I am reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series again. I’ve read the series over a dozen times since I first came across it when I was in 5th grade. Asimov is one of my favorite authors in one of my favorite genres — science fiction. There are some authors who will wow you with their skillful use of language. Asimov is not one of them. It is Asimov’s ideas that are startlingly original. His work is accessible to any disciple of wonder, regardless of their command of literature.18m57eajxxg9rjpg

Asimov was a bio-chemist, who wrote many non-fictional works, but he is best beloved for his science fiction. Asimov is famous for his robot stories, in which he creates his 3 laws of robotics. If robots such as those he imagined are ever created, it is likely that the scientists will look to Asimov for inspiration on how they will be bounded.

In the Foundation series, set in a time when humanity is occupying all of the galaxy, Asimov invents psychohistory, a statistical science that can be used to predict the actions of humanity. The first Galactic Empire is collapsing, and two Foundations, one based on the physical sciences, the other based on the mental, are to be the nuclei of the second Galactic Empire. The series was first made up of three books, and later expanded to six, and connected to Asimov’s robot novels. It won the Hugo for the best ever series, the only time such a Hugo has been awarded.

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2 Responses to Asimov

  1. swamimalathi says:

    A problem for science and engineering is that they look inward, focusing on understanding how something works and working out how to solve a problem, with near-zero focus on consequences, how the outputs relate to the larger world, and as you put it so well, how they should be bounded. It has always seemed to me that literature (particularly science fiction, but perhaps other forms as well) and poetry are well-suited to filling this gap, to taking a holistic black-box view, pointing out the nature of relationships and consequences, and perhaps forming wisdom for us in bounding our use of science and technology.

    You are inspiring me to re-read the Foundation series. I have only read the original series, not the prequels. What is the suggested reading order?


  2. kathaykathay says:

    Haven’t read Asimov in a while actually. This just brought back a lot of memories.


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