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1 Beaverton Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z

Foundation (Foundation Novels)


Foundation (Foundation Novels) Cover

ISBN13: 9780553293357
ISBN10: 0553293354
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Do Asimovs now-famous Three Laws of Robotics mirror humanitys ethics code in any way? Whose orders are human beings required to obey? Do our definitions of “harm” ever lead to the same confounding dilemmas experienced in I, Robot?

2. Why was Glorias mother unable to accept Robbie as an excellent nursemaid? Was Robbie premonitory on Asimovs part—a prediction that children in the twenty-first century might form intense emotional attachments to electronics?

3. Cutie (QT) questions his origins and finds it impossible to believe that a human created him. In what ways did Powell and Donovan reinforce this belief?

4. Does the case of Stephen Byerley indicate that robots might make better politicians? Would this only hold true if, as the novel envisions, nations dissolve into massive world regions?

5. What is the ultimate commodity produced by U.S. Robot & Mechanical Men, Inc.? Does our global workforce follow this model in any way? Were humor and compassion inevitable traits in the robots? Do these traits interfere with productivity in the world of I, Robot?

6. In the books closing lines, Dr. Susan Calvin tells the narrator, “You will see what comes next,” as robots stand between mankind and destruction. How did her career lead up to such a precarious conclusion?

7. I, Robot has been turned into a major motion picture starring Will Smith. How does the movie compare with your book-reading experience? What do you think of the adjustments made and liberties taken when converting this collection of stories to one seamless film adaptation?

8. Foundation opens with the perspective of Gaal Dornick, “a country boy who had never seen Trantor before.” What is the effect of opening the novel with Gaals observations? Why did Hari Seldon extend such an invitation to Gaal?

9. In the trial portrayed in chapter 6, the Commissions Advocate repeatedly rejects Haris deductions regarding the future. What has made Hari a target for exile? Why are his projections—supported by seemingly irrefutable logic and mathematics—so easily dismissed by his accusers?

10. Part 3 of Foundation begins with an entry from the Encyclopedia Galactica that reads, “Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of the history of the four Kingdoms involves the strange society forced temporarily upon it during the administration of Salvor Hardin.” In what ways does Hardin distinguish himself from the other rulers described in the novel? What conditions fostered his rise to power?

11. The Foundation is intended in some ways as a kind of religious center. What are its doctrines? Can a religion of science fail?

12. Discuss the novels references to energy—in this case, nuclear power—in relation to political and economic supremacy. What other forces drive the novels hierarchies of dominance? How does the role of the Traders evolve in the novels closing chapters?

13. What were the root causes of the Foundations fall? Could its demise have been avoided, even after war had begun?

14. As Lord of the Universe, is Cleon II naïve or perceptive? In what ways do his sensibilities affect his fate?

15. What, ultimately, is the source of the Mules power to perform Conversions in Foundation and Empire? What role did psychology play in his own origins?

16. Do the Independent Trading Worlds accurately perceive their vulnerabilities? In contrast, what perpetuated Neotrantors survival?

17. Baytas final conversation with the Mule explains his moniker as well as his perceptions of how power is perpetuated. What does this dialogue indicate about gender roles in the realm of the Second Foundation, and about the possibility of democracy?

18. Discuss the spectrum of characters affected by the Mule in Second Foundations five opening interludes. In what ways do the Mules tactics vary?

19. In what ways does Bail Channiss personality reflect a cultural shift from the previous Foundation novels?

20. Near the beginning of the fifteenth chapter, Arcadia is described as “dressed in borrowed clothes, standing on a borrowed planet in a borrowed situation of what seemed even to be a borrowed life.” In what ways is she both an unlikely and an ideal savior?

21. Scholarship such as the Encyclopedia project represented Haris belief in the power of learning (and even the power of the mind itself, in the form of neural microcurrents). To what extent is a civilizations success measured by the survival of its knowledge?

22. The final chapter of Second Foundation offers a thoughtful coda to the novel. What is the “true” question to that chapters “answer that was true?”

23. If Hari Seldons equations were applied to Earths societies, what might the results be?

24. What connotations and root words were you able to derive from the character names and geographic locations featured in the series?

25. How does the series evolve as a whole? What overarching narrative is propelled by the events that occur within the individual books?

26. Isaac Asimov wrote these three books very early in his career, during the 1950s—an era marked by the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the early stages of the space race. How might the events of this period have shaped the Foundation storyline?

27. In what sense does the trilogy offer a cautionary tale for contemporary leaders in politics, science, and the humanities?

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M_Emrys, April 20, 2009 (view all comments by M_Emrys)
The beginning of what is undoubtedly Asimov's greatest creation. Using a mathematical system of his own devising that allows sociological trends to be treated statistically, Hari Seldon predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire, and sets in motion a plan to erect a second and greater empire after millennium of turmoil. This novel (actually more of a series of short stories) chronicles the first couple hundred years of that millennium. Subtler by far than most science fiction, Foundation is a thoroughly original and clever work of art.
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talley, September 3, 2007 (view all comments by talley)
I enjoy Asimov's books and short stories, but this one bored me. I couldn't get past the first 50 pages. On and on with tedious explanations of the past, the character telling the story of the past to people who have lived it and knew everything he was going to say. Asimov is better with robots and Earth Is Room Enough.
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Product Details

Asimov, Isaac
Spectra Books
New York :
Science Fiction - General
Science fiction
Life on other planets
Science Fiction - Series
Science Fiction - High Tech
Epic literature
Seldon, Hari
Science / High Tech
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Series Adventure
Science Fiction and Fantasy-High Tech
science fiction;fiction;sf;foundation;classic;novel;asimov;psychohistory;space;space opera;classics;future;fantasy;20th century;isaac asimov;speculative fiction;empire;space travel;literature;hari seldon;robots;politics;american;sff;far future;epic;americ
science fiction;fiction;sf;foundation;classic;novel;asimov;psychohistory;space;space opera;classics;future;fantasy;20th century;isaac asimov;speculative fiction;empire;hari seldon;space travel;literature;robots;sff;politics;american;far future;epic;americ
science fiction;fiction;sf;foundation;classic;novel;asimov;psychohistory;space;space opera;classics;future;fantasy;20th century;isaac asimov;speculative fiction;empire;hari seldon;space travel;literature;robots;sff;politics;american;far future;epic;americ
science fiction;fiction;sf;foundation;classic;novel;asimov;psychohistory;space;space opera;classics;future;fantasy;20th century;isaac asimov;speculative fiction;empire;hari seldon;literature;space travel;sff;robots;american;politics;far future;epic;scienc
Edition Number:
Bantam ed.
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
The Foundation Series
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
6.83x4.19x.91 in. .34 lbs.

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Foundation (Foundation Novels) Used Mass Market
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Product details 320 pages Spectra Books - English 9780553293357 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In 1965, Asimov's Foundation trilogy beat out several other science fiction and fantasy series (including The Lord of the Rings) to receive a special Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series."

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