealed. I also enjoy the political maneuvering and manipulation of the kingdoms that have broken away from the Galactic Empire.
What, if anything, are you not enjoying about Foundation?
So far I’m really enjoying it so I don’t have anything negative to say.
You may have covered this in answering the other questions, but if not, what are your thoughts/feelings about the Galactic Empire. Is it a practical thing to have a galaxy spanning government? Can you imagine such a thing and do you think it would work?
Ha, I keep thinking of Star Wars and how it never seemed to work, whether it was the Old and New Republic or the Empire. Even in our own history when you look at the British Empire and the U.S.S.R. I think it’s been proven that such a thing won’t work.
What are your thoughts on Hardin's creation of a religious system in which to house scientific ideas and technology while keeping the users of that science and technology in the dark?
This troubled me. It made me think of the Dark Ages, after the fall of the Roman Empire. To go from such enlightenment then to fall back onto superstitions beliefs ruled by religion is just unfortunate. But there must be a reason for it and for the Foundation, it was for their survival. I wonder how much longer it can go on for though, especially when space travel is still possible and was possible even before the Galactic Empire began to fall.
I am really enjoying Foundation so far. I find myself engaged with the characters even though they do not stick around for long as we jump thirty to fifty years after the Foundation has been established. Now I'm off to read what others thought of the first part. If you've read Foundation and would like to join in the discussion, share your thoughts here in the comments or see what others have are talking about here.